Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Shazam! Fury of the Gods.Shazam! Fury of the Gods has arrived in theaters. The sequel to the 2019 film has been a long time coming and has been delayed multiple times, with release dates moving back and forth between 2022 and 2023. The movie has finally arrived and has delivered another fun DC film before the entire franchise gets a major reset with the upcoming The Flash, paving the way for the DCU.
The fact that the movie was made during the old regime of Warner Bros. before the purchase by Discovery, and before James Gunn and Peter Safran were appointed the heads of DC Studios, has put the film’s status in an interesting place. It is unclear how Shazam as a character and movie series will play into the future, or if it will even matter at all.
Yet the film did still feature two after-credit sequences that hint at what the original plan might have been for Shazam! and the future of the franchise; now, though, that franchise could go nowhere or play out differently.
Shazam Joins the Justice Society
The film’s mid-credit sequences feature Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee) being sent by Amanda Waller in order to meet with Shazam to recruit him. While Billy is expecting to be asked to join the Justice League, they are there to recruit him into the Justice Society. Billy points out it is confusing to have two teams with the name Justice in the title. The scene also establishes that Amanda Waller knows Billy Batson’s identity.
While a fun comedic moment, this scene is somewhat important, but its status is now unclear. Emila Harcourt and John Economos were characters introduced in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and were also featured in Peacemaker. This suggests that Shazam and his supporting characters may have a part to play in James Gunn’s new DCU plans.
Harcourt also appeared in Black Adam, and the fact that Shazam is being recruited to the Justice Society specifically feels like setting up a showdown between Shazam and his arch-enemy Black Adam. Given Dwayne Johnson is no longer Black Adam and the DCEU is about to be reset as the DCU, the sequence’s potential to set anything up in the future is questionable. Yet the fact that it was not cut before the release of the movie and that it features two characters from James Gunn’s created project could be a good sign.
Mister Mind Returns
The first Shazam! had a mid-credit scene that featured classic Shazam villain Mister Mind talking to Doctor Sivana. It was assumed that Mister Mind would be the villain of the sequel, yet the movie instead went with the Daughters of Atlas.
In the after-credit scene of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the audience picks up with that plotline, as Doctor Sivana has been in prison for two years and Mister Mind has returned. Mister Mind informs Doctor Sivana that everything is almost in place. Sivana is angry it is taking so long, but Mister Mind points out that it’s taking a while since he has to crawl everywhere, before crawling away to finish his plan.
With Dwayne Johnson reportedly disinterested in joining the Shazam franchise even before James Gunn took over the DCU, it appeared the filmmakers had decided to save Mister Mind as the major villain for the third film in a Shazam trilogy. Mister Mind’s most popular storyline involves the Monster Society of Evil which would likely see him, Doctor Sivana, and a team of villains going up against the Shazam family. With the status of a third Shazam! movie up in the air, this is one storyline that might get canceled.
Shazam Knows a Lot of Superheroes
Shazam! ended with Billy Batson saying he invited a friend to join him and Freddy for lunch, with the reveal being Superman, but not showing Henry Cavill’s face. A fun joke, but the sequel never quite establishes how exactly Shazam knew Superman and if there is any contact. The mid-credit scene for the movie even establishes that he is not a part of the Justice League, as he is excited at the prospect to join, only to be disappointed by it being the Justice Society.
In Shazam! Fury of the Gods, another Justice League member makes their presence known. Towards the end of the movie, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) shows up to restore life to the world of the gods, as she is the only one connected to the old gods left. The movie has a running bit with Billy Batson having a crush on Wonder Woman, and he is awestruck when he finally meets her. She tells him to keep saving the world, so it is clear by the end of the movie that the Justice League knows who Shazam is.
Shazam! May Have Set Up Gods and Monsters
Shazam! Fury of the Gods reveals that when Billy Batson broke the wizard’s staff in the first Shazam! it also destroyed the protection spell the Wizard had put up over Earth to prevent magical creatures and god-like figures from entering the world. This allows the Daughters of Atlas to attack Earth after so long, and also might be an explanation for a whole new host of magical threats entering the DCU. There have been magical forces before the events of Shazam!, like Enchantress in Suicide Squad and Ares in Wonder Woman, but this now opens the door for the more magical side of the DC Universe to take center stage.
James Gunn has labeled Chapter One of his DCU plan ‘Gods and Monsters,’ and while it is unclear how much Shazam! Fury of the Gods will connect to this new plan, this could be a hint at what is to come. Supernatural titles like Swamp Thing and Creature Commandos are already confirmed, and James Gunn did say the whole slate could not be revealed as it would spoil developments in other projects. Wonder Woman villains like Circe or even supernatural heroes like Justice League Dark now could be on the table.
Do the Mid-Credit Scenes Matter? Does the Film?
Many have now wondered what is even the point of seeing Shazam! Fury of the Gods if the wider DC franchise is being retooled. Why bother watching the movie if the setups don’t go anywhere? While the after-credit sequences are fun little additions to speculate about for the future, they should not be the only value a new entry in a superhero franchise has.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods tells an engaging story that builds off the foundation of the original film. It plays very much like a classic superhero sequel before the mid-credit sequences were an automatic assumption. After all, Spider-Man 2 is still an enjoyable movie even if Spider-Man 3 never happened.
Joker was a hit with audiences as a stand-alone film, and it was not until afterward that a sequel was even thought possible. Joker not setting up future films did not make the movie pointless. It is unclear what the future holds, and both director David F. Sandberg and star Zachary Levi have hinted Shazam’s future is tied in with how well the movie does.
Regardless of if the mid-credit scenes end up being paid off, movies are not ads. Shazam! Fury of the Gods could play a big role in the future of the franchise, or it might not mean anything. Yet the only way it is forgotten is if audiences only treat it as the setup for the next film and forget to enjoy the movie at the moment.