|For other uses, see Shazam (disambiguation)|
William Joseph "Billy" Batson, also known as Shazam in his champion form, is an orphan chosen by the wizard Shazam to be his champion, granting him immense power to defend the innocent from evil.
Billy is the son of C.C. and Marilyn Batson. He was born when his mother was seventeen and married the child's father soon after. It was a rocky and brief marriage, C.C. ended up in jail and Marilyn was cut off by her family. She struggled to raise Billy as a single mother in Philadelphia, though she tried to give him all she could.
Searching for His Mother
Becoming an Orphan
Billy was separated from his mother at the Christmas Village. Billy was found by the police and Marilyn decided the foster system could take better care of him than she ever could. She started using her maiden name again and started a new life, never mentioning she had a son.
Billy was raised by the foster systems in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and quickly gained a reputation as a problem child. He ran away, always searching for his real family, and never emotionally attached to any family. His search brought him in problems with the police. He kept searching, looking up all women named Batson in the right age range. It never occurred to him that no one ever came looking for him.
Several years later in 2018, Billy set up a break-in at a pawn shop in order to get the police to arrive. After acting innocent and telling the police, the perpetrators went through the back of the building. The police search the premises and came to find that there was no one there. Once inside, Billy quickly dropped the act and revealed that he set up the whole situation, and then closed the gate to the door, locking the police in.
He then quickly acted innocent again to get into the police car and gain access to the police's computer system. In Billy's notebook, it is shown he's been looking up several different women with the last name "Batson", in hopes of finding his mother. After finding the address to a Batson, he quickly jots down her address and steals the police officer's lunch, after the police begged him not to take it away. Billy made his way to the woman's house, but to his disappointment, he found she is not his mother and is then caught by the same police officer that he fooled earlier.
Meeting the Vasquez Family
After being taken to the foster system again, E. B. Glover informs Billy that his latest foster family doesn't want him back after he disappeared two weeks ago, prior to his incident with the police. Billy states that he has run away from every home within six counties and that he knows his biological mother is out there, and that he has to do all he has to do to find her. E.B. tells him that he shouldn't try to find someone who doesn't want to find him.
She informs him of a couple outside that is eager to take him in, but Billy quickly rejects them, stating he can take care of himself. E.B. reminds him he has to wait till he's 18 to legally be able to live on his own. She encourages him to give them a chance cause they are giving him one, having no other choice, Billy accepts and is taken in by the Vasquezs, who seem like a loving couple to him. He meets Victor and Rosa Vasquez, who reveal they were foster kids themselves and were stubborn like him. On the way to the Vasquez house, they tell him about how the other foster kids they have taken in are expecting him, and are excited to meet him.
Being Chosen as Champion
Arriving at his new home, the Vasquezs introduce Billy to his new siblings: The young but kind and accepting Darla, the eldest Mary, the mostly silent Pedro, the intelligent young Eugene, and finally Freddy Freeman, a fan of the Justice League in particular Superman and superheroes in general. On the first day of school, Freddy is attacked and bullied by the Breyer siblings, Brett and Burke, until Billy comes to his foster brother's defense when one of them insults Freddy for not having a mother. Briefly getting the upper hand on them, Billy then flees, thanks to a distraction from Eugene and makes it to safety onto a subway.
However, while on the subway, Billy was transported to a mysterious cave and is confronted by the Wizard known as Shazam. The Wizard informed Billy that he is his last and only chance to find someone noble and good enough to replace him as champion. Billy is reluctant at first, but eventually is convinced by the Wizard to accept his offer. Saying the Wizard's name, Billy is transformed into an adult and receives Shazam's powers. After the Wizard gave him his powers, he disintegrated in front of him. He was then transported back to where he was.
Confiding in Freddy
Not knowing what to do, Billy decided to go to Freddie for help in figuring out what to do in this predicament. After convincing Freddy that he was indeed Billy, the two worked on figuring out Billy's powers where Billy learned he possessed the ability to generate electricity from his hands. When going to a convenience store to purchase alcohol, Billy and Freddy stumble upon a robbery where they discover that Billy has super strength and invulnerability to gunfire. Shortly after this discovery, Billy easily overpowers them and subdues them. Returning home, Billy and Freddy are discovered by Darla where during trying to explain to her the situation Billy learned he could change back to his child self by saying the words "Shazam".
Over the next few days, Billy and Freddy test more of the formers power while stopping small crimes across town. However, the power quickly began to go to Billy’s head and he ended up abandoning Freddy after promising to show up at school in his adult form to help increase Freddy's popularity. Freddy located Billy, accused Billy of abusing, wasting his powers on juvenile activities, and angrily walked away.
Meeting Thaddeus Sivana
Billy was then confronted by Thaddeus Sivana, a man who once attempted to gain the Wizard’s powers as a child only to be denied who then absorbed the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. Sivana, wanting to take the power of Shazam still decides to do so by force when he punches Billy, who was shocked to have been pained. He punches back only for Sivana to lift him up in the air and drop him, but Billy awakened his power of flight close to impact with the ground, much to his relief.
Freddy noticed Billy fighting in the background, confused with who the villain was. The battle dragged on inside a mall with Billy severely outmatched and still not fully understanding his powers. Sivana finally pinned Billy to the ground, once more asking for the wizard's power. But the latter decided to turn back into his teenage self again, which blinded Sivana with the bolt of lightning briefly, and blended in with the panicked crowd. Freddy was inside the mall looking for Billy and Sivana saw him, remembered his connection to him, and demanded to know where he went.
Finding his Mother
Billy went back to the Vasquez household, where he was confronted by Victor and Rosa. As Victor was furiously lecturing him for his recklessness and Rosa was treating his injuries, the other foster kids were listening idly. Mary saw the news about this new superhero and noticed how he was talking to Freddy and realized that Billy is that superhero. The kids went to Billy about this revelation and told him they knew about his search for his mom as Pedro found the notebook he threw away. Eugene said that he managed to actually locate his mother, who just so happened to live a few blocks down the street. Billy immediately rushed out with the written address and left the household, with Victor and Rosa chasing after him.
When he reached the apartment number, he was scared and uncertain of himself. After he knocked on the door, he had finally met his mother, who initially didn't recognize him. He told her that she was his son that she lost. Upon hearing this, she admitted to Billy that she was not ready to take care of him due to his father being arrested, kicked out of her own home, and being a young mom at the time. She told him that when she lost him that day at the fair, she saw her son with the police officers and decide to leave Billy in their care, saying he could be raised better without her. Billy was extremely shocked and heartbroken upon this revelation and said that he needed to go back to his real family and left her mother with the prize she won for him all those years ago saying she'll need it.
Becoming a Hero
Billy received a phone call from Freddy, which he answered and immediately apologized to him. He realized it was Sivana who managed to use Freddy to track down his foster family and take them hostage and promised to them go if he gave him what he wanted. Billy then went to the roof of the apartment complex where he ran and jumped out of it as he transformed to Shazam and flew back home.
Billy arrived to see Sivana and his family there and willingly abide to his demands. Sivana proceeded to create a spell on one of the doors that transported them to the Rock of Eternity in which the two left the Vasquez household. The two arrived at the site where the seven wizards held counsel as Sivana picked up the Wizard Shazam's staff. He commanded Billy to hold the staff and say the wizard's name as the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man watched them. They were interrupted by Mary, Darla, Pedro, Eugene, and Freddy who used the still active portal and told them to let go of their brother.
Billy managed to strike Sivana and reunited with his siblings and tried to find a way out of the Rock of Eternity. Upon realizing the door Sivana made no longer worked, they came across numerous other doors and tried opening those, only to discover they led to entirely different worlds and locations. Billy, trying to see if he can teleport them himself, ended up bringing them to a strip club in Philadelphia he and Freddy once went to. Billy transformed back and decided that he and his siblings should hide at the Christmas Village, but Sivana noted his location from the summoned lighting bolt. He arrived at the scene and called out Billy for being a coward for jeopardizing the lives of everyone at this event, and demanded he showed himself. Although his family warned against this, he replied that he needed to protect the ones most important to him and confronted Sivana as Shazam.
Unfortunately, their fight was cut short as Sivana unleashed the Sins to round his siblings and used them as hostages to force Billy to surrender his powers. As Sivana recalled the Sins, Shazam remembered the wizard telling him to fill the thrones of their "brothers and sisters". Seizing the staff and repelling Sivana with it, Shazam tells his siblings to take hold, and say his name. After saying "Billy", he told them to say "Shazam" instead. By saying "Shazam", a burst of lightning appeared.
Like Billy, Freddy, Mary, Darla, Eugene and Pedro have all now gained the powers of Shazam. Seeing that Sivana is in disbelief, Shazam breaks the staff, leaving Sivana unable to steal the Wizard's powers. While the others face off against six of the Sins, Sivana and Billy have their second fight, racing through the city to try and best one another. In a brief pause during their duel, Sivana began threatening Shazam and claiming it would take more than a group of juveniles to save him. However, Shazam playfully ignored him and taunted him for monologuing before lunging at him. They unleashed discharges of energy upon each other, but they were too evenly matched. Realizing this, Shazam had a split-second to contemplate his next move, but it was all his adversary needed to seize him in a chokehold and rocket into the air with him. However, this move would not work a second time: unintimidated, Shazam grabbed his face and the two struggled. Ultimately unable to best Sivana in close combat, he was thrown onto a roof.
Billy takes note that his foster siblings are only facing six of the sins, and mentions the last remaining Sin possessing Sivana's body, the only one still giving him any power: Envy. Insulting Envy, the Sin emerges out of Sivana's body, leaving Sivana completely mortal and holding on for dear life on the edge of the building. Envy attacks Billy, but Billy uses the word Shazam to vaporise Envy into mist, before saying the word again to quickly save a falling Sivana. Billy brings Sivana back to the carnival, and precedes to pull out the Eye of Sin, sucking back in all of the Sins. The Eye then seemingly began tempting Billy with his deepest desire but he reveals he was merely teasing his siblings, having the common sense not to put a demon ball in his eye. Around them, the crowd cheers, and soon after, Billy and the others return to the Rock of Eternity to return the Eye and the Sins. Freddy points out to Billy that they now have a superhero lair.
Living with the Vasquezes
- "Freddy Freeman! This guy taught me everything I know about being a dope superhero! True story. You should get some pointers from him. What's goin' on?! My best bud in the whole world and also new kids that I'm meeting for the first time but seem very cool. Uh, ha. I invited another friend. I hope that's okay."
After their fight with Sivana and the Sins, Billy finally felt like he has found a home, with the Vasquez' and his foster siblings, calling all hands on deck over dinner.
The next day, Billy came to the school cafeteria as Shazam while Mary, Eugene, Pedro and Darla changed their lunch schedules to eat with Freddy and Billy. As Shazam, he impressed the other school kids, telling them that Freddy taught him everything he knows. He also told Freddy he invited a friend. Looking over, Freddy saw Superman standing right next to him, and is shocked that the Man of Steel is actually there.
Initially, Billy seems to be a cynical trouble maker boy who doesn't respect authorities and prefers to be on his own and advising Mary Bromfield to not worry about everybody else and "always look out for number one," even firmly believing that families are "for people who can't take care of themselves"; it is soon shown, however, that Billy's behavior is the result of him being separated from his mother at a very young age and he's spent years trying to reunite with her. Having grown as an orphan, Billy is dismissive of the idea of families, as he ran from multiple foster homes before and when he was adopted by the Vasquezes he had no interest in socializing with any of his foster siblings and didn't consider himself to be part of the family, as he'd rather go back to his real mother. Billy can be reserved and quiet, not interacting with others at school and rejecting any friendship attempts from the Vasquezes. Billy has a rather low opinion of himself, as when the Wizard Shazam chose him as his successor and described him as a "pure soul", Billy disagreed and stated that he was not a good person and even believed that truly pure people didn't exist. Despite his flaws, Billy is an inherently good person, as he was willing to step up for his foster brother, Freddy when the latter was being picked on by bullies, an act that convinced the Wizard that he was the right person to inherit his powers.
Upon obtaining the powers of Shazam, Billy was initially overwhelmed but promptly went to Freddy for advice. Freddy and Billy quickly became best friends over Billy's newfound powers as the two used Shazam for their own entertainment. In his Shazam form, Billy is more optimistic and willing to have fun. Initially, Billy was rather irresponsible with his powers, using them for his own amusement not paying any attention to the consequences of his reckless behavior and not considering Freddy's own opinion of Shazam. It isn't until Thaddeus Sivana attempted to kill Shazam and steal his power that Billy understood that superpowers aren't simple power fantasies and can be dangerous for himself and the others around himself, after which he starts being more responsible with his Shazam powers.
Billy sees some of his own flaws reflected in Thaddeus Sivana, mainly in that both of them were disillusioned by the idea of families and spent their lives obsessively trying to find something believing that it'd fix their all their problems. Billy somewhat empathized with Sivana over their similarities and chose not to let the doctor die and instead depower him.
When Billy is finally reunited with his mother, but learned that she had willingly abandoned him due to him being a teenage pregnancy child, he realized that his obsession to find his mother had made him selfish and that he was hurting those around him by neglecting them. When Sivana held his foster sibling's hostage, who had figured out he was "Captain Sparklefingers", Billy was willing to give up his Shazam powers to protect them. Billy apologized to Freddy over his previous bad behavior and grew to appreciate the rest of Vasquez family, so much that he gave all of them Shazam powers so they could help him defeat Sivana and the Deadly Sins.
Following Sivana's defeat, Billy and his foster siblings resolved to continue being active superheroes and protectors of the Rock of Eternity. As Shazam, he later publicly admitted that he never could have become the superhero that he is without Freddy's mentoring. Billy also went out of his way to get Superman to visit his school in order to fix Freddy's reputation.
Powers and Abilities
Mystical Transformation: After being chosen by the Wizard Shazam as his champion, Billy Batson was granted the ability to transform into the avatar (his "full potential") of the wizard by calling out the latter's name (described by Freddy Freeman as "verbally triggered body-manipulation properties"), which summons a bolt of lightning from the sky and imbues him with all the greatest powers of the gods: the Wisdom of Solomon, the Strength of Hercules, the Stamina of Atlas, the Power of Zeus, the Courage of Achilles, and the Speed of Mercury, with the invocation also being a combination of the first letters in each gods' names. As Shazam, Billy has many powers and abilities, which surpass the capabilities of humans, and most other metahumans, to the point where he was noted by Freddy to have powers almost comparable to that of Superman. Thaddeus Sivana came to recognize Shazam as "the Chosen One," a "perfect man," "pure of heart," and "flawless in every way."
Wisdom of Solomon
- Genius-Level Intellect: While Shazam is initially inexperienced in using this ability, he began to tap into it during his final battle with Sivana and the Seven Sins - the Wisdom of Solomon allowed Shazam to simultaneously come up with a way to permanently keep his power from Thaddeus Sivana, and even the battlefield against the Sins, using the Wizard's staff to transform his foster siblings into the Shazam Family, after which he broke the staff, while also allowing Shazam to see how Sivana was being exploited by the Seven Sins, and to trick Envy into exiting Sivana's body to attack Shazam directly, thus stripping Sivana of the latter's powers. Solomon's Wisdom also makes Shazam an amateur strategist, as he used the wizard's name to summon lightning to not only distract Sivana so he could escape into a crowd, but also to use the name as a weapon to strike the Seven Deadly Sins. Even without the Wisdom of Solomon, Billy is still quite intelligent on his own, as witnessed when he came up with and executed a plan to get access to the police database, with his intellect mainly extending to his thieving and combat skills.
Strength of Hercules
- Superhuman Strength: With the strength of Hercules, Shazam has incredible superhuman strength, able to easily lift people single-handedly and send them flying, and punch through concrete pillars. He is also able to lift vehicles off the ground, such as the Breyer brothers' pickup truck and even a 13.75-ton bus, and push a heavy barrel away with a flick of his finger. When discovering what powers he had, Billy was able to jump into the air in an attempt to fly, launching himself ten feet over a skateboard halfpipe ramp. However, he can jump even higher, noted by Freddy Freeman to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (much like Superman). Indeed, Shazam's strength is such, that the only times he is ever seen straining are when he battles equally strong opponents (like the empowered Sivana), or when he slowly pulls a magical sphere containing the Seven Sins from Sivana's eye. His strength was further exhibited when he distributed it among his foster family, with Freddy being able to carry two people at once and Pedro Peña being able to support the weight of a Ferris wheel. Although it wasn't shown on-screen, Shazam was able to throw a football into space, which Freddy videoed and posted, according to students of Fawcett Central School.
Stamina of Atlas
- Superhuman Stamina: With the stamina of Atlas, Shazam is capable of not growing tired despite running incredibly fast and flying through the air even for a long period of time. He is also able to take multiple hits from Sivana and continue fighting without needing a break.
Power of Zeus
- Electrokinesis: With the power of Zeus, Shazam can generate and project electricity. When first discovering his powers as Shazam, Billy was able to instantly charge people's cellphones with single respective bolts of energy. Shazam can also use his lightning to make electronic devices short out, like vending machines. At full power, Shazam's lightning rivaled that of empowered Sivana. In addition to being extremely powerful, this ability was also extremely precise, with Shazam even able to shoot up consecutive lightning bolts, while generating specific sound waves (which he formed into the music from the "Eye of the Tiger."
- Teleportation: As the Champion of the Wizard Shazam, Shazam can exit the Rock of Eternity by mentally concentrating on another location of his choice. This way, Shazam was able to teleport himself and his foster siblings from the Rock into a Philadelphia strip club.
- Flight: Shazam is able to manipulate his own gravitational field to levitate or fly. He can fly at great speeds and be able to keep pace with Thaddeus Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins.
Courage of Achilles
- Nigh-Invulnerability: With the courage of Achilles, Shazam's body is virtually invulnerable to most forms of harm, even warning Doctor Sivana that he is "basically invincible." Freddy Freeman shattered a wooden baseball bat over his chest, he emerged unscathed from a wooden box that Freddy had doused in gasoline and ignited, repeated crashes into cars left him unscathed, he survived being thrown through multiple skyscrapers and asphalt, and bullets bounced off of Shazam on impact, even his face (only slightly "tickling" him). However, Doctor Sivana (when empowered by the Seven Sins to the point that his strength was on par with Shazam's) was able to hit and choke Shazam hard enough to hurt the latter, and gave Shazam a nosebleed with a punch. However, Shazam ultimately survived repeated beatings from Sivana and the Seven Sins with minimal injuries. Sivana noted that magical beings at their level can only be harmed by one of their own.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: While his full healing capabilities were never fully demonstrated, Shazam was able to heal the injury the empowered Sivana inflicted to him within a few minutes.
- Fire Immunity: Shazam is resilient to heat and fire, as he survived being set on fire by Freddy.
Speed of Mercury
- Superhuman Speed: With the speed of Mercury, Shazam can move at speeds only perceptible to humans as yellow streaks of light, thus being able to knock a criminal down before the latter even knew what happened in under a second, to rapidly rush over to Darla Dudley's bedside and prevent her from yelling by swiftly covering her mouth, to save Mary Bromfield from being run over, and to quickly disarm a robber. Nonetheless, Shazam initially had trouble keeping up with equally fast opponents, like the empowered Sivana, but he adjusted fairly quickly, rivaling the speed of Sivana's attacks in their subsequent fights, and ultimately outpacing some of the Seven Sins. However, he isn't as fast as the Flash, Superman or his sister Darla. A less impressive but still noteworthy feat is when he defeated Freddy Freeman in Mortal Kombat by applying his lightning-fast thumbs on a controller.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Due to his super speed, Shazam is able to dodge attacks and move around different objects with ease. He quickly reacted to a gun being pointed in his face and caught a punch from Thaddeus Sivana.
- Keen Intellect: Even without the Wisdom of Solomon, Billy is quite intelligent on his own - he once came up with and executed a plan to get access to the police database, which worked perfectly.
- Expert Thief: Billy Batson, due to living on his own for most of his life, has become an immensely skilled thief, able to break into cars without triggering alarms.
- Combatant: Billy Batson is a fairly capable combatant in both human and Shazam form, able to take down two bullies harassing Freddy Freeman in moments using Freeman's crutch in his human form. In his Shazam form, Billy uses his powers to swiftly overpower opponents, though his combat skills were noticeably inferior to those of Doctor Sivana, who (while empowered by the Seven Sins) rather quickly overpowered Shazam in their first battle. Nonetheless, Shazam managed to adjust and battled more evenly against the empowered Sivana in their subsequent fights, and personally defeated several of the Seven Sins.
- Indomitable Will: Billy Batson has immense willpower and determination, being pure of heart, enough to brave extremely difficult or dangerous situations and overcome strong emotional attachments when neccessary. Hence, he tirelessly searched for his mother's whereabouts for approximately eleven years since their separation, having ran away from twenty-three foster homes across six counties and being willing to break the law on numerous occasions, without ever seeming to lose hope in his pursuit. He also stood up for Freddy Freeman when the latter was being picked on by two bullies, albeit he only did this when the Breyer brothers hit close to home by insulting Freeman for not having his mother present. After the wizard bestowed unto him his divine powers, Billy interfered in an armed robbery at a convenience store even before he learned he could not be harmed by natural means. While he was initially afraid of Sivana, even attempting to flee from the latter upon their first encounter, Billy ultimately overcame his fear of the formidable doctor and later stood up for his foster siblings after realizing that his mother did not want him, even going so far as to offer himself to Sivana in order to protect them. At the carnival, he volunteered to take on Sivana single-handedly while his empowered foster siblings fought the Sins and persisted defiantly against the supervillain until he eventually managed to gain the upper hand. Indeed, Billy showcased his incorruptible willpower by resisting the allure of the Eye of Sin without being slightly tempted (merely pretending to be enticed by it), despite generations of chosen individuals having failed to do so when tested by the wizard Shazam.
- Batarang: Billy used a replica Batarang to attack and briefly stun Thaddeus Sivana during a fight to protect his foster siblings.
- Magic Staff: Originally belonging to Shazam the Wizard, Billy took the staff from Thaddeus Sivana and used it to empower his foster siblings with the power of the gods to help him fight Sivana and the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. Billy then broke the staff to prevent it from being used in the wrong hands.
- "Dope! My brother, I applaud your choices today. Gold shoes, gold belt, white cape. It shouldn't work, but hot damn, it does!"
- ―Subway Rider[src]
- Shazam's Suit: When empowered as Shazam, Billy wears red bodysuit with a lightning bolt emblazoned on his chest just like the Wizard had, and a hooded white cape with gold trims.
Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes
- Shazam's original name was "Captain Marvel", but it was later changed to "Shazam" due to trademark disputes with the Marvel Comics characters of the same name.
- Due to this change, the superhero team known collectively as the Marvel Family was renamed the Shazam Family.
- Shazam, or Billy Batson, continues the ongoing trope of orphaned superheroes in DC's long lineup.
- In DC Comics, Shazam is the name of the wizard who gave Billy his powers.
- The name 'Shazam' is an acronym of the ancient gods and historical figures who Billy Batson derives his heroic attributes from when in his adult form:
- Dwayne Johnson wanted Armie Hammer to play Shazam.
- Jake McDorman, Parker Young, Joshua Sasse, Derek Theler, and John Cena were the front runners for Shazam before the part went to Zachary Levi.
- His nickname Zap-tain America is a reference to Captain America, a superhero in the Marvel Comics.
- Most of his unofficial nicknames are after his Electrokinesis power.
- Kim Fardy and Ryan Handley were stunt doubles for Zachary Levi in the role of Shazam.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 Gayden, Henry, Lemke, Darren (writer) & Sandberg, David F. (director) (April 5, 2019). Shazam!.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Shazam!: The Junior Novel
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Shazam!: Becoming Shazam
- ↑ Shazam!: A Shazam Showdown
- ↑ "Dwayne Johnson Wants Armie Hammer to Play Shazam in the DCEU" - Collider
- ↑ "DC's 'Shazam!' to Star Zachary Levi (Exclusive)" - The Hollywood Reporter