It’s finally official: the gods of Olympus have dispatched a second daughter of Atlas to square off against Billy Batson. Lucy Liu joins Helen Mirren in the Garden of the Hesperides as egocentric nymph Kalypso, one of the central antagonists of New Line’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods and sister to the villainous Hespera. Dame Mirren plays the elder Hesperides. This is the second time the immortals of the DC Universe were called upon to intervene in the affairs of its heroes, since Ares, the God of War, faced off against Diana, Princess of Themyscira, in Wonder Woman.
In Greek mythology, Lucy Liu’s Kalypso (traditionally spelled as Calypso) is the nymph responsible for keeping the hero Odysseus in the faraway island of Ogygia as her unwilling lover. A skilled enchantress, Calypso used her singing to lure the king of Ithaca to her home, where he was marooned for seven years. She eventually let him go and provided him with wine, bread, and a raft on the trip back to Greece. Like Dame Mirren’s Hespera, Kalypso has no direct equivalent in the DC universe. She is one of the famed Hesperides, daughters of Atlas cursed to serve the goddess Hera by tending to her apple garden. They are described as “minstrel maids,” capable of bewitching mortal men through the power of song. The nymphs (otherwise known as the Atlantides, after their Titan father Atlas) are accompanied by a hundred-headed, insomniac dragon named Ladon and were present when Hercules embarked on his eleventh labor and stole golden apples from the garden. Jason and the Argonauts also visited the Garden of the Hesperides many myths later.
As far as connections go, Shazam is imbued, among others, with the Stamina of Atlas, endurance and regenerative healing powers characteristic of the Greek Titan. Atlas is also the father of the Hesperides. In ancient mythology, he was condemned to carry the Earth on his shoulders for eternity as his punishment for taking part in the Titanomachy against the gods of Olympus. Like the Graces and the Fates, the Hesperides of the West are typically comprised of three nymphs, sometimes more, as is a convention in Greek mythology. Hespera is normally listed as one. Vase paintings point to Lucy Liu’s Calypso as another Daughter. If Shazam! Fury of the Gods intends to follow the same rule of three, West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler, rumored to join the cast as an unknown character, is probably the third daughter of Atlas. That would be three main villains seeking to take down Billy Batson in Asher Angel and Zachary Levi’s highly anticipated sequel. Not much is known about the sisters, except that Hespera is “ill-intented” and neither good nor evil. Batson is backed by his own superpowered family, so this would make Fury of the Gods something of a gang war, Family Feud-style.
Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren are joined by Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman, Adam Brody as Freddy’s superhero equivalent, Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley, Meagan Good as her superhero version, Michelle Borth as Mary, Marta Milans as Rosa Vasquez, and of course Angel as Billy and Levi as the eponymous Shazam. Chris Morgan co-writes the screenplay with Henry Gayden, who penned the first Shazam!, with David F. Sandberg as the reprising director. Peter Safran is producing. Lucy Liu was last seen playing Sienna in Canadian dramedy Stage Mother, about a choir director taking over a drag club previously owned by her estranged, and recently deceased, gay son. Shazam! Fury of the Gods is scheduled to hit theaters on June 2, 2023.