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Does Shazam 2 make any difference to DC's future?

Shazam! Fury of the Gods spoilers follow.

When Shazam! premiered, back in 2019, to favourable reviews and $366 million at the box office, the next step was obvious – it was time for a second instalment. But Shazam! Fury of the Gods has been unleashed into a very different world for DC Studios and its stable of characters.

In November of last year, James Gunn and Peter Safran officially took control of DC's cinematic universe (now named the DCU). Then, in January, "Chapter One" of a new, revamped take on the franchise was announced, courtesy of Gunn, Safran, and their team of writers Drew Goddard, Jeremy Slater, Christina Hobson, Christal Henry, and Tom King – an attempt to address "the fractious nature of what came before us", and the rudderless sense of disconnect between such vastly different properties as Birds of Prey and Black Adam.

Safran and Gunn announced ten, already greenlit projects for both film and television, kicking off in full with 2025's Superman: Legacy. Before then, The Flash will hit cinemas, a film that Gunn claims "resets the entire DC universe". Nowhere, in any of these plans, did DC's new honchos mention poor Billy Batson (Asher Angel) or his superhero alter ego Shazam (Zachary Levi). And that's put Fury of the Gods in a tricky spot since it features both prominent cameos and post-credit teasers that hint at a potential future that may never now come to pass.

If you've seen the film (or don't mind being spoiled) and want to know what happens next, then read on.

shazam fury of the gods trailer
shazam fury of the gods trailer

What does Wonder Woman's cameo mean for her future?

Considering Gunn and Safran put the kibosh on DC's plans for Wonder Woman 3, it may have come as somewhat of a surprise to see Diana Prince herself (Gal Gadot) crop up at the end of Fury of the Gods.

We were already (sort of) treated to a Wonder Woman cameo earlier in the film, in a scene where Shazam attempts to woo his favourite member of the Justice League. But we only ever saw the back of Diana's head, using what was clearly a stand-in actor, as a reference to the Superman joke at the end of the original Shazam!.

After Shazam sacrifices himself in order to defeat Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and save the universe, the film cuts to Billy's family, a now-mortal Anthea (Rachel Zegler), and The Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) all gathered around his grave in the realm of the gods.

The Wizard explains that only the spark of a god could restore power to his magical staff (which Shazam had essentially turned into a bomb) and revive Billy. One problem: there are none left alive. Cue a mysterious, yet familiar voice offscreen: “There's still one.”

gal gadot, shazam fury of the gods
Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman recharges the staff, brings Billy back, saves the day, and then… ? Who knows. It's worth drawing attention here to the name Gunn and Safran have given the first step in their creative overhaul: "Gods and Monsters". Wonder Woman was the only Olympian God (well, demigod) left alive after Ares' murderous rampage, as covered back in the first Wonder Woman film.

That is, of course, until Fury of the Gods decided to introduce the Daughters of Atlas – Anthea, Kalypso, and Hespera (Helen Mirren). How they survived the slaughter isn't exactly explained, though that's perhaps another argument for another day.

So, while the "Monsters" of the title are covered by the likes of Swamp Thing and Creature Commandos, what do the "Gods" refer to? Is it merely a reference to the deity-like, all-powerful qualities of Superman and his ilk? Or literal gods?

And who does that entail if Wonder Woman (and Anthea, whose powers are also restored by the end) aren't a feature of DC's current plans? The only Wonder Woman-related property planned so far is Paradise Lost, which won't feature the character, but details the early days of her homeland Themyscira.

The events of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and even Wonder Woman, may not matter after The Flash's universe reset. Maybe Gadot’s version of the character is out entirely – Variety reported that though both she and Levi, alongside Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller, may have an opportunity to return, it isn't exactly set in stone. Or maybe, even, the "Gods" of the title could actually be Gunn and Safran's way of reviving the studios' old plans with the New Gods ie Highfather, Mister Miracle, Big Barda and Orion – remember when Ava DuVernay and Tom King were working on a film about them?

Will Shazam join the Justice Society of America?

Shazam! Fury of the Gods' post-credit scenes were presumably shot before Gunn and Safran's takeover (unless they were very, very late pick-ups). The question, then, is why were both kept in if it's already clear they'll never be revisited in a future film? It would seem Gunn and Safran, whatever their plans, aren't keen to shut the door on any of these characters, particularly when it's been made clear that the pair have only announced around half of the projects set to form "Chapter One".

The mid-credit scene sees Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee), acting on behalf of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), inviting Shazam to join the Justice Society of America.

If the overhaul had never been announced, the assumption would be that DC is here building up to a Shazam v Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson) film, with the Justice Society stepping in for support – they're already pretty familiar with the guy, thanks to the events of his solo film from last year.

In the DCU, Black Adam is basically the antihero Shazam, having been granted the same powers through the same council of wizards. A face-off would seem inevitable. But that would require Gunn and Safran to commit not only to more Shazam, but to more Black Adam and to more Justice Society. How likely is that?

Will Shazam be recast?

There’s been a lot of confusion between the concepts "not planned" and "officially cancelled" here. Gunn and Safran have very clearly left the path open for further sequels of existing characters, on the condition that they fit within the wider scheme of things, and that there's a healthy enough demand from audiences. That said, Johnson has previously confirmed that "Black Adam will not be in [DC Studios'] first chapter of storytelling", though "DC and Seven Bucks have agreed to continue exploring the most valuable ways Black Adam can be utilised in future DC multiverse chapters". Levi himself took to Twitter to state that it was "all Gucci" between his Shazam and DC.

So, while it's unlikely we'll see Shazam's story continued in the near-future, that also doesn't mean Fury of the Gods marks the very end of his superhero tenure.

As the film's own director David F. Sanberg explained, in a Twitter post: "What I've been told is that there's nothing in the Shazam films that contradict the future plans for DC. So the possibility for more Shazam is there and if that's what you want your best bet is to go see the film." After all, this is Hollywood – it isn't the fans who decide, it's their money.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is in cinemas now


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