Warning: This post contains spoilers for Shazam! Fury of the Gods!
Mary Marvel was recast for Shazam! Fury of the Gods, creating an unnecessary plot hole that was easily fixable. The Shazam! sequel has been at the center of fandom discourse recently, albeit not for wholly positive reasons. Unfortunately, Shazam! Fury of the Gods has suffered at the box office. Fingers are being pointed in all directions, including at Black Adam’s Dwayne Johnson for supposedly restricting any connective tissue between the two projects despite Black Adam being Shazam’s greatest nemesis. In truth, there is no one reason to explain Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ poor box office performance.
It may not be able to escape the DCEU’s problem-laden legacy, but Shazam! Fury of the Gods still has its fair share of entertaining and endearing moments. A big crux of the film’s emotional narrative centers around Billy turning 18 and thinking his loving foster family will throw him out. He has a heartfelt conversation about this topic with his big sister, Mary, played by Grace Caroline Currey. While all of Billy’s sibling share Shazam’s great powers, Mary, in particular, best emulates the quintessential Wisdom of Solomon. Nevertheless, a change to Mary between the two movies may seem like an odd continuity issue.
Why Was Mary Marvel Recast In Shazam! 2?
When Billy imparts his powers onto his siblings in Shazam! to help him fight the Seven Deadly Sins and Sivana, they all get their own adult counterparts, too. Michelle Borth becomes Mary Marvel and joins the fight. However, in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, while the other adult actors carry over, Borth doesn’t, and Grace Caroline Curry does double duty as both versions of Mary. There is likely no nefarious or dramatic reason why Mary Marvel was recast, and it may just boil down to movie-making logistics. Simply, Borth just might not have been available to or interested in returning for Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
Regardless, this change actually makes sense given Mary’s history in the comics. Compared to Billy and her siblings, when Mary empowered herself by saying “Shazam!” her form wouldn’t traditionally change. However, it was in the New 52 DC reboot, which was a major inspiration for Shazam!, that she also adopted an adult form. It’s interesting to consider what course the new DC Universe will take in this regard, but if Shazam is part of James Gunn and Peter Safran’s grand plan, then they may go with her traditional depiction like Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
Furthermore, it’s possible that the old DCU made the change to set up Mary for bigger things further down the line. In the comics, Mary does struggle with her powers differently than Shazam. In fact, at times, she’s become evil, whether because she gained Black Adam’s powers and personal approach to justice in Countdown or because she was being controlled by Darkseid in Final Crisis. Regardless, if the Shazam family does return now, it’s likely to be in a much different capacity.
Shazam! 2’s Mary Marvel Recast Eliminates Her Secret Identity
It might seem simple and inconsequential, but Mary Marvel’s recast does impact important elements of Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ story. Essentially, while her siblings can enjoy their life in the limelight as superheroes – something Freddy is definitely embracing as Captain Every Power – she is not in the same boat. She doesn’t have a secret identity anymore; she doesn’t have a face covering or disguise her voice to protect her normal life. Therefore, there’s no excuse for her parents not recognizing her. Their discovery of their kids’ heroic antics was a big moment for the film, but this change created a plot hole.
It’s not major, nor does it derail the film overall. Yet, it does lessen the moment’s humor when they run into their parents’ room getting chased by Ladon. What makes it worse is that it was entirely preventable. All it required was a simple line or two explaining why Mary doesn’t want to be on camera after their job is done to maintain her secret identity. In doing so, they actually could’ve better developed Mary’s role as she could begin to struggle with what sets her apart from her siblings. It may no longer matter, though, as Mary’s DCU future after Shazam! Fury of the Gods is unclear.
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