The Shazam! Movie's True Villain May Not Be Mark Strong's Sivana

Shazam! - Sivana

So far, the marketing for Shazam! has teased Mark Strong's Doctor Sivana as the primary antagonist, echoing his longtime role in the comic books as the superhero's arch-nemesis. That implication plays out in the new television promo, which sees Billy Batson's super-powered alter ego takes the fight to Sivana. Although this high-flying, super-strong incarnation of the classic Shazam foe certainly holds his own, there's an indication he may not be the only villain in the film.

Footage depicts what's speculated to be a young Thaddeus Sivana entering the Rock of Eternity decades before Billy Batson, providing a potential clue to the origin of his powers. Even more interesting, however, is what looks to be a difference in the Rock of Eternity itself: the statues of the Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Seven Deadly Sins of Man, that line the wall.

Seven Deadly Enemies of Men

Based on the vices from Christian teachings (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth), the Seven Deadly Enemies of Men in the comics are powerful demons who can assume control of people's bodies, forcing them to follow their basest desires. The wizard Shazam defeated them, and then trapped them with statues that decorate the Rock of Eternity. They've escaped their prisons numerous times over the decades to wreak havoc, most recently during the reintroduction of Shazam by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank in DC's New 52 era.

In the new footage, as the shadowy little figure enters the Rock of Eternity, the rather elaborate statues can be clearly seen lining the left side of the hall. But when the scene cuts to Asher Angel's Billy Batson meeting the wizard, the representations of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Men appear to be significantly altered. Although the angle is different, and the lighting dim, the statues look to be at least partly destroyed, which could mean the demons escaped sometime between young Sivana's visit to the Rock of Eternity and Billy's.


Leaked audition tapes suggested the Deadly Sins would appear in the film, with the wizard asserting his counterparts were killed by the demons. It'ss not outside of the realm of possibility that they corrupted Sivana, necessitating the wizard to recruit Billy and bestow upon him the powers of Shazam. If the role of the Seven Deadly Sins role in the comics is any indication, they won't be confined to the Rock of Eternity.

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In both the story by Johns and Frank, the Seven Deadly Sins were a key part of a plan by Black Adam. The villain/antihero broke into the Rock of Eternity and freed the Sins from their stone prisons, leaving Shazam and his super-powered Shazam Family to track each of them down. Black Adam isn't expected to appear in the film, instead being reserved for a solo outing starring Dwayne Johnson, his role could ostensibly be replaced by Sivana. Given the potential revised origin of the Shazam villain, and his possible past with the Rock of Eternity, it would certainly follow the arcs of the previous stories.

Thaddeus Sivana is definitely the most visible, direct antagonist in Shazam!, but his motivations likely come from an ancient, corrupting source. While traditionally depicted in the comics as a mad scientist (a frail one at that), the DC Extended Universe incarnation of Sivana could be the unwitting pawn of demons looking to escape their prisons. And given rumors that the Shazam Family will similarly make their debut, Billy won't be alone in rounding up these enemies of humanity.

Arriving on 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.

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