As a movie Shazam! is very aware of the rules of superheroes, with hero-nerd Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) and his encyclopaedic knowledge of Batman and Superman becoming crucially important to Zachary Levi and Asher Angel’s Billy Batson when he gains astonishing powers.
But there’s ONE rule of modern superheroes that even Freddy doesn’t know –if you make a superhero movie, you HAVE to include a few sneaky scenes after the credits have rolled, teasing future sequels, team-ups or just adding little jokes.
Happily, Shazam! follows this rule as well as all the others.
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Recently, we caught up with director David F Sandberg to talk us through Shazam!’s two post-credits scenes and chat about the future of the franchise. Spoilers for the film's ending abound from hereon out.
Shazam! post-credits scene one
The first of Shazam!’s post-credits scenes goes some way to setting up a potential sequel for the film, though Sandberg says he doesn’t think he’ll be returning to the DCEU playground right away.
“There's certainly more you could do with the character and the story, so we'll see how things work out,” he told RadioTimes.com.
“Right now I've just been so focussed on finishing this one, and now I want to take a little bit of time off just to breathe.”
Still, the sting does certainly suggest Sandberg and the screenwriters have some ideas for a follow-up.
In the scene, we catch up with the now-depowered Dr Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong, pictured) in prison, where he’s scribbling the magic symbols that will unlock the wizard’s cave all over the walls of his cell – to no avail.
As his pencil breaks, Sivana yells out in frustration, only to be checked by a mysterious voice.
“Primitive symbols; you walking talking monkeys with your cave paintings,” the unknown figure says, before revealing himself to be... a tiny green slug sitting in the air vent.
Despite his diminutive appearance, the slug promises Sivana that even greater power will soon be his if they can team up against Billy and his family.
“Oh, what fun we’re about to have together….”
This surprise villain has a long history in the comics. Called Mr Mind, he’s actually a super-intelligent alien who often clashed with Shazam over the years, using his powerful mind to overcome his physical limitations and becoming a bit of a cult figure among readers for his unusual appearance.
“He's just such a fun character,” Sandberg said. “I mean he's this evil mastermind, but he's in the body of a little space worm.”
And if you were watching closely, you might have noticed that this wasn’t Mr Mind’s first appearance in the movie. Right at the start, when the young Sivana is taken to the wizard’s cave, you can spot the little worm imprisoned there. When we return to the location later, he’s escaped.
“We set it up that he's imprisoned in the Rock of Eternity,” Sandberg explained, “then when Billy gets there we see that his cage has been broken. And then he comes back at the end.”
Expect to see more of this little fella going forward.
Shazam! post-credits scene two
The second post-credits scene, which comes after a long wait through the full credits, is more of a lighthearted addition to the film’s plot, continuing the theme of Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) testing the powers of Billy’s superhero form (Zachary Levi).
Back in the pair’s shared bedroom, Billy appears to be having an in-depth conversation with a goldfish, only to reveal he’s just messing with Freddy for a joke and pointing out that talking to fish isn’t even a particularly useful or “cool” power anyway.
Freddy, gesturing to the Aquaman T-shirt he’s wearing, disagrees, and points out one way it could come in handy.
“I don’t know,” he says, “maybe commanding an army of billions of fish in the ocean?”
As well as a fun little reference, this directly calls back to the conclusion of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman movie, which saw Arthur use his abilities to command all sorts of sea creatures.
Sandberg revealed that during filming, the production team had intended to include the scene a lot earlier in the movie – specifically during the montage when Billy and Freddy test and film Shazam’s various superhero abilities.
“It was from the whole montage,” Sandberg told RadioTimes.com.
“It was just so much fun coming up with things for them to test and try out that we shot way too much than we could fit into the movie.”
However, he later realised a way to keep the scene as part of the film after all.
“All [superhero] movies have something after the whole end crawl as well, so maybe we should put something there,” Sandberg said.
“And I was like, 'Oh, we have this scene left over, let's take that one.'”
We’re sure plenty of fans with patience and high bladder tolerance will be glad to have seen it saved.
Shazam! is in UK cinemas now