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Shazam needs to say the magic word "Shazam!" to trigger his transformation.

If I recorded his voice, could I transform him against his will and has this ever been tried by anyone (in comics, TV series, movies) or does the word needs to be said by Shazam himself in order for the transformation to take place?

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  • Feel free to re-phrase the question. I am not satisfied with the wordings. – user931 Mar 24 '19 at 9:54
  • Possible dupe of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/64521/… – Valorum Mar 24 '19 at 9:57
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    @Valorum not a dupe, that one is about whether he can say the name without transforming. This one is whether he can transform without saying the name. – Robert Columbia Mar 24 '19 at 15:14
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    I don't understand what you mean by "control it". Are you asking if I can forceably transform him (without his permission) if I record his voice and play it back? – Valorum Mar 24 '19 at 15:25
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    @Valorum Yes. I mean exactly that. – user931 Mar 24 '19 at 18:26
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Not any more.

In the comics, there have been stories where recordings have been used - This Quora question lists several of them. Conversely, There's been attempts by Sivana to block the magic lightning by drowning out Billy trying to speak the word by playing loud static so the gods (specifically Zeus, who was in charge of throwing the bolts) couldn't hear him.

One clever dodge (admittedly not using recordings, but too fun not to share) featured Sivana Jr. planting a suggestion in Freddy Freeman's mind, making him incapable of saying the name "Captain Marvel", so he couldn't transform. Eventually the block became so strong he couldn't even think the name. But accidentally, he realized he COULD think (and say) "Captain Marvel Jr." as it was technically a different name.

In the current continuity, Billy summons the lightning down at will, and may do so without saying the word. Similarly, he may say the word without summoning the lightning. This is useful as his name is literally "Shazam" now, and it's hard to go through a day without saying your own name. So a recording of him would have no power, as it'd just be the word, but with none of the will behind it.

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Not sure about the comics, but at least in the Shazam 2019 film, it is Billy Batson / Shazam himself who needs to call out his name to make the transformation happen.

This is actually clear in the film version since it's central to the plot:

Thaddeus Sivana wants Shazam's powers for himself, but the only way to make it happen is if Shazam says his own name while holding on the wizard's staff. That is, even after Sivana found the magic name / phrase, he still couldn't do anything unless Shazam said it himself.

In fact, there is (IMHO) a really cool plot twist towards the end of the film related to the calling of the name and how the power transfer happens.

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    This may be, but the question sort of dodges this by technicality by asking what happens it is his voice.... via a recording device... – ThePopMachine Mar 25 '19 at 3:22

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