Zack Smith wrote:Currently, Geoff Johns is working on a version of Shazam! that might find its way to the big screen, or possibly as another TV series. Details are sparse, but we decided to ask: What would be necessary to make a Captain Marvel film work, and could it put Captain Marvel back on top?
Jackson Bostwick (TV’s Captain Marvel): “The most important element would the humor. Not Ha-Ha humor, but the same fun you have watching Sean Connery playing James Bond.
“The biggest mistake would be to cast a name actor in the role of Captain Marvel. Find an unknown who is charming and doesn’t look like a pro wrestler. After all, Cap is the alter ego of Billy Batson, who was selected by the old wizard Shazam because he was pure of heart and as a result wouldn’t transform himself into some Philistine thug on steroids. Captain Marvel doesn't need massive muscles; he has the magic and power of five gods and a Jewish king. That in itself is imaginative.”
Chip Kidd:” Iron Man wasn’t on anybody’s radar for a long time, and now how big is he? But you can’t just do it, it has to be really good, otherwise you wind up with something like The Shadow, or Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which is a supreme achievement that did not connect with the public. You need to get the tone right in a way that connects with the audience in a big way. It’s hard to do this stuff [laughs].”
Jeff Smith: “Who would have thought Iron Man would be relevant again? But the movie just completely worked. It was just magical and brought him back. The right team on a book or a movie could bring him back to the top, who knows?”
Alex Ross: “Any live adaptation of Captain Marvel is going to have to find and capture that invisible quality of difference from any other superhero. He’s not a kid in an adult’s body, and he’s not a living cartoon or comedic character – those to me are the worst ways to interpret him.
“Can I make the case for something heartfelt in his handling, to be made without the cynicism of our modern age? Would it be successful? Maybe, maybe not.
“Sometimes, though, one can capture the zeitgeist of the moment by being true to a unique vision, without it seeming foolproof on paper.”
Michael Uslan: “Let me put on my Hollywood hat: If, in the first 20 years of new comic book movies, you take Batman and Superman and maybe Spider-Man and X-Men out of the equation, maybe the biggest successes of comic book movies were books that never sold more than 5,000 copies an issue: Men In Black. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Mask.
"You do not need a 25 or 50 or 75-year history to make a great comic book movie. What you need are great stories and colorful characters and great filmmakers who are passionate about a particular character and have a vision for it and are able to execute it. And that’s where the magic comes.
"That’s why Iron Man was so great. That’s why Green Lantern has a great chance of succeeding. And that’s why now the second bananas are going to have their turn in the spotlight – Thor and Captain America and the Flash. And Captain Marvel will have his day.”
But what keeps the fans coming back in each new incarnation of Captain Marvel? We decided to ask the man who played him on screen a simple question: What, in his opinion, is the message that Captain Marvel sends out to fans?
Jackson Bostwick: “Never let the child in you die. That is where your imagination lies. It is the foundation on which your spirit for life is built. It is your calling to the hero’s journey.
“And being able to read about and follow a superhero of fantasy and fiction like Captain Marvel into his perilous, yet fanciful, domain as he battles against evil and injustice can momentarily transport one out of their own oft-time worrisome world of reality into a realm where selfless gallantry, virtue, honor and bravery rule the day.
“The endless fight for good over evil must never be lost and the heroic adventures of Captain Marvel, as well as a few other superheroes of comics and film, subliminally hearten the child within us that all is not lost; you can be rewarded with being ‘the best you can be’ if you will choose to travel down the paths of virtue and honor.
“Captain Marvel slips this message to the kids, and the kid within us, by entertaining us through whimsical stories and fantastic characters, and not with the strong-armed, stark realism that permeates the over-the-top, steroid-induced, superhero brutes that too often infest the comics and films of today.
“Kids can identify with Billy Batson, and dream to possess his ability to say one magic word that instantly transforms him into a superhero that can whip up on the bad guys. That in itself is a major childhood fantasy that lives within the human spirit until one dies. And this appears to be missed by DC as probably being one of the chief factors as to why Captain Marvel outsold Superman during the Golden Age.”
Kind of says it all, don’t you think?
No matter what happens next, in comics, film, television or other media, there’s seven decades of fans who still love Captain Marvel, who eagerly await new adventures in comics, film and elsewhere, and who want to wish him a happy 70th birthday. Whether it’s a film, a new series, or reprints of his classic tales, we’re here and ready for anything, from talking tigers to evil worms.
From all of us at Newsarama, we say: Happy Birthday and Shazam!