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EXCLUSIVE: JOHN CENA WILL NOT ENTER DC'S CINEMATIC UNIVERSE (YET)

By Mike Johnson on 2017-10-02 14:32:00

While John Cena has put together a string of feature film projects that will keep him away from WWE, one has eluded him, PWInsider.com has learned.

Although Cena had been rumored by film websites to be the front-runner to play DC Comics superhero Shazam! in the planned feature film that will bring the character to the cinematic screen, he will not play the role.  PWInsider.com has learned from a well placed source that Cena met with the film's director David F. Sandberg last month but is not one of the final names in the running for the film.

The character of Shazam! (formerly known as Captain Marvel) is a superhero who is actually a young teenage boy named Billy Batson.  Given the power of the Gods by a wizard of the same name, when Batston speaks the word Shazam!, he is turned into a super-powered adult.  Think Tom Hanks' Big with super-powers. 

Created in 1939 by Fawcett Comics, Captain Marvel became some popular, so quickly that the character actually threatened Superman's popularity. Superman publisher DC Comics sued over copyright infringement, leading to Fawcett shuttering the comic.  DC eventually purchased the entire Fawcett Line of comics and folded them into their own company and history, bringing the character back from obscurity.  In 2011, DC re-named the character "Shazam!" to prevent confusion with Marvel Comic's own, unrelated Captain Marvel character.

The Shazam! film was originally slated for 2016 as part of the DC Comics Cinematic Universe plan featuring connected characters and films, in Warner Bros.' attempt to play catch-up to the more successful Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The film has been pushed back a number of times.  It is now expected to film in 2019.  

The Rock had been attached to play villain Black Adam in the film, although more recent reports have indicated that while Rock will play the character, it will not appear in the first Shazam! film.  

Cena will be seen, however, in a number of upcoming films including Transformers: Bumblee, Universal comedy The Pact, Daddy's Home 2,  and an as-of-yet untitled buddy cop comedy film that will also star comedian Kumail Nanjiani.  Cena will also voice the lead character in the forthcoming animated film Ferdinand.

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