Novice Writer Picks Up the Pen and Yells ‘Shazam!’


After getting a little tired of discussing this forever-not-being-made movie with some acquaintances, I’ve held off on posting any news about it because it all seems to lead to heartbreak. Lightning-bolt-chested heartbreak. But with the most recent news that Bill Birch has been hired to write the screenplay for the Captain Marvel movie, there may be – may be – some reason for genuine heartbreak.

If you’re asking yourself who Bill Birch is, you’re not alone. He’s about as untested as a screenwriter can get. In fact, even as an actor he would be considered a novice in the feature world, but he’s the name that’s been tapped according to Variety. They are also reporting that Peter Segal (who fans will remember as the director of Tommy Boy, Get Smart and who Rob Hunter will remember as the director of Anger Management) is still attached to direct, but I can’t hide my disappointment that the project has gone from the epic talents of John August to a near-complete unknown.

But he won’t be alone. Birch is going to be co-writing with another writer new to the feature world. Geoff Johns – who has what might be called a healthy amount of television writing under his belt* – is going to working alongside him.

The upside to all this is that it’s exciting to see young talent being bet on for a film like this. Warners has been doing right by their filmmakers lately, and it could churn out a very cool Shazam! But considering that they’ve gone from one of the most talented scribes in the bunch to two unknowns, there are two options here.

  1. Birch and Johns have shown some incredible talent despite being new-ish.
  2. Warners isn’t throwing much money into this thing to begin with and couldn’t get more-seasoned talent.

I realize that there’s not a huge clamoring for thing to be made. Captain Marvel is, as Neil would put it, at least a B-level super hero despite having been around since the time when superheroes were being invented. He’s a unique character, though, possessing the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, endurance of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. Yet, he’s still mortal. Plus, I’m just a sucker for Biblical references and Greek mythology.

And he’s a kid! That turns into a superhero! What kid doesn’t wish for that kind of power?

For more information on Captain Marvel, consult your local library.

What do you think?

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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