As mentioned by the Wizard, SHAZAM is an acronym formed from the names of the gods that grant powers: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. Of these six gods forming Shazam's name, only two are actually Gods - Zeus (Greek) and Mercury (Roman). Solomon is a mortal King from the Bible (who was also known in legend as a king of magic and knowledge), Hercules and Achilles were demigods (half-human half-god), and Atlas was a Titan.
Near the abandoned warehouse where Freddy trains Billy and records his powers, a factory with the sign "Ace Chemicals" is 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.
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.
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 and a group of people walking on a keyboard.
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.
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.
Throughout the film, Billy Batson's super alter ego is referred to by a variety of names. This is a homage to the controversy over Captain Marvel's name, which kept changing between different titles; (Captain Marvel, Shazam, Captain Thunder) due to issues with rival company, Marvel, having a similar name, as well as a similar character; Captain Marvel.
Mark Strong was openly enthusiastic about playing Sivana, describing him as an "evil bastard" and stating that those roles are "always fun to play".
The skate ramp where Shazam tests his flight has "Arion" written on it. Arion is the name of an immortal Atlantean sorcerer in the comics who's been both a hero and a villain.
One of Freddy's names for super-powered Billy is "Captain Sparklefingers". Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) has the nickname "Captain Sparklefists."
The security officer who monitors the hallways of Billy and Freddy's school is named Moran. The Moran name is a reference to the comic book character Michael Moran, aka "Marvelman" (later known as "Miracleman"). This was a comic book character heavily inspired by Captain Marvel; 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.
Dwayne Johnson once asked his fans which character he should play, superhero Shazam or supervillain Black Adam. His fans chose Black Adam.
Billy's father is identified by the initials "C.C.", this comes from Captain Marvel's original artist C.C. Beck.
On August 6, 2017, David F. Sandberg posted a mock script page that parodied the rivalry between Shazam and Superman. DC Comics sued Fawcett Comics in 1941, claiming that Captain Marvel was a copyright infringement of Superman, and won on appeal in 1953. Fawcett agreed out of court to pay DC $400,000 and cease publication; DC later licensed (1972) and then bought (by 1991) Captain Marvel from Fawcett, marketing it under the title "Shazam!" DC eventually renamed the character "Shazam" in 2012, retaining a version of the traditional Captain Marvel and his cast in their comics in an alternate universe.
According to the filmmakers, the hardest part of designing the suit was getting the thunderbolt design to fit into the triangular chestplate.
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 star Djimon Hounsou both were 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.
Djimon Hounsou has appeared in four comic book films; two in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and two in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). He has also played three separate characters. In the MCU, he portrayed Korath in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Captain Marvel (2019) and in DC he appeared as Fisherman King in Aquaman (2018), and as the wizard Shazam in Shazam! Three of these movies premiered within a four month period.
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).
Fawcett Central High School is named after Fawcett Comics, the company that originally created the Captain Marvel character in 1939.
The filmmakers cite the teen fantasies Big (1988) and Stranger Things (2016) as influences.
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.
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).
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.
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. In an interview with Michael Rosenbaum, Rosenbaum guessed Levi's weight at 215 pounds, but Levi proudly and quickly corrected saying that his weight was 220 pounds.
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.
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.
During early development, the film was titled "Billy Batson & The Legend of Shazam."
Billy is transported to see the Wizard during a subway ride. This is similar to the way it happened in the DC animated short, Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam (2010) and the New 52 origin story.
When Freddy is showing Billy his room you can see a book beside his Batarang. The title appears to be "The Bird and the Bat: the impact of superheroes on society and its future". The cover shows a silhouette of Superman hovering. One would assume this was written after the events of BVS but possibly before the events of Justice League.
This is Mark Strong's fifth comic-book feature after working on Kick-Ass (2010), Green Lantern (2011), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), and Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017).
Billy Batson was born in Zumbrota, Minnesota, the birthplace of Captain Marvel's original artist C.C. Beck.
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.
DIR_CAMEO(David F. Sandberg): Appears as all three Crocodile-Men (with assistance from puppeteers; Neil Morrill and Steve Newburn). He also provides the voice of Mister Mind.
When Shazam throws Batman in the toy store you can see Cyborg and Wonder Woman on the shelf along with Batman and Superman toys, hinting again that this story takes place in the current DC universe.
In Freddy Freeman's room you can see old newspaper clippings plastered on his wall. One Daily Planet article headline reads "CAPED WONDER STUNS CITY". This is a direct homage to Richard Donner's original Superman the Movie after Superman's first night of rescues Perry reads out all of the papers headlines. The other papers from that scene: The Post: "IT FLIES!" The News: "LOOK MA - NO WIRES!" The Times: "BLUE BOMB BUZZES METROPOLIS".
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).
Director David F. Sandberg's short animation Vad tyst det blev... (2006) is playing on a screen in the background of the mall scene.
The Shazam character, originally Fawcett Comic's Captain Marvel, came under scrutiny and the lawsuit brought regarding the copyright infringement of Superman eventually forced Fawcett Publications to abandon their comic book franchises. Captain Marvel lived in Fawcett City, and his alter-ego Billy, named after Fawcett founder Captain Billy Fawcett, was a blatant knock-off, the description being: Superman, except he turns into a kid instead of an adult.
In one scene, two characters are seen playing a Mortal Kombat video game. The character of Shazam! (under his original name, Captain Marvel) previously appeared in a "Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe" video game.
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.
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.
Alan Alda, F. Murray Abraham, Michael Keaton and Tony Shalhoub were being considered to play the wizard Shazam.
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.
This is the second role for Mark Strong in a DC film. He previously played Sinestro in Green Lantern (2011).
The film has a prologue set in 1974, the year Shazam! (1974) (the previous live-action adaptation of Captain Marvel) aired on TV.
On E.B. Glover's desk there is a collection of smiley faces. This is a nod to the DC limited comic series; "Watchmen." A "Watchmen" television series is expected to be released later this year, 2019, on HBO. The show is created by Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers, Cowboys & Aliens, Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Tomorrowland).
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.
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.
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.
Outside of a brief dream sequence cameo in The Drew Carey Show: Drew's in a Coma (2001), this film marks the first live action appearance of the Shazam/Captain Marvel character since the Legends of the Superheroes (1979) series in 1979.
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.
Another horror reference: Stephen King's "The Mist". When Eugene opens a door, on the other side is nothing but mist, from which a tentacle reaches out to grab him. The tentacle looks similar to those appearing in the Stephen King Film "The Mist".
The film's working title was "Franklin", after American statesman Benjamin Franklin who was a resident of Philadelphia (where the film is set).
John Glover as Mr. Sivana says the line, "Somebody save me!". Glover used to play Lex Luthor's father, Lionel Luthor, on the TV series Smallville (2001) whose opening theme song was "Save Me."
Producer Peter Safran's wife Natalia Safran plays the wife of Thadeus Sivana's father, and his daughter Lou Lou Safran plays Thadeus Sivana's twin sisters.
Djimon Hounsou has supporting roles in both Shazam! (2019) and Captain Marvel (2019).
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.
The bumper sticker on the Vasquez' van reads "I'm a foster mom. What's your superpower?"
This film marked the second collaboration between Grace Fulton and David F. Sandberg. The first was Annabelle: Creation (2017).
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).
The "S" symbol, representing the Sivana family company, is highly reminiscent of a nazi swastika. Obviously, this was done to associate negative feelings toward Sivana and his family. Interestingly, it's placement could also evoke sympathy for Sivana himself (as his father acted the ruthless dictator to him, while his brother "followed orders" of example from their father.
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.
Composer Benjamin Wallfisch cites the music of John Williams and scores from 1980s Amblin Entertainment films as inspirations for Shazam!, 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."
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)
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.
Both Meagan Good (Super Hero Darla) and D.J. Cotrona (Super Hero Pedro) co-starred and shared screen-time in teen horror movie Venom (2005).