“Shazam” Director Jokes About “Knightmare”

David F. Sandberg, who is directing the DC Extended Universe film Shazam, has jokingly connected the movie’s protagonist to the “Knightmare” scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Shazam, which is scheduled for release in 2019, is about Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel), a young boy who can transform into an adult superhero by saying the magic word “Shazam!” His hero form (played by Zachary Levi) has traditionally been called Captain Marvel, but some modern versions go with “Shazam”; it is unsure which the film will choose.

On Sandberg’s Instagram account, he posted a video clip from the previous DC Comics animated movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. In the scene, Batman approaches an injured Billy Batson, whom he doesn’t seem to recognize as the hero Captain Marvel. Upon told to “say something,” Billy replies with “Shazam,” then transforms into his superpowered form in a flash of lightning. As he takes a threatening step toward Batman, we suddenly cut to a scene from the live-action Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Bruce Wayne (played by Ben Affleck) wakes up startled, as though he had been dreaming the previous animated scene.

Fans will recognize this live-action segment as being from the “Knightmare” sequence, where the DCEU Bruce Wayne has a strange dream about a world ruled by an evil Superman; it is implied to be some sort of prophetic vision, with the Flash appearing to warn Bruce that this will be caused by the death of Lois Lane. The villain Darkseid is implied to be involved.

Most expected this scene to be foreshadowing for something from the newest DCEU film, Justice League, where Darkseid’s general, Steppenwolf, is the main villain and Superman is temporarily an antagonist. (He had some post-resurrection mood swings.) However, it went unaddressed; possibly it was sacrificed in the numerous cuts made to make the film two hours long.

Captain Marvel is traditionally as kindhearted and heroic as Superman, if not moreso—however, many adaptations have tried to make him grimmer and grittier in an effort to make him more “realistic.” Trading an evil Superman for Captain Marvel seems to be Sandberg’s play on that. It probably should not be taken as a real hint about the film, which Sandberg has described as being a much more lighthearted entry into the DCEU franchise.

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