When Shazam attempts to fly in the mall, during his battle with Dr. Sivana, a group of seemingly unimpressed shoppers can be seen in the background paying him little mind. Those were actually visible crew members that were filmed by accident. Shopping bags were inserted digitally to give them the appearance of shoppers and cover this up.
At the abandoned factory where Freddy trains Billy and records his powers, the sign "Ace Chemicals" can be seen in the background. That's the factory where the Joker was born. (Batman (1989) renamed the factory Axis Chemicals.)
Originally, this was going to be one film with Shazam and Black Adam meeting and clashing, but the producers decided to split the film into two origin films for both characters, with Black Adam being its own story set in Ancient Egypt with other heroes. However, Black Adam is mentioned in the film as an ancient champion the Wizard had chosen, who went bad. Dwayne Johnson, who produces the film and who was cast as Black Adam, had his facial features used for the magical portrayal of the champion.
In the original comics, the 7 evil statues on Shazam's Rock of Eternity were originally known as the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, a more family friendly version of the same idea. Sloth was called laziness, wrath was called hatred, gluttony was selfishness, and lust was injustice.
One of the doors in the Rock of Eternity reveals a room of sentient crocodiles playing poker. These are the Crocodile-Men, enemies of Captain Marvel.
In the comics, Captain Marvel had a magical talking tiger, Mr Tawky Tawny, as an ally. In tribute, throughout the film Billy Batson displays a liking for tigers: he likes stuffed tigers (he actually hands one to a scared little girl) his backpack has a tiger on it as Shazam his cape clasps have tigers on them. when Shazam! is performing "lightning from my hands", the background music being played is Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger".
Around 2011, Captain Marvel was renamed Shazam, as a means for DC Comics to get around the disputes with Marvel Comics over having its own Captain Marvel (as well as using the Marvel title itself) Throughout the film, Billy Batson's super alter ego is referred to by a variety of names, but never gets an official name; not even Shazam sticks in the film, since it's a magic word.
During the fight in the toy store, Shazam and Dr. Sivana run across a giant keyboard. This is a reference to Big (1988) which, like this film, features a boy turning into an adult overnight. In the film, Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia play two songs on a similar keyboard in a toy store by hopping on it.
Shazam! (originally known as Captain Marvel) was the subject of Hollywood's first ever superhero film adaptation: Republic Pictures' Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) in 1941.
Mark Strong was openly enthusiastic about playing Sivana, describing him as an "evil bastard" and stating that those roles are "always fun to play".
According to the filmmakers, the hardest part of designing the suit was getting the thunderbolt design to fit into the triangular chestplate.
The skate ramp where Shazam tests his flight has "Arion" written on it. Arion is the name of an immortal Atlantean sorcerer in the DC Comics who's been both a hero and a villain.
Dwayne Johnson once asked his fans which character he should play, superhero Shazam or supervillain Black Adam. His fans chose Black Adam.
One of Freddy's names for super-powered Billy is "Captain Sparklefingers". Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) has the nickname "Captain Sparklefists."
Fawcett Central High School is named after Fawcett Comics, the company that originally created the Captain Marvel character in 1939.
The security officer who monitors the hallways of Billy and Freddy's school is named Moran. According to David F. Sandberg, Moran was named after the film's art director John Moran. However, there was a superhero based on Captain Marvel named named Michael Moran, aka "Marvelman" (later known as "Miracleman"). He transformed into a superhero by saying a special word ("kimota", which is Atomic pronounced backwards) and got his powers from atomic energy rather than magic.
After it was announced at a Comic-Con that Brie Larson was cast for Captain Marvel (2019), CNN ran the headline "Shazam! Brie Larson is Captain Marvel", confusing DC's superhero with Marvel's superhero.
Both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have a hero called Captain Marvel, whose feature film adaptations both star Djimon Hounsou and were both released in 2019. The differences are: Shazam! (2019) is a male teenager who received godly powers and a superhuman form. Captain Marvel (2019) is a female superhero who received alien powers and retained her original form. DC's Captain Marvel is the original, first hitting comic book stands in 1939. DC renamed their New 52/Rebirth version of "Captain Marvel" to "Shazam" in 2012, due in part to Marvel holding the trademark on the name. However, DC still produces versions named Captain Marvel in print and animation.
C.C. Beck, the co-creator of Captain Marvel/Shazam, based the hero's design on Fred MacMurray, who was, at the time of his genesis in 1939, the #1 male box-office star.
According to producer Peter Safran, the film takes place in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), and he indicated there could be crossover interaction between Shazam! and the Justice League in potential future DCEU films.
Dr. Sivana is associated with the number 8: he carries a Magic 8-Ball toy with him, and his alliance with the Seven Deadly Sins makes the group a total of eight. In Orthodox Christianity, despair is considered the eighth deadly sin; this fits with Sivana having had his hopes broken as a child.
The Annabelle doll from director David F. Sandberg's Annabelle: Creation (2017) can be seen in a shop window. Both films star Grace Fulton. This is the second time that doll has appeared in a DC Comics film; it was last seen in Aquaman (2018).
John Glover, who plays Thaddeus Sivana's father, has a history in the DC universe as the voice of The Riddler in Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Dr. Jason Woodrue in Batman & Robin (1997), and as Lionel Luthor in Smallville (2001).
The filmmakers cite the teen fantasies Big (1988) and Stranger Things (2016) as influences.
The relics at the Rock of Eternity pay homage to people from Captain Marvel's history: A burning violin. This was a weapon created by the Captain Marvel villain Oggar, an immortal being who became evil; he gave the violin to a henchman named Nero who used it to spew out fire. A mirror with a face. In the "New 52" DC comics, this mirror contained a spirit guide named Francesca. A magic wand with an ibis on it. This is the Ibistick, the traditional weapon of the magician Ibis the Invincible, who was Captain Marvel's ally.
Billy Batson was born in Zumbrota, Minnesota, the birthplace of Captain Marvel's original artist C.C. Beck.
Zachary Levi is among few actors to appear in both the DC Extended Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He portrays Fandral in Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
Zachary Levi packed on 20 pounds of muscle for the film, putting his weight at 220 pounds.
The Seven Deadly Sins' design fits aspects of each sin: Wrath is bulky and brawny and is the most aggressive and combative of the Sins. Pride is the only Sin to have wings and horns. Greed has four arms, more arms than is necessary and also useful for grabbing as much as it desires. Gluttony is revoltingly obese and has a mouth from his belly to his face. Sloth has the features of the sloth animal, and has tentacles which enable it to reach out and grab things rather than properly moving around. Lust has a long tongue and prefers to target females. (David F. Sandberg specifically wanted a design that would avoid female traits) Envy is the smallest and puniest of the bunch.
During early development, the film was titled "Billy Batson & The Legend of Shazam".
Director David F. Sandberg's short animation All Quiet Now... (2006) is playing on a screen in the background of the mall scene.
In one scene, characters are buying beer with the name Bärs Lager. The word "bärs" (roughly pronounced "behrsh") is Swedish slang for "beer", much like "brewski" in American. This is likely an Easter egg from Swedish director David F. Sandberg.
David F. Sandberg cited the Terror Dogs in Ghostbusters (1984) as an inspiration for the Seven Deadly Sins' design.
Doctor Thaddeus Sivana is based on his original comic incarnation (a scientist and industrialist enemy of Captain Marvel), but also has traits from Shazam villains Black Adam (a former champion who became evil) and Sabbac (a villain empowered by entities of evil).
In the film, Dr. Sivana inserts the Orb of Sin into his eye, which gives him magical powers. In the New 52 DC comics, he got his eye struck by magic lightning which enables him to see magic.
Composer Benjamin Wallfisch cites the music 1970s and 1980s films as an influence on the film's score - specifically John Williams's Superman (1978) score and Alan Silvestri's work on the "Back to the Future" films - to match the tone of a film about "an old-school superhero from the Golden Age." Wallfisch, in his own words, "pictured what might happen if a 14-year-old was put in front of a 100 piece orchestra and told there were no limits. I wanted the score to feel like it might have been written by an exuberant kid just having the time of his life with an orchestra."
At the Vasquez foster home, there is a bunny toy Darla collects and in the kitchen there is a silver bunny towel rack and a bunny picture beside the breadbox. These are a homage to Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, a magical bunny who is Captain Marvel's ally in the comics.
Seth Green paid a visit on set. He can be briefly seen as one of the customers at the strip club.
The film has a prologue set in 1974, the year Shazam! (1974) (a previous live-action adaptation of Captain Marvel) debuted on TV.
This is Mark Strong's fifth comic-book feature after working on Kick-Ass (2010), Green Lantern (2011), and the Kingsman films Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), and Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017).
Darla's last name is Dudley. In the comics Captain Marvel had an ally named Dudley H Dudley (in some versions he was an honorary uncle to the Marvel Family, and in other versions he was just a supporting character).
An alternate opening of the film had Thad being bullied at his family home in plain sight. He would later bring the Sins to the home years later to kill everyone there.
David F. Sandberg wanted to portray Shazam's Speed of Mercury with lightning, but decided to remove the lightning since it would make the power too alike to the Flash.
In one scene, Freddy and Shazam play a Mortal Kombat video game. Captain Marvel had previously appeared in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008). Also the players they picked are are Raiden and Johnny Cage. One is a lightning god and the other is a cocky attention-loving celebrity, which respectively fit Shazam and Freddy.
According to David F. Sandberg, he actually forgot to add the Justice League animation to the DC Comics logo in the opening.
The graffiti in the film was custom-made. During shooting in Toronto, the crew spotted a lot of impressive graffiti, but they weren't allowed to use it in the film without locating the artist and acquiring permission.
This is one of the cheapest films in the DC Extended Universe series, with a production budget of $90-102 million.
This is the second role for Mark Strong in a DC film. He previously played Sinestro in Green Lantern (2011).
Alan Alda, F. Murray Abraham, Michael Keaton and Tony Shalhoub were being considered to play the wizard Shazam.
The development of a Shazam movie started in 2000 with New Line Cinema, producer Peter Safran, and screenwriter John August working on the project, but went nowhere for several years. New Line Cinema was eventually bought by Warner Bros., and August left the production when film executives requested that the movie be made darker due to the success of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008). From there, the project shifted development from a movie to a television series in 2013 - but Segal stated that, at that point, the adaptation was unlikely to happen. The film was saved in 2014 when DC announced plans to adapt the character to film, and was confirmed to be in development later in the year. David F. Sandberg was eventually announced to helm the film in July 2017.
This movie underwent a series of rewrites that included scripts written by writers such as William Goldman, Bryan Goluboff, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, John August, Darren Lemke, Bill Birch and Geoff Johns.
Jake McDorman, Parker Young, Joshua Sasse, Derek Theler, and John Cena were the front runners for Shazam before the part went to Zachary Levi.
The production designers suggested having toys of Superman's enemy Lex Luthor in the toy shop, but David F. Sandberg rejected the idea saying it felt too inappropriate and sleazy to have toys of a villain.
On E.B. Glover's desk there is a collection of smiley faces. This is a nod to the DC limited comic series "Watchmen," and may also be a plug for Watchmen (2019).
Zachary Levi debuted his buffed-up Shazam physique on 13th April 2018 (almost a year before the release of the film) by posting a shirtless picture of himself on his social media accounts, showing him working out in the gym with a barbell weight. Levi had been teasing his physical transformation for months by posting videos and images of his workouts through his friend and training partner Eric Blackmon, including pictures that showed him flexing his biceps. The shirtless image post by Levi was largely perceived as an attempt to silence his critics online who had been speculating that he did not get in shape for the role after leaked set images showed him in the Shazam super-suit that some fans noticed to be clearly padded. Levi did not quash the rumors but did receive a compliment from fellow DC franchise star Henry Cavill, who is rumored to appear in the film. Cavill, no stranger to posting shirtless selfies himself, wrote "Looking fantastic sir. Bloody nice work!" However some have pointed out that in the photos of Levi flexing he is quite clearly pressing his bicep to his side to make it look bigger than it is.
At one point Billy's Uncle Dudley was considered to appear in the film, with Micky Dolenz considered for the role.
Ron Cephas Jones was initially cast in the role of the Wizard, but scheduling conflicts led to him leaving the film and being replaced by Djimon Hounsou. Notably, this news only broke months later during post-production, in contrast to the many reports of on-set dramas for previous DCEU films.
Comic book writer, Geoff Johns, who is one of the executive producers of the film, is also the one who wrote the Shazam! New 52 comics whose material that this film is largely based upon.
Shazam is the second magical being in the DC Extended Universe to be summoned with a magic word; the first was the Enchantress in Suicide Squad (2016).
This is Captain Marvel/Shazam's fourth live-action feature, after having appeared in Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) and Shazam! (1974) (and its sibling series The Secrets of Isis (1975)) and a cameo role in The Drew Carey Show: Drew's in a Coma (2001).
In the comics, Shazam is noted for having two different capes: he started out with a short waist-length cape, then the New 52 comics gave him a knee-length cape with a hood. The film gives him a double cape that combines both versions, as David F. Sandberg wanted Shazam's design to homage his past and current looks.
Steve Blum, who voices the demon Envy, had previously voiced Shazam in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013). In that feature the character went under the name of Captain Thunder.
Despite Zachary Levi working out for the role, he still had a slender physique, so he had to wear a padded Shazam suit.
In the toy shop, just before Shazam and Sivana step on the giant keyboard Shazam passes by an action figurine of the Reaper (seen with a red costume and scythe-like tools). The Reaper is a rival vigilante to Batman, and was the inspiration for the Phantasm anti-hero in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993). The toy seen in the film was an actual toy the prop department found and put in the film.
Appearing in a deleted scene are producer Peter Safran's wife Natalia Safran as Thadeus Sivana's mother, and Safrans daughter Lou Lou Safran as Thadeus Sivana's twin sisters.
The film's working title was "Franklin", after American statesman Benjamin Franklin who was a resident of Philadelphia (where the film is set).
At one point adult Billy/Shazam sarcastically says to Doctor Sivana "Gee Whiz, mister!" Shazam (then known as Captain Marvel) first appeared in Whiz comics in 1940.
This is the third DC Extended Universe film to feature Greco-Roman mythology, after Wonder Woman (2017) and Aquaman (2018).
The costume department used Shazam's design in Justice League: War (2014) as an influence for the Shazam suit.
According to Director David F. Sandberg, the reason for the movie's title having an exclamation mark was included due to the app of the same name holding the trademark.
When Freddy is posting videos of Shazam's super power demos, one of the names he gives him is ZAP-tain America. That's a subtle nod to Captain America (and therefore Marvel Comics) existing in their universe.
This is the third superhero film to be set at Christmas, after Batman Returns (1992) and Iron Man 3 (2013).
Virginia Gardner, Hunter King and Tori Anderson were candidates to play Beautia Sivana, Dr. Sivana's daughter from the comics, but the character was eventually cut out of the film.
Asher Angel plays Billy Batson who transforms into an adult, played by Zachary Levi. Asher stars alongside Joshua Rush in Andi Mack (2017), and Joshua played the younger version of Zachary Levi's character Chuck in Chuck (2007).
For the scene in which Billy runs away from the Vasquez home after being given the address of his biological mother, the children were originally scripted to watch the parents leave from the living room window. In the film, however, Mary, Eugene and Pedro put on their coats and prepare to accompany their parents in pursuing Billy, but are ordered to stay home in case he returns, while Darla is shown to be still getting ready to leave just as the other three return to the living room. This change was made after David F. Sandberg was informed by the costume department that the children would need to be shown wearing the same clothes from this scene to the climatic battle, due to that sequence taking place outdoors in winter. Darla's slowness in getting ready was a result of her actress Faithe Herman being unavailable to appear alongside Grace Fulton, Ian Chen and Jovan Armand in the exterior shot of the house due to her commitment to This Is Us (2016). Sandberg has jokingly suggested that the latter change - one made purely as a result of scheduling - would be interpreted by YouTube film buffs as the build-up to Darla's eventual transformation into seemingly the fastest member of the Shazam Family.
The Japanese dub of the film uses voice actors from the comedy saga Gintama: Shazam is voiced by Masaki Suda (live-action Shinpachi) Freddy Freeman is voiced by Daisuke Sakaguchi (anime Shinpachi) the Wizard is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita (anime Gintoki) Dr. Sivana is voiced by Takehito Koyasu (anime Takasugi) Mary Batson is voiced by Aya Hirano (anime Iwai Nobume) Eugene Choi is voiced by Jirô Satô (live-action Takechi Henpeita)