According to The Wrap, Ron Cephas Jones will be playing the Wizard in the upcoming DC Extended Universe movie Shazam.
Jones is perhaps best known for his role in This is Us, where he plays William “Shakespeare” Hill, the birth father of one of the main characters, Randall Pearson (played by Sterling K. Brown). The part earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He has also appeared in The Get Down and Mr.
Shazam will be a bit of a change from those prestige dramas, though it certainly has its moments. The film will be about Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel of Andi Mack), an orphaned teenager who is given the power to change into an adult superhero (played by Zachary Levi of Tangled and Marvel’s Thor movies). Jones will be playing the wizard who gives Billy his powers and serves as a mentor to the young hero.
Technically, Jones will be the film’s title character; the Wizard is named “Shazam,” and Billy calls out his name to transform from one form to another. (Hence why Billy refers to him as “the Wizard”—otherwise he would transform whenever he mentioned him.) It is also an acronym for the six legendary figures from whom Billy’s superpowers derive: Solomon, who grants wisdom; Hercules, who grants strength; Atlas, who grants stamina; Zeus, who grants power (notably lightning); Achilles, who grants bravery; and Mercury, who grants speed.
To add to this confusion, Billy is likely to use “Shazam” as his superhero name, though traditionally he called himself “Captain Marvel” in the comics. (Marvel Comics has a copyright on the name.)
Jones is an African-American actor. In the comics, Shazam has traditionally been portrayed as your typical Caucasian wizard with a long white beard, despite his backstory saying that he is an ancient Canaanite. The New 52 gave him a darker skin tone while also making him an Aborigine thunder god; if the film chooses to address his ethnicity, Jones could probably pass for either.
In the New 52, the Wizard chose Billy as his Champion somewhat at random, while usually he is selected for his exceedingly pure heart. It will be interesting to see the character’s role in the film.