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Shazam! Fury Of The Gods Director Explains Why The Film Diverged From DC Comics

The 2023 "Shazam!" sequel "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" was controversial prior even to its release, with some viewers feeling skeptical of the second "Shazam!" movie based solely on its trailers. Following its premiere, "Fury of the Gods" continued to garner a fair share of criticism, though Anthea actor Rachel Zegler still wants viewers to give "Shazam 2" a chance.

While seemingly not a significant contributor to the film's reception, one way "Shazam 2" is different from virtually all of its DC Films predecessors is its incorporation of original villains, as opposed to characters adapted from DC comics as is the norm. In an interview with The Playlist published on the date "Fury of the Gods" premiered in theaters, director David F. Sandberg discussed this aspect of the film in detail.

"In the very early stages, we were looking at the 'New 52' comic books because the first movie is pretty much adapted from the origin story those issues gave Shazam," Sandberg said. "More comics have come out since then, so we looked at going down that path, but that involves a little more fantasy than I wanted from the second movie. They're going through all these portals to different far-off lands, and I wanted him on Earth."

Rather than maintain the character's comic book trajectory and introduce dimension-hopping into "Shazam 2," then, Sandberg instead opted to chart new territory for the classic character.

The source of Shazam's powers led to the incorporation of characters from Greek mythology

In his interview with The Playlist, "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" director David F. Sandberg went on to explain that the decision to tell a story with original villains in the second "Shazam" movie came about once he began interrogating the source of its titular character's powers, which have always been linked to Greek mythology — the name Shazam itself, notably, is an acronym for Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.

"The question becomes what we can have him do in our world, and that leads to the concept of the powers gained from these mythological figures turning out to be stolen, and the original owners want them back," Sandberg said. "You understand the anger of these goddesses because they were wronged. Shazam didn't do it, and we may not agree with their methods, but we see where they're coming from. Those are the best villains, the ones who kind of have a point where they're not just evil to be evil."

So, while the Greek gods in "Shazam 2" may not originate in any DC comic book storyline, their introduction is nevertheless a natural function of its hero's intrinsic link to Greek mythology, and true to his comic book origins in its own way.