Mark Strong confirmed that he will not be returning to reprise his role as Dr. Sivana for Shazam! Fury of the Gods. In the original, Strong’s Sivana became a host for the Seven Deadly Sins and attempted to steal Billy Batson’s powers for himself.
Directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam 2 stars Zachary Levi and Asher Angel as Billy Batson/Shazam. Franchise newcomers Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren, and Rachel Zegler were cast to play the titular villains. The sequel is facing high expectations considering 2019’s Shazam! earned rave reviews from critics and grossed $365 million worldwide.
Despite being approached by the villainous caterpillar Mister Mind in Shazam’s post-credits sequence, Strong's villainous Dr. Sivana will not be featured in the upcoming sequel. “I literally spoke to the producer last night, because I saw that Zach Levi tweeted that they’re about to start shooting in Atlanta,” said Strong to Den of Geek before adding, "what’s happened is, I think Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu and perhaps someone else — they’ve got some female villains in. And to be honest with you, I’m very happy to take a back seat to some female villains and let them have a go.” The actor added that he would love to return to the franchise because his character has unfinished business with Mister Mind, who proposed the two form an alliance that could still play out in sequels beyond the second installment.
The highly anticipated Shazam sequel started filming earlier this month and will premiere in 2023. Like many projects over the past year, production was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing the sequel's release date, initially intended for April 2022, to be postponed on multiple occasions before Warner Bros. settled on June of the following year. While details on the film’s plot have yet to be released, Sandberg jokingly leaked Shazam 2's ending on Reddit. The post saw an unknown person entering Sandberg’s office and reading the very last page of the film’s “script.” The fake script teased the fact that Billy is a member of the Justice League in the DC comics and mocked Groot’s signature catchphrase “I am Groot” in the Guardians of the Galaxy films.
Strong will next be seen alongside Emma Thompson and Emma Stone in Dinsey’s Cruella. The live-action prequel to 101 Dalmatians is set in 1970s London and offers a re-imaged origin story for the iconic Dalmatian hoarding thief. Cruella, which has drawn numerous comparisons to Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, follows a young grifter (Stone) who embraces her mischievous side after she meets fashion legend Baroness von Hellman (Thompson). Glenn Close notably played Cruella in the 1996 and 2002 live-action films.
I, Tonya’s Craig Gillespie directed the film, while Dana Fox (What Happens In Vegas) and Tony McNamara (The Favourite) penned the screenplay. Disney announced that Cruella would drop simultaneously in theatres and on Disney Plus with Premier Access this May.
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