There have been a couple of actors in the film industry who’ve starred in both Marvel films as well as DC projects. Zachary Levi is one of them. But when he was first recruited for Marvel’s Thor franchise, Levi wondered if his casting would cause onset tension.
Why Zachary Levi once thought the ‘Thor: The Dark World’ cast might have ill will towards him
Years before Shazam, Levi was all set to play another comic book character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fandral was a minor character in the Thor films who was close with Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. He was a part of a group of Asgardian warriors titled The Warriors Three.
Levi was originally going to play Fandral in the first Thor film. But at the time, he was too busy with his TV series Chuck to commit to the film role. The character would later go to actor Josh Dallas.
Ironically, however, when Dallas was asked to reprise his role as Fandral in Thor: The Dark World, he was too busy. Dallas was cast in the television series Once Upon A Time, and couldn’t break his commitment with the show for the Thor sequel. But this time Levi was available and would end up portraying Fandral for the remainder of the character’s run. Still, Levi feared the original Thor cast might hold a slight grudge against him after replacing Dallas.
“I was nervous about coming in and having any ill-will if there was going to be any from any of the rest of the cast, knowing that Josh had played Fandral in the first film,” Levi once said in an interview with The Suburban Mom.
Levi shared that there were some cast members who were unaware that he would be replacing Dallas. Fortunately, Levi’s nerves were quickly put to rest partially thanks to Tom Hiddleston.
“And then one of the first days on set Tom gave me a big hug and said, ‘Welcome, glad you were finally able to come and do this.’ I felt that love from everybody, so no I wasn’t nervous beyond that,” Levi remembered.
Zachary Levi was disappointed in his role as Fandral
Levi was already well-versed in Marvel mythology as he grew up being a fan of the comics. So when he saw the first Thor, he expressed disappointment with how Fandral and the Warriors Three were utilized. When asked to play Fandral in the sequel, Levi wanted to make sure that the Warriors Three would be handled better.
Marvel reassured Levi that both Fandral and the rest of the Warriors Three would be used more in Thor: The Dark World. But the Asgardian soldiers were given even less to do in the sequels than in the first film. As grateful as Levi was for starring in a Marvel film, he would’ve enjoyed having a more substantial role.
“I got to be in the Marvel Universe and play a really kinda fun, interesting, different kinda character, and that ultimately Kenneth Branagh believed in me enough to cast me in the first one… that’s very cool,” he said according to The Direct. “I also didn’t have that much to do, ya know? And really, nothing to do in the third one… I knew I was going to die in the third one. I didn’t know I was going to die, having said nothing. Even the few words they gave me were going to be taken away.”
Zachary Levi credited his ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ audition for helping him land ‘Shazam’
Thor wasn’t the only Marvel movie that Levi tried out for. Levi also tried entering the franchise as the Guardians of the Galaxy hero Peter Quill.
“James [Gunn] and I knew each other, we were friends, we would have game nights at each other’s homes, had a lot of mutual friends. And so he had asked me to come in and read for Star-Lord, and I did, and then that led to the next step, and then all of a sudden I was camera testing,” Levi said in an interview with The Playlist.
It was a role that he’d end up losing to current Marvel hero Chris Pratt. Still, Levi’s efforts weren’t in vain. He felt his Guardians audition helped him land one of his biggest roles in Shazam. Gunn was good friends with Shazam producer Peter Safran, and put in a good word for Levi.
“Fortunately, I was in good standing with James, I try to be in good standing with as many people as I can be and try to be a decent person, and I think between that and how well James thought I did in the Star-Lord test, he said, ‘Yeah man, you really should give Zach an opportunity at this. I really think he could be great,’” Levi recalled. “Was that the thing that sent it all over for me? I don’t know that, but I’m sure it was part of that conversation, absolutely. I’m indebted to James that he would believe in me enough to remember that and pass that info on.”
The Dark World’ Castmates Might Have Ill Will Towards Him
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