With the unveiling of two new tie-in Funko Pop! figures for Shazam!, the latest DCEU epic, we learned a little bit more about Warner Bros. next superhero project. The newly revealed figures included super-powered versions of Billy Batson's adopted siblings Eugene Choi and Darla Dudley, in their own respective superhero incarnations similar to the Billy's transformed state as the eponymous Mightiest Mortal.
The inclusion of the Shazam Family has been rumored for some time; an activity book available for preorder in Australia featuring images of Billy's foster siblings in their empowered, superhero forms, seemingly confirming earlier reports that adult actors had been cast as the super-powered alter egos of the Shazam Family including Adam Brody as Freddie Freeman, Ross Butler as Eugene, Meagan Good as Darla, Michelle Borth as Mary Bromfield and D.J. Cutrona as Pedro Peña. With the new Funko figures seemingly confirming superhero versions of Eugene and Darla, tie-in figures for the other members of the Shazam Family are likely not far off from being revealed themselves.
Billy Batson being joined by a super-powered family of fellow heroes has been an integral part of the Shazam mythos for decades, dating back to 1942 when the ensemble was known as the Marvel Family, including Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. Following the characters rebranding as Shazam, an alternate version of the team was introduced during DC Comics' 2011 crossover event Flashpoint by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert, with the Shazam Family all uttering the magical word in unison to transform into Captain Thunder.
Following the New 52 reintroduction of the character in 2012 by Johns and Gary Frank, the new incarnation of the Shazam Family introduced Freddie, Mary, Eugene, Darla and Pedro as foster siblings of Billy Batson, with whom he shares his newfound magical powers. As the city descended into chaos following the release of the Seven Deadly Sins imprisoned in the Rock of Eternity, Billy imparted a fraction of his powers to his siblings with each transforming into their own superheroic alter ego with their own respective special ability. While Freddie and Mary's powers echo Billy's, Eugene gains the ability to manipulate technology, Darla becomes the fastest of the Shazam Family and Pedro becomes the strongest.
The upcoming superhero film is reportedly heavily influenced by the New 52 reinvention of the property, meaning the inclusion of the foster siblings created by Johns and Frank are likely to play a pivotal role in the film. Billy will likely recruit and empower his new family to help him save the world, taking direct inspiration from the New 52 story as well as the premiere episode of the animated series Justice League Action, which featured a similar plot.
In way, Shazam across all its incarnations has heavily focused on a theme of family with its extended supporting cast a direct extension from Billy Batson and his fantastic abilities. With the Shazam Family in the film virtually guaranteed to make a big appearance, this theme will likely play a strong role in the DCEU adaptation of the iconic superhero as well.
Arriving on April 5, 2019, director David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Zachary Levi as Shazam, Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, Djimon Hounsou as the ancient wizard Shazam, 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 Vásquez and Marta Milans as Rosa Vásquez.