David F. Sandberg is back with Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and he’s hoping audiences still have Solomon’s wisdom, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. Although James Gunn is seemingly winding down the DC Extended Universe and starting afresh, the sequel to 2019’s Shazam! represents the last of the old guard.
Zachary Levi is flexing his muscles once again as Billy Batson, aka Colonel Cheesesteak, aka Shazam, with the comedic comic book caper marking the end of an era for DC movies. Although the departure of Henry Cavill and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson nixes the idea of a Superman, Black Adam, and Shazam crossover, Sandberg hopes to prove Batson can go it alone in his own superhero movie.
Continuing the tongue-in-cheek chuckles of the first action movie, there are plenty of pop culture references, comic book nods, and setups for the revamped DC Universe. Here are 12 Shazam! Fury of the Gods Easter eggs you might’ve missed.
The Suicide Squad
Aside from some pretty big ties to the wider DC Universe with the Fury of the Gods’ post-credit scenes, Sandberg reiterates that the movie is very much part of James Gunn’s new world.
Although we’ll get to THAT big post-credit scene later, there was a more subtle connection to Gunn’s The Suicide Squad movie from 2021. When hero Billy (played by Levi) is having therapy in the office of Dr Bava (P.J. Byrne), the alphabet poster on the wall references the villainous Starro the Conqueror.
Gunn brought the wacky for The Suicide Squad (Check out our Suicide Squad review here), with the supersized starfish being the big bad of the final act. On the poster, the letter “S” has a drawing of Starro next to it, showing the world hasn’t forgotten a giant starfish rampaged through Corto Maltese.
You might not expect a demonic doll to pop up in a superhero comedy movie, but with Sandberg directing Annabelle: Creation, the temptation proved too much to stop her from appearing. The 2017 Annabelle prequel was a box-office smash and led to a sequel from Gary Dauberman.
Also, in Dr Bava’s office, we see an array of toys that includes an adorable Wonder Woman doll and a not-so-adorable Annabelle. The first movie also snuck Annabelle into the background, suggesting that if we get a third Shazam!, she’ll be back for more.
Annabelle also appeared in James Wan’s Aquaman because the director brought her to life in The Conjuring movies. Are we destined for a Superman vs Annabelle movie? We can only dream.
A furry friend
Darla (Faithe Herman) adopts a kitten called Tawny. Those who know Shazam! well, will know Tawny the Tiger is the Shazam family’s sidekick. In 2019’s Shazam!, young Billy’s backpack has a tiger patch, while hero Billy gives a girl a stuffed tiger at the fair. Fury of the Gods has a much more direct nod.
First appearing in 1947’s Captain Marvel Adventures #79, Tawky Tawny is a well-dressed tiger known for his gift of the gab. More recently, Tawny has been reimagined as a more traditional tiger instead of a dapper gent.
If we go down the anthropomorphic route, Tawky Tawny is exactly the kind of obscure character we can imagine Gunn introducing, just like the Creature Commandos or The Suicide Squad’s Weasel.
Despite the surprise being ruined ahead of time, that didn’t make the return of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman any less important. Following a comedic fakeout where Djimon Hounsou’s Wizard masqueraded as Diana Prince, she rounded off the Fury of the Gods ending in style.
There aren’t any gods left, but with Diana being a demigod, she brings Billy back from the dead, gives Anthea (Rachel Zegler) her powers back, and generally makes everything good again. Telling Billy to use the power of Zeus wisely, it’s a link to her daddy dearest being the lightning-throwing leader of the gods.
Like the therapy doll, there were other references to Diana. While there’s a newspaper clipping that asks whether Superman and Wonder Woman are in a relationship, we’ll write that off as idle gossip.
Fast and Furious
The Shazam Family are literally the heart of the story, and with a certain automotive franchise also being about family, Billy Batson brings the Fast and Furious movies into DC canon.
During a tense showdown with Helen Mirren’s Hespera, Billy says he’s seen all the Fast and Fury movies. Mirren is no stranger to “family” because she appeared as Magdalene “Queenie” Shaw in The Fate of the Furious, the Hobbs & Shaw spin-off, and the upcoming Fast X.
It seems like a missed opportunity for Shazam not to make a typically meta joke about Hespa looking like Queenie, but there we go. All we need now is Lucy Liu to star as the adoptive sister of Owen and Deckard Shaw in Fast and Furious 11.
Elvis has left the building
As the credits roll, we hear Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation,” which is an obscure reference to the King himself. In the comics, Captain Marvel Jr. is Freddy Freeman’s character – played by Jack Dylan Grazer in normal form and Adam Brody as a hero.
Presumably, due to the Marvel Cinematic Universe having Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, hero Freddy goes by the name Captain Everypowers. He even calls Billy “Captain Everypowers Jr.” as a wink to the comics. Elvis was a huge fan of Captain Marvel Jr. and even modelled his look on the character.
Presley’s iconic Takin’ Care of Business/TCB, lightning bolt logo, is inspired by the hero, while there’s an issue of Captain Marvel Jr. #51 on his desk at Graceland. In a case of art imitating life, 1996’s Kingdome Come series reinvented Freeman as King Marvel and had him sporting a look inspired by Elvis.
Music to our ears
Easily the most obscure Fury of the Gods Easter egg returns from the first movie. If you’re questioning why there’s a continuously burning violin inside the team’s lair at the Rock of Eternity, you aren’t alone.
Appearing in 1946’s Cult of the Curse Part 4: Flames of the Magic Fiddle comic, the artefact is Nero’s Fiddle. During that comic, the villain Oggar enchants the violin, and Nero nearly burns New York City to the ground.
In Fury of the Gods, our heroes use it to distract the Daughters of Atlas. In reality, it’s a powerful relic that can shoot fire. There are plenty of obscure items at the Rock of Eternity, and although Nero’s Fiddle is a clever cut to the comics, it’ll be lost on your standard viewer.
There are pop culture references galore in Fury of the Gods, but three famous fantasy favourites stand out more than most. Firstly, Billy mistakenly refers to one of his powers being the Wisdom of Saruman. It’s supposed to be the Wisdom of Solomon, but instead, he highlights The Lord of the Rings villain.
Star Wars gets the nod when Billy talks about the Wizard appearing to him in a dream. Freddy suggests that he’s Obi-Wanning him from the great beyond, just like the Jedi Master’s Force ghost from the galaxy far, far away.
Finally, Shazam refers to Kalypso (Lucy Liu) as “Khaleesi” when she rides Ladon the dragon. The Easter egg references the Dothraki word for queen in Game of Thrones. Ladon also has a similar undead look and breathes blue fire, like when the Night King resurrected Viserion on HBO’s hit fantasy series.
Batman and Robin
Although Ben Affleck doesn’t reprise his role as Batman, the shadow of the Dark Knight looms large. Shazam refers to Batman as “so cool” while in therapy, but beyond that, there’s another Easter egg honouring the Caped Crusader.
At the end of the movie, Freddy is wearing a t-shirt featuring a masked bat and a robin. The DCEU never got to explore its Robin, but heading into theory territory, it could hint toward the upcoming The Brave and the Bold team-up movie for Batman and Robin.
As for why we didn’t get more of the tattered remnants of the Justice League stopping by to lend a hand, Sandberg told Polygon he toyed with the idea of having Batman help the Philadelphia Fiascos but didn’t go down that path because it “opens up a whole can of worms. Oh well, at least we get two Batman in Andy Muschietti’s The Flash.
The Justice Society
Setting up the future of Shazam, the first post-credit scene features Peacemaker’s John Economos (Steve Agee) and Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) trying to recruit Billy for the Justice Society of America. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) has sent them to find Shazam as a potential OP addition to the JSA.
Although the Justice Society is sometimes considered a B-tier version of the Justice League, the DCU is seemingly setting them up until we can form a new JL. Black Adam cued Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman to lead the JSA, and according to Sandberg, Fury of the Gods axed a post-credit scene with its members asking Shazam to join them.
Black Adam has a long history with the JSA, whereas Shazam doesn’t become a member in 2002’s JSA #37. With Gunn and Dwayne Johnson confirming Black Adam is taking a break, it looks like Shazam could be taking his place, either in Shazam! 3 or a mythical JSA ensemble movie.
Marvel and The Authority
A clever cameo has actor Michael Gray (known for playing Shazam in the live-action Shazam! Series of the ’70s) shouting, “You’re the best, Captain Marvel.” It’s a dive into the fact Shazam was originally called Captain Marvel in the comics.
Billy later suggests the JSA should be called the Avengers Society, likely poking fun that James Gunn has just come from the MCU. He also gives “Authority Society” as an alternate JSA name – referencing The Authority movie that will be part of Gunn’s Chapter One.
Created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch under the Wildstorm imprint back in 1999, the Authority are a hard-edged team of heroes. As the Authority characters were amalgamated into the main DC canon during the events of the Flashpoint crossover, look out for their potential arrival when Muschietti’s The Flash (loosely) adapts the arc in 2023.
The Doctor is in
Even though it’s been nearly four years since the first Shazam! movie, the second post-credit scene confirms it’s been two in-universe. There’s the return of Mark Strong’s Doctor Sivana and Sandberg pulling off a sneaky cameo as Mister Mind.
Similar to his appearance in Shazam! ‘s mid-credit scene, the crawling caterpillar says he’s been working on something big. Instead of helping Sivana escape his cell or revealing his plan, he slinks off, saying he has one more thing to do.
Sandberg told Den of Geek that Mister Mind was originally going to feature more prominently as the one who led the Daughters of Atlas to Earth. Instead, he’s used to tease the franchise’s future by once again vowing to take over the Seven Realms of Magic. It’s also possible this is a tease of a potential Injustice League of Legion of Doom for an overarching antithesis to the JSA.
If you want to read more about Shazam! then check out our Shazam 2 review. We’ve also got a feature breaking down if the goofball hero has a future in Gunn’s new DCU. Finally, we’ve got guides on everything coming in ‘Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters‘, including Superman Legacy and Peacemaker season 2.