Zachary Levi already knew he was a dead man walking when he showed up on the Thor: Ragnarok set in Australia to reprise his role Fandral, one third of the Thunder God’s trusty comrades, the Warriors Three. “The filmmakers said, ‘Hey, do you want to come to Australia and play Fandral? We only need you for, like, a day,” the actor tells Yahoo Entertainment with a chuckle. “I was like, ‘If they only need me for a day, I know what’s going to happen!” Sure enough, Fandral met his end swiftly in the Taika Waititi-directed blockbuster, skewered by Thor’s apocalypse-starting sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett). The poor guy goes to his reward without the benefit of a final word or two, although Levi recalls uttering a few lines of dialogue on set. “I said, ‘For Asgard!’ as I was dying, but apparently that all got ripped out.”
Fandral’s demise puts the kibosh on the Warriors Three joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s looming Infinity War, not to mention a spinoff that Levi has been dreaming of since taking over the role from Josh Dallas in the second Thor solo adventure, The Dark World. “I was hoping we’d come back together and make more stuff,” he admits. “But I have a lot of love for that whole gang over there, and I’m grateful to Marvel for the opportunity to work with Taika, even if it was just for a day.”
Besides, as Levi points out, any lingering disappointment he might have about his Asgardian alter ego’s untimely end is mitigated by the fact that he’ll very soon be trading Marvel’s version of Norse mythology for DC’s Grecian-made god Shazam in the hero’s maiden feature film, due in theaters in 2019. Directed by horror expert David F. Sandberg, Shazam! stars Asher Angel as 14-year-old Billy Batson, who utters the titular word to transform into a colorfully clad crimefighter with the genius of Solomon, the strength of Hercules etc., etc. With shooting set to begin in Canada in February, Levi is getting into superhero shape with a diet of intensive eating and teasing Instagram pictures, like this one of him and Sandberg hanging out with one very lively pooch.
Asked how the dog will factor into Shazam! — perhaps as Captain Marvel’s canine sidekick? — Levi demonstrates that he possesses the secrecy of Harpocrates. “I can’t say anything about anything,” he says, apologetically. “But I can tell you that I’m out of my mind excited for this project! I love that I get to play a superhero who is really a 14-year-old kid inside. I’ve always been a fan of the movie Big, and I feel like this is my Big. That I get to do it as a superhero is double-trouble awesome.”
Shazam! flies into theaters on April 5, 2019.
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