Zachary Levi Recalls How He Almost Landed One of Marvel's Beloved Heroes

Few days left until DCU fans see Zachary Levi reprise his role as Shazam in the much-awaited sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Levi gathered a different wave of popularity after he assumed the role of Billy Batson and his alter ego. But before the actor played Shazam for the DC Studios movie franchise, he almost got his breakout role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy. His failed audition video for GotG has emerged online before, and recently, Levi took time to reflect on his "one that got away" role in the MCU.

“Listen, I've known Peter [Safran] now for years because he's my producer on Shazam! and I've known James Gunn for even more years," Levi told "We have mutual friends and we've had game nights together in LA. I've been at a Christmas party of his and almost was Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy. He, James, stumped for me, fought for me when Peter asked him about me,” he recalled. “'Hey, what do you think of Zach because we're thinking about him for Shazam?' James was like, 'Yes, go get that guy, he could go crush that.'”

With Gunn and Safran rebuilding the DCU, it’s uncertain where Levi’s hero will go after the sequel premiers. According to the actor, the reception of the upcoming movie will dictate his future as Shazam. “As far as Shazam! is concerned, we got to make a sequel because enough people saw the first one. So if enough people go and see this one, then we'll get to make another one. I hope you know. I don't see anything standing in the way of that. As a franchise, we have kind of been doing our own thing, anyway. We weren't tied to a lot of what already existed. So as long as they see fit to want to keep making Shazam! movies, and it's right for me in my life, I'll keep playing this role as long as I can.” he explained.

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Chris Pratt as Peter Quill aka Star Lord
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Credit: Marvel
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill aka Star Lord

The first Shazam! (2019) was a box office success, grossing $366 million worldwide on a budget of between $80 million and $100 million. It also received positive reviews from critics, with a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the second-highest rating of any DCEU film, trailing only the 2017 mega-hit Wonder Woman. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the sequel is on track for a "low-key" $35 million-$40 million opening weekend three weeks before its release.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods premieres in cinemas on March 17.

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