Shazam! is now officially in theaters following successful preview screenings, and director David F. Sandberg is ready to talk about sequel plans - or maybe lack thereof.
Light spoilers for Shazam! follow.
Speaking in specifics, Sandberg explained to Deadline that the presence of classic Shazam villain Mr. Mind was a fun way to open a door for future stories, but not necessarily directly indicative of what could come in a possible sequel.
"Mister Mind - he’s an old school Captain Marvel villain," Sandberg said, referencing Shazam's original comic book codename. "Mister Mind is this alien worm with mind control power and he’s quite dangerous. He’s just a fun character and you have to have mid-credit scene these days. It wasn’t like, 'Here’s the plan for what’s in Shazam! Part 2, 3' or something like that. It was just like, 'Let’s open the door for something else and let’s use Mister Mind!' It’s just a really fun build up. It’s kinda funny how a lot of people have seen the movie and there are discussions online saying 'What the hell was that?' Then you have the fans who are like 'Oh sh**, Mister Mind!'
One thing that is certain - Shazam! is set squarely in the DC Extended Universe, with references to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, and even light references to the Justice League (along with a semi-cameo from the Man of Steel himself). But just how it fits into a single unified film universe is up in the air.
"I don’t know, really. That’s what was so liberating with making this movie," Sandberg confessed when asked how Shazam! fits directly with previous films. "It was that we only have to do the best Shazam! movie we can do. We didn’t have to set up this movie in the future or include references to this or that. I’m not really sure what’s gonna happen with it and that’s what I love about it. It felt like we were making our own movie - it just takes place in the DC universe."
As for that Superman cameo, no it wasn't Justice League's Superman actor Henry Cavill, and it wasn't a new Superman actor - but it was the Man of Steel.
"That was Ryan [Hadley], who was the stunt double for Shazam," Sandberg said. "In the script, he actually sat down and they had a little conversation. We couldn’t do that, so we were like 'What do we do now?' So we did this and I was like 'Is this going to work or is it going to feel cheap?' but then when you just cut from their reactions to the credits, we just found it hilarious. It turned out better than what was in the script."
One thing worth noting - Sandberg's comments about not setting up future films don't seem to take into account the long in-development Dwayne Johnson-starring Black Adam film, which Johnson has previously said would directly involve Shazam.
Shazam! is out in North American theaters now.