When no one was looking, Warner Bros.' Shazam! cast two-time Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou in the important role of the Wizard.
Entertainment Weekly notes that although production has already wrapped on director David F. Sandberg’s superhero film, the addition of Hounsou was kept quiet until now.
This Is Us actor Ron Cephas Jones was widely reported to have been cast in the role of the Wizard, but EW reports a scheduling conflict prohibited his involvement in the film, which stars Zachary Levi, Asher Angel and Mark Strong.
Introduced in 1940 by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker in Whiz Comics #2, the 3,000 year-old Wizard (commonly referred to in the comics as Shazam) grants young Billy Batson the ability to transform into the superhero Shazam.
Hounsou, who earned Academy Award nominations for his roles in In America and Blood Diamond, played Korath in Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy, and will return next year in Captain Marvel. No stranger to adaptations of DC comics, he portrayed Papa Midnite in 2005's Constantine.
Debuting April 5, 2019, Shazam! stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Zachary Levi as Shazam, Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, Grace Fulton as Mary Bromfield, Jack Dylan Grazer as Frederick “Freddy” Freeman, Ian Chen as Eugene Choi, Jovan Armand as Pedro Peña, Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley, Cooper Andrews as Victor Vázquez, and Marta Milans as Rosa Vázquez.