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Zachary Levi explains the difference between Shazam and whiny superheroes

Being a superhero is about drinking beer, dabbing, and flexing muscles

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

The latest footage from the next DC Films movie, Shazam, is all about the biggest difference between it and its predecessors. Shazam’s hero, get this, actually wants to be a superhero.

“Shazam is one of very few superhero characters that is genuinely stoked to be a superhero,” says star Zachary Levi, in the new clip. “More often than not you’ve got a character who is begrudgingly pulled into this and everybody needs them and they’re like [clenches fist, looks away, deepens voice] Ohh, I have to save the world again. Billy Batson is stoked!”

Levi plays Billy Batson in his superheroic form, while Billy himself is played by child actor Asher Angel.

One of the oldest superhero stories still around, the original Shazam comics — under the name Captain Marvel (it’s a long story) — consistently outsold Superman in the early days of superhero history. And thanks to being out of production from 1953 to 1972 (another long story) the character skipped an entire era of creative evolution in the genre, preserving that pure and simple idea of a wizard who gives a good-hearted kid the power to say a magic word and turn into a superhero.

As Levi and Angel say in the video above, Shazam, and superheroes, are all about wish fulfillment.

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