After waiting eagerly for another full-length trailer for Shazam!, fans were instead treated Sunday to a TV spot that plays up the humor, to say nothing about the rivalry between Zachary Levi's hero and Mark Strong's Thaddeus Sivana. However, the new footage may also hide a significant clue to the villain's origin and his motivations.
The promo opens with familiar footage of Asher Angel's Billy Batson stepping off the subway as the voice of the Wizard (Djimon Honsou) booms, "Billy Batson, I choose you!" However, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, as the small figure is about to step out of the shadows of the tunnel and into the hall fo the Rock of Eternity, it becomes clear the boy isn't Billy. Just look at the image below.
It's a clever piece of editing of Warner Bros, leaving fans to assume it's the same shot of Billy from previous trailers. But upon closer inspection, you can clearly see Billy has been swapped out. This is a younger boy, wearing a striped shirt and sweater vest, on his way to meeting the Wizard. The fashion, particularly the stripes and collar, may even suggest an earlier decade.
Given what we know so far about Shazam!, the logical conclusion is that the boy is Sivana himself.
The adult Sivana has a damaged eye, which evokes the villain as he appeared in DC's New 52 era of comics. In Justice League #7, he was introduced as a renowned scientist who resorted to magic to save his family after believing science had failed them. He's later struck by a lightning bolt as he attempts to open the tomb of Black Adam, an injury that permitted the eye to see magic.
But in this movie, Sivana possesses superhuman abilities that rival those of Shazam, making him a physical as well as intellectual threat. We can then theorize that Sivana was summoned as a boy by the Wizard, only to be rejected for reasons as yet unknown. Those events left him scarred, but also still imbued with at least a portion of the power of Shazam.
If that's the case, then it will be interesting to learn why he Sivana was deemed unworthy. Maybe a young Sivana sought help for his family, but the Wizard realized he would ultimately be corrupted by magic. Or it could be that Sivana actually did wield the mantle of Shazam for a time, only to fall from grace.
That parallels the Black Adam storyline, with someone destined to be a hero who instead loses his way. With Sivana, director David F. Sandberg could be laying the foundation for him to seek out his own champion in the form of Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson), down the line.
The "fallen one" may be a well-worn trope, but could provide a lot of entertainment for Shazam! fans, because, honestly, who wants to see the "Big Red Cheese" going up against some random mad scientist? However, fighting his predecessor is something else entirely. As indicated by the shots of them punching each other, Sivana has a score to settle -- and potentially not only with Shazam but also with the Wizard himself.
Arriving April 5. 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.