DCU star Zachary Levi's recent social media postings have led to considerable backlash and controversy out ahead of Shazam! Fury of the Gods' release.
The actor took to social media just days after the Shazam 2's second full trailer made its debut and amidst Warner Bros. ramping up promotion for the DC sequel.
While Levi's postings have nothing to do with the DCU or his upcoming film, the topic, his statement, and what it may mean about this position, are certainly divisive.
In response to a Tweet from self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist Lyndon Wood who asked whether the major pharmaceutical company Pfizer is a threat to the world, Levi responded with the following:
As Pfizer developed a COVID-19 vaccine alongside BioNTech and Fosun Pharmaceutical, many online questioned if Levi's response stemmed from an anti-vax sentiment.
Lyndon Wood, the account Levi quote tweeted, is an outspoken ant-vaxxer. Whether Levi knows this or not is unknown, but it is also worth noting that Zachary Levi follows other anti-vaxxers on Twitter, including Jordan Peterson and Steven Crowder.
The Shazam star then followed up his original post by retweeting a release from U.S. Justice Department concerning a healthcare fraud settlement involving Pfizer, saying:
"Just one example of what I’m referring to…"
In response to the DC actor's online activity, industry critic Grace Randolph asked the question of whether Levi is "talking about Pfizer wanting to raise the price of the vaccine" or just "a vaccine denier:"
"The #DC curse continues
Is Zachary Levi talking about Pfizer wanting to raise the price of the vaccine to $110-$130?
Or is he a vaccine denier.
He'd better clarify soon.... and it better be the first one."
Another reaction from industry critic, Zoë Rose Bryant, illustrated why Levi's posts are likely to cause problems for Shazam 2, as a majority will believe that he's "an anti-vaxxer:"
"Zachary Levi being an anti-vaxxer gives me an actual reason to be a SHAZAM hater now, thank you"
@JesseHawken made reference to DC's ongoing problem with its controversial leads and how that affects film promotion in posting:
"Ezra Miller: 'I'm going to make it impossible to promote my new DC movie' Zachary Levi: 'Hold my beer'"
In a humorous tweet, @BrndnStrssng also highlighted the problems Levi's social media activity is likely to make for the Shazam! team, especially since the actor is trending on Twitter for all the worst reasons:
"Hey guys! Today’s my first day as head of Zachary Levi’s PR! I’m so excited to see what new opportunities this’ll bring, gonna take a big sip of my coffee here and head on over to his Twitter page and see what he’s up to"
Hours after Zachary Levi's initial social media post, the actor shared on Instagram that his father had recently passed away from cancer.
While Pfizer has an oncology branch, the actor made no mention of the pharmaceutical giant in this post, nor did he draw any connections his previous social media activity.
Will the Shazam Star Set the Record Straight?
As of now, Zachary Levi hasn't said whether he's anti-vax.
While it's a possibility, it's equally possible that he has taken issue with the company for other reasons, some of which may or may not be personal.
While Levi's Shazam is part of the DCU, several MCU stars have also sparked their own social media controversies due to their stances on vaccines.
In January of 2022, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania's Evangeline Lilly posted a series of photos and statements about "bodily sovereignty" in terms of the vaccine.
Also, in late 2020, Letitia Wright deleted her Twitter account a day after posting a controversial video, and rumors of her anti-vax stance followed the actress through production of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Just how Zachary Levi will handle this firestorm remains to be seen, but the timing adds an additional wrinkle to his story.
At the moment, DC Studios' James Gunn and Peter Safran have yet to confirm whether Levi's Shazam will continue in the rebooted DCU.
And, again, Shazam 2 is in the midst of its marketing campaign as the film is set to arrive in theaters in March.
As promotion continues, audiences are likely to be reminded of Levi and the controversy as opposed to the film itself, which could hurt the sequel's box office performance.
It may also hurt the actor's odds of continuing on under the DC brand.
It will be interesting to see if the actor or Warner Bros. responds in the days to come; and if not, how these recent developments impact the perception of Fury of the Gods.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods arrives in theaters on March 17.