Despite already living in a more open and modernized society, there are still circumstances of discrimination among race, nationality, gender, and others. With this, the media feel responsible to create content that is more diverse and welcoming to represent all kinds of people, hoping to spark some sort of inspiration in the real world. Showrunners, writers, artists, and actors sometimes fight hard to bring forth their visions about their creation, like the writer of Shazam! Fury of the Gods did include his gay character in the narrative.
In an interview with Dorkaholics, co-writer Henry Gayden revealed that Shazam family member Pedro Peña is confirmed as gay in the upcoming sequel, which took an effort to materialize on the screen. “The only new addition for [Fury of the Gods] is being a lot more forthright about Pedro being gay,” he commented. “And that was hinted at in the first movie very subtly. And I thought it was really important and fought for us including that and bringing that to the fore in this movie.”
Pedro Peña, Billy Batson's foster brother, is an overweight adolescent of Mexican descent around Billy's age. Pedro, who first appeared in the Flashpoint miniseries, can share Billy's power by saying "Shazam!" and transforming into an adult Shazam-powered version of himself in a green uniform. This isn't the first time Pedro has been fleshed out as a character; descriptions for the World's Mightiest Family previously revealed new tidbits about him, stating that he's had self-confidence issues for a while and has gained "a newfound interest in baseball."
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Gayden also talked about how he tried to come up with the continuation of Billy Batson’s journey. “We figured out from the very beginning that it was about ‘how does Billy operate in a world where he has a family’ and use that as the internal conflict emotionally and then how do you externally best dramatize that story as he comes up against something that challenges that,” he said. “And in particular these villains, I think are kind of a dark reflection of three people who also lost family in their life and don’t feel that he deserves what he has now, which threatens everything.”
Shazam! Fury of the Gods premieres in cinemas on March 17.