Zachary Levi: As a fan, I’d love to see a Justice League – Avengers crossover
The actor said representation in film and superhero movies was vital
A week after DC’s latest superhero movie, Shazam!, hit theatres in the UAE and worldwide, we interview Zachary Levi at the Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai. Here’s what he had to say about representation in superhero films, seeing smaller name heroes getting their fair share of cinema releases, and why a Marvel – DC crossover might never happen, but would be great to see.
On representation in superhero films
“Film as a medium is an incredible opportunity to tell everyone’s stories," Levi says. "If we’re not telling everyone’s stories, we’re doing a disservice to all of us.”
Empathy, he says, is the most important thing in the world, as is representation: when people see themselves represented on the screen, they feel uplifted and inspired. In this case, Levi was glad to see people with disabilities and foster children represented in the storyline.
For him, personally, it was a privilege to portray a character like Shazam!, he says. Mostly, because it allowed him to become the superhero his 14-year-old self always wanted to be.
On seeing more obscure comic book characters given their own films
“Comic books and comic book movies were not mainstream for the longest time," Levi says. "People were familiar with characters like Batman and Superman, but it wasn’t until Bryan Singer’s X-Men came out that we saw a big-budget comic book adaptation that had main characters not everyone knew.
“With Richard Donner’s Superman, we saw popularity rise, then it trickled off. Then came Tim Burton’s Batman, which also saw popularity rise, before trickling off, too.” What X-Men did for the superhero film genre, Levi says, was build enough momentum that was then carried on by Sam Raimi’s Spiderman films, culminating in Iron-Man getting his own film.
“Iron-Man, probably, was the beginning of pop culture admitting it was cool to like comic book movies," Levi adds. At the time, superheroes like Captain America and Hulk were much more well known, but Marvel took a chance with lesser-known Iron-Man – and it paid off.
“We’ve gotten to a point where everyone’s completely embraced comic book movies ... All of what came before to get to this stage had to happen, so now studios can say: 'we don’t have to bank on a big-name character: let’s go and focus on the storytelling'.”
The unthinkable DC-Marvel crossover
We ask Levi what he thinks about the possibility of us seeing a Marvel-DC crossover event. “Marvel and DC are doing very well on their own, I don’t see them needing to do something that big,” he says. “The two are also owned by massive entities, Disney and Warner Brothers, who would also have to talk about whether or not it’s in their best interest to do that."
When asked about a Justice League – Avengers crossover, like they did in the comic books, Levi said: “I don’t think it would ever happen, but do I want it to happen? Absolutely. The comic book geek in me loved all the crossovers. How insane it would be to see two universes blend together.
“I hope the two entities say 'let’s do this for the fun of it, let’s do this one time and blow people’s minds and blow the box office'."
Updated: April 14, 2019 10:08 AM