Released in 2019, Shazam! was a delightful surprise, injecting buoyancy and warmth into the murky DC Extended Universe (DCEU).
Director David F. Sandberg graduated from the school of creepy horror (Lights Out et al) to deliver a charming tale of a young teen who discovers he can transform into a superhero.
Asher Angel and Zachary Levi delivered terrific performances as young kid Billy and the invulnerable Shazam, respectively. And audiences responded to the movie's sense of fun, guiding it to grosses of $365 million worldwide.
Distributor Warner Bros. immediately greenlit a sequel, which is headed our way under Sandberg's direction. It remains to be seen how the movie will continue the battle between Shazam and the nefarious Dr. Sivana, played with characteristic menace by Mark Strong.
The first film ended with Sivana incarcerated in a prison cell, before striking up a conversation with a talking worm known as Mister Mind, a fan-favourite villain from Shazam comic book lore. So, when can the follow-up expect to begin shooting?
"The plan has always been to start shooting this year," Sandberg tells Empire. "I mean, we’ll see what happens with this Coronavirus thing, how long it will last and how it will affect everything. It’s all very uncertain at the moment.
"It was already in quite early stages, because it doesn’t come out until 2022. It didn’t feel like we were up against a clock."
Sandberg also describes his evolution from horror director to comic book movie supremo. "On Lights Out everything was new and scary, and then Annabelle: Creation was such a great experience where it felt like, 'OK, now I know how this works’.
"I'm hoping for the same thing on Shazam. The first one was like, 'Oh s**t, how do you do all these things? I've never done a superhero movie before, with the visual effects and everything.' Now it feels like I know how this works, so for the sequel we can have more fun and really get into it, you know?"
That sounds good to us. As mentioned by Sandberg, Shazam! 2 is set for release in 2022, the 4th of November to be exact. But with the movie calendar thrown into chaos by the coronavirus pandemic, we'll have to wait and see.
Tweet us your reactions to the Shazam! sequel news @Cineworld, and be sure to check out Sandberg's enjoyably creepy new horror short below.