In an alternate universe, maybe fans are talking about Mark Strong's Sinestro as one of the best villains in comic book movie history. That was the idea, at least, behind casting the actor in Martin Campbell's 2011 Green Lantern movie. It was a smaller role, but he was intended to be a full-blown evil mastermind in the sequel. Unfortunately, that never panned out - but Strong sees his new role in Warner Bros.' Shazam! as a chance to rewrite history.
"I was Sinestro in Green Lantern, which I thought was a rather good film but it didn't do what they wanted. So I feel like I've got unfinished business in the DC world," Strong said at a recent premiere. "I played a pretty evil character in that and he was meant to get even worse in the second one but that never happened, but I think I'm going to get the chance to do that in Shazam! I hope so."
Strong is playing Doctor Sivana, one of Shazam's biggest enemies in the comics (who is not a "evil sorcerer who regenerates from death with world domination on his mind", as was falsely claimed by a new report). He'll also be the primary nemesis in the new film, and Strong is currently training to battle the age-shifting hero (who'll be played by Zachary Levi and Asher Angel).
"I've been training like a mad man," Strong continues. "I'm about to go over and see the stunt guys. I've been trying all of these harnesses on and I think I'm going to be doing lots of flying around and firing electricity out of my hands."
He describes the film, which follows the comics story of a young boy who can change himself into an adult superhero by saying the word "Shazam", as having elements of Big, Stranger Things and Superman.
Strong as Sinestro. Image: Warner Bros.
And while Sivana isn't as well-known a DC foe as Sinestro is, if director David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) makes the kind of film fans are anticipating, Strong will surely make up for not being able to give us more of that earlier character.
Shazam! is scheduled for US release 5 April 2019.