TheWrap reports that Emmy-nominated actor Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us, Mr. Robot) has joined the cast of Shazam! as The Wizard, the mysterious figure who bestows Billy Batson with his mystical powers. In the most recent version of the Shazam story from DC, which the film appears to be following, the Wizard (sometimes also referred to as Shazam, later named Mamaragan) is an ancient being and the last surviving member of a council of wizards who must find a champion to battle the evil Black Adam, eventually choosing Billy. Ron Cephas Jones has previous comic book experience as well having appeared in Marvel’s Luke Cage.
He joins Asher Angel, who is set to star in the film as Billy Batson, with Zachary Levi taking on the titular hero and his alter ego. Mark Strong (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Sherlock Holmes) will play the villain, Doctor Sivana. Other cast members include Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen and Jovan Armand as Billy’s friends that live in a group home with him.
David F. Sandberg is directing for New Line Cinema. The Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation director will step behind the camera with Peter Safran producing. Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke wrote the script for Shazam, which is scheduled to shoot in Vancouver.
Dwayne Johnson will not appear as the villain Black Adam in the film and is developing a solo film for the anti-hero as a separate project.
Created in 1939 by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker, Shazam first appeared in Fawcett Comics’ Whiz Comics #2. By saying the world “Shazam,” teenager Billy Batson was transformed into the “world’s mightiest mortal” and given extraordinary abilities by ancient gods.
Shazam will debut in theaters on April 5, 2019.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)