Screenwriter Bill Birch (â€œOne-Finger Saltuteâ€) has been tapped to rewrite the long-gestating “Shazam!,” the DC Comics’ adaptation of the Captain Marvel story that’s being developed as a potential franchise, according to Variety.
Youâ€™ll recall that Peter Segal (â€œGet Smartâ€) has long been onboard to direct, with Dwayne â€˜The Rockâ€™ Johnson long rumoured for a role in the pic (likely that of the filmâ€™s villain, Black Adam).
Writer Birch was formerly an actor â€“ appearing in such series as â€œSleeper Cellâ€, â€œThe Unitâ€ and â€œJust Shoot Me!â€ â€“ before acquainting himself with Final Draft.
John August, William Goldman, Bryan Goluboff and the team of Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow penned drafts of â€œSahzam!â€, but apparently the studio would prefer something to sticks a little closer to the source material â€“ the popular DC comic series of the same name. Birchâ€™s job will be to write a movie that feels like an extension of the comic, by the sounds (as opposed to something that feels like an entirely different beast).
â€œShazam!â€ is based on a popular comic series, originally published by Fawcett Comics. With a premise that taps adolescent fantasy, Captain Marvel is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a youth who works as a radio news reporter and was chosen to be a champion of good by the wizard Shazam. Whenever Billy speaks the wizard’s name, he is instantly struck by a magic lightning bolt that transforms him into an adult superhero empowered with the abilities of six legendary figures; one from the Old Testament and five from mythology. Several friends and family members, most notably Marvel Family cohorts Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr., can share Billy’s power and become “Marvels” themselves.
Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953, due in part to a copyright infringement suit from DC Comics alleging that Captain Marvel was an illegal infringement of Superman. In 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family characters and returned them to publication, acquiring all rights to the characters by 1991.