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James Gunn Fought With Marvel to Star Zachary Levi as ‘Star Lord’ Played by Chris Pratt: “James stumped for me”

James Gunn Fought With Marvel to Star Zachary Levi as 'Star Lord' Played by Chris Pratt: "James stumped for me"

Zachary Levi has become a known figure in the realm of superheroes through his performance in 2019’s Shazam, which became one of the highest-rated movies in the DCEU. Although the actor’s future in the new DCU is still uncertain and might depend on the performance of Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

However, even before becoming DC’s Shazam, it seems that the actor was initially considered for the role of Star-Lord, following his long friendship with James Gunn. And it appears that The Suicide Squad director was the reason why the actor got the opportunity to play the role of Shazam.

Also read Shazam 2 Star Zachary Levi Regrets He Never Got to Fight Black Adam After Dwayne Johnson Forced DC for Henry Cavill Superman Showdown: “A lot of fans wanted that”

Zachary Levi in Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Zachary Levi in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Zachary Levi was considered for the role of Star-Lord in MCU

Before acquiring the role of Shazam in the DC universe, Zachary Levi almost made his superhero debut in MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The Tangled actor expressed that following his long friendship with James Gunn, The Suicide Squad director urged him to audition for the role of Star-Lord. The actor explained that his screen test went well and was hoping to land the role in the MCU. He said,

“Listen, I’ve known Peter [Safran] now for years because he’s my producer on Shazam! and I’ve known James Gunn for even more years. We have mutual friends and we’ve had game nights together in LA. I’ve been at a Christmas party of his and almost was Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Despite giving a great performance in the audition, the Shazam star eventually fell short, as Chris Pratt was the favorite for the role to begin with. However, Levi’s audition didn’t go in vain, as Gunn would later fight for the actor to find his footing in the DC universe.

Also read: “I don’t think it would’ve been interesting”: Shazam 2 Director Disses Dwayne Johnson for Refusing to Fight Zachary Levi, Claims Movie Works Without $800M Black Adam Actor

James Gunn and Chris Pratt
James Gunn and Chris Pratt

James Gunn helped Zachary Levi to get the role of Shazam

Even though Zachary Levi failed to grasp the role of Star-Lord in the MCU, he did leave a pretty good impression on Gunn through his audition for the role. As The Suicide Squad director would later recommend Levi to Safran for the role of Shazam and the actor would eventually land the role of Billy Batson in the DC universe. He said,

“He, James, stumped for me, fought for me when Peter asked him about me. ‘Hey, what do you think of Zach because we’re thinking about him for Shazam?’ James was like, ‘Yes, go get that guy, he could really go crush that.'”

Also read: “It was supposed to be other characters”: Shazam 2 Director Reveals WB Squashed His Original Vision After Refusing Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck Cameos in Sequel

Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Shazam! Fury of the Gods

With the DCEU finally coming to its end after its struggling run, it will be interesting to see how many actors from the previous universe can make their jump into the new one. But considering that Zachary Levi has always been on good terms with Gunn and Safran, it’s reasonable to assume that the actor might have a safe future in the new DCU.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is currently playing in theatres.


Written by Santanu Roy

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with Batman and The Everly Brothers. Apart from pursuing animation and analyzing movies, he possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a content writer at Fandomwire with over 500 articles.