Peter Segal Discusses His Now-Defunct Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam

One of the earliest big screen comic book adaptations, “The Adventures of Captain Marvel” was released in 1941 as part of a serialized adventure based on the Fawcett Comics publication. Unfortunately, it would also be the very last time Billy Batson and his super-powered alter-ego would grace the silver screen.

“The thing is, Shazam has always lived this tortured life going against Superman,” director Peter Segal today tells as part of a new interview in which the Grudge Match helmer discusses his now-defunct plans for an adaptation that was set to be titled Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam. “This dates back to the 1930s. Because Captain Marvel had similar powers to Superman, the DC folks back then sued what was the most popular comic book on the stands at that time. Years later, they bought it and it became a DC property but, as long as Superman stays hot in the market place, there seems like a little bit of a crossover between the two characters. After Bryan Singer’s ‘Superman Returns,’ it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day. That’s when you heard those stories. Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence.”

One might assume that, given Segal’s previous work with comedies, that his plans for Earth’s mightiest mortal might take on a more kid-friendly approach.

“It wasn’t,” Segal says. “I was working with Geoff Johns. At its core, it’s a lot like Superman. There’s this boy trapped inside of a superhero’s body. He’s still a boy inside, so there’s this opportunity to play a lot of humor with the action. Originally, Stan Lee brought me ‘Fantastic Four’ a number of years for that very reason. I always have the question when people bring me superhero properties, ‘Why me?’ With Stan, he said, ‘It’s because there’s a sense of humor within all Marvel characters.’ These characters are flawed and, within those flaws, there is humor. When Toby Emmerich came to me with Shazam, it was because of those same reasons. To draw from that humor and to mix it with great action and pathos. I’ve always loved Shazam, but I don’t know if it’s going to see the light of day anytime soon.”

Do you think a Captain Marvel / Shazam film would work in the midst of projects like Batman vs. Superman? Sound off with your thoughts below!