A new piece of concept art reveals an alternative costume design that the creators had in mind for Shazam, which was inspired by the New 52 comic. In 2019, Shazam!, starring Zachary Levi and directed by David F. Sandberg, brought humor to the DCEU, as the film delivered on its promise to be a much more light-hearted superhero tale. Not only did the film bring a lot of laughs, but it also touched on real-life themes connected to foster children and families. It proved to be a hit with both audiences and critics, and thanks to its budget of $100 million, it succeeded at the box office, grossing over $365 million worldwide.
Shazam is a character with over 80 years of history, but a large part of the inspiration for Sandberg’s version of the superhero’s origin story came from DC’s New 52 relaunch in 2011. In that version, Billy Batson is a troubled foster child that ends up in a new home full of other children, and eventually, he ends up gaining the power of Shazam. However, not only can the New 52 inspiration be seen in the film’s story; it also comes through in Levi’s superhero costume. Costume designer Leah Butler told Screen Rant during a set visit that “You’ll see a lot of New 52, i.e., the hood, in this iteration.” Concept artist Jerad S. Marantz even noted back in July, the original plan was for Levi to have the New 52 sandals as well, but that changed after his time designing the costume. Now, Marantz has given fans an even closer look at the original design for Shazam’s footwear in the film.
In an Instagram post, Marantz posted two new images of “The first pass” of Shazam’s “boots/sandals.” Along with the close up images, which shows the sandals from all angles, he wrote: “We were trying to find a way to make his new 52 greek sandals work. I tried to get the same patterns and shapes from the gauntlets in there. I’ve always liked this option but feel it’s a bit too busy and the final boots turned out great.”
The sandals are definitely an interesting look for Shazam, and those wishing for a complete New 52 look are probably a little disappointed they didn’t end up in the final film. Although, the full gold boots that the team ran with do seem to be a lot more visually pleasing on screen, and also seem to be a much better fit for Shazam’s gauntlet and belt as well. Plus, as Butler noted in his interview with Screen Rant, the boots also proved to be a lot more practical for Levi.
Shazam 2 has now been set for an April 1, 2022 release date, and is also scheduled to begin filming in the summer, the same time as Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam goes into production. For sequels, creative teams often try to incorporate something new for their lead characters, and in a superhero’s case, that can mean costume changes. So perhaps, by the time April 2022 rolls around, the New 52 sandals will be one of the new elements of Billy Batson’s Shazam, as he continues to fight against the bad guys before eventually facing off against Johnson’s Black Adam down the line.