Zachary Levi’s original Shazam! movie saw a 14-year-old boy called Billy Baston with the ability to turn into an adult superhero. Fans will remember the powers testing montage which had Don’t Stop Me Now by Freddie Mercury’s Queen playing over the top. Yet after the DC movie’s release in 2019 Shazam!’s director David F Sandberg revealed that he wanted an Elvis Presley Easter Egg because of The King’s love for original comics.
A fan asked Sandberg on Twitter at the time: “How much creative control do you and other directors really have individually on the telling of your film? I’m assuming there are almost like showrunners for these mega-series, right?”
The director said he could only speak for Shazam, but admitted he had a lot of creative control. He said: “I think the biggest disagreement on Shazam was some song choices.”
Sandberg continued: “I wanted Elvis for the powers testing montage, studio wanted Queen. But Elvis or Queen is kind of a win either way. The reason I wanted Elvis was because he was a big fan of Captain Marvel Jr [aka Shazam Jr] and based his stage outfit on him. But I have to admit that Queen works really damn well in that scene.”
Just as Elvis was a fan of Captain Marvel Jr, the character became an Elvis fan in the comics. As for which song the director had in mind for the Shazam! montage, he said, A Little Less Conversation, which ended up in the 2023 sequel.
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The 2001 JXL Remix of Elvis’ A Little Less Conversation is played over the end credits of Shazam 2 in tribute to the King. Fans may also remember that Captain Marvel Jr is mentioned several times in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic, which was also produced by Warner Bros.
The superhero’s true identity is Freddy Freeman, Shazam’s foster brother, who is played by Jack Dylan Grazer as a teenager and by Adam Brody when a superhero.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is out now.