When we last saw Shazam’s arch-nemesis Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) during a mid-credits sequence at the end of 2019’s Shazam!, the mad scientist and Seven Deadly Sins host had been defeated by the title hero and was firmly ensconced at Rock Falls Penitentiary.
It was in his cell that he was approached by the super-intelligent alien centipede — and fellow Shazam super-villain — Mister Mind, who offered to form an alliance with Sivana and promised that the Seven Realms would be theirs for the taking.
While the sequel, now titled Shazam! Fury of the Gods, has been steadily ramping up since late last year as production began to resume post-pandemic, Strong has not been mentioned among the various returning and new cast members suiting up for the film. Today he makes it official when asked by Den of Geek: Sivana is sitting the sequel out.
“I literally spoke to the producer last night, because I saw that Zach Levi tweeted that they’re about to start shooting in Atlanta,” Strong tells us during an interview for his new film, Cruella.
“Dr. Sivana isn’t in Shazam! 2,” he confirms. “What’s happened is, I think Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu and perhaps someone else — they’ve got some female villains in. And to be honest with you, I’m very happy to take a back seat to some female villains and let them have a go, because judging by the work that Emma Thompson and Emma Stone have done in Cruella, it’s about time.”
Levi did in fact tease the start of production on social media last week, while the addition of Mirren and Liu to the cast — as the goddesses (and sisters) Hespera and Kalypso respectively — was revealed earlier this spring.
As for whether he thinks Sivana will come back if there’s a Shazam! 3, Strong was brief but acknowledged that mid-credits scene from the first film: “Who knows? He’s still got unfinished business with Mister Mind.”
Plot details of Shazam! Fury of the Gods are a complete secret for now, but we know that in addition to Levi, Mirren, and Liu, the cast includes returning members Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman, Marta Milans as Rosa Vasquez, and Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley, along with newcomer Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) in an undisclosed role.
David F. Sandberg is also returning in the director’s chair, while Henry Gayden has again penned the screenplay. As with just about every other film, Shazam! Fury of the Gods has seen its release date bounced around a few times but is now scheduled for release on June 2, 2023.
We’ll have more soon from our interview with Mark Strong as the release of Cruella — which stars Emma Stone in an origin story for Disney’s classic 101 Dalmatians villainess — approaches on May 28.