Movie Reviews

James Gunn Responds To Shazam Star's Potentially Anti-Vax Tweet

Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Zachary Levi has posted a tweet sharing anti-vax sentiments and his new boss, James Gunn, has responded. Levi originally rose to prominence as the title character in the espionage comedy Chuck, which ran on NBC from 2007 to 2012. During that period he also voiced the iconic rogue Flynn Rider in Disney’s Tangled. His first foray into superhero filmmaking was playing Fandral in the Thor sequels Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok, though he took center stage playing the title role in the DC Universe outing Shazam! in 2019, a role he will reprise in Shazam! Fury of the Gods when it hits theaters on March 17.

Over the weekend, on Twitter, Levi quote tweeted a post asking if people agree that Pfizer is a real danger to the world. The popular DCU star responded by saying “Hardcore agree,” which has been interpreted as an overall anti-vax sentiment. Since then, many outraged fans have shared their disappointment with the actor’s statement, including one who joked about becoming Levi’s new PR agent only to presumably become quickly disillusioned with the job. The next morning, Levi shared another Tweet with a link to a 2009 DOJ report about Pfizer’s fraudulent marketing, though he did not clarify his original statement any further. Now, in light of Gunn’s unveiling of his DC plans, the director also responded to Levi’s tweets. Check out the original post, his follow-up, and Gunn’s response (via Variety) below:

Related: Why Shazam’s Suit Is Black In Fury of the Gods (Is He Black Adam?!)

Celebrities who share anti-vax sentiments, a list that also includes Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s Letitia Wright and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s Evangeline Lilly, have become lightning rods for controversy in the pandemic era. This is due to several factors, including the ongoing debate about vaccines that have seized the American public as they try to figure out what life looks like three years into a world beset with COVID-19. While opinions vary drastically on the subject, a star on a big project’s refusal to vaccinate can be perceived as a lack of consideration for their co-stars and crew, who would also be protected by their immunization against the virus.

Levi’s statement about Pfizer has also been compounded by past comments that the Shazam! Fury of the Gods star has made. A recording of the actor’s appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast where he praised controversial author Jordan Peterson and appeared not to correct a misgendering of trans actor Elliot Page has surfaced in light of Levi’s original tweet. While a faction of his fanbase disagrees with the overall pattern of behavior this seems to represent on behalf of Levi, there are also concerns that such public expressions of controversial sentiments of behavior will be a wrench in the works when it comes to a potential Shazam! 3 being developed.

So far, the Shazam! Fury of the Gods star’s future with the DCU has seemed reasonably optimistic. While other projects have been retooled or canceled, the Shazam! sequel has been quietly waiting in the wings without being touched, though it was delayed several times to accommodate for other delays on Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Given its lack of major connections to the DCU at large, it seemed like the franchise might be safe under Gunn and Safran’s new regime, though if this controversy continues to brew or the film performs below expectations at the box office, one or both of those factors may put the future of Shazam! in peril.

More: Shazam! Is The Easiest Movie For James Gunn’s DCU To Keep

Source: Various (see above)

Back to top button