After years of waiting, Shazam! has finally arrived, bringing the first superhero movie story to actually put a fan of DC superheroes in the starring role. And in a world filled with Batman, Superman, and the rest of the Justice League, there are far too many Easter Eggs, DC Comics references, and secret references to catch in even multiple viewings.
There is plenty to discuss about the future DCEU movies to follow Shazam! and how Billy Batson's role could grow larger as a result. And given just how strange the post-credits scenes for Shazam! are going to seem to anyone but the most dedicated comic book readers, audiences might think the only secret details or bits of fan service are aimed at the hardcore fans of Shazam comics. But to make sure that no fan of the movie ends up missing some of the coolest Easter Eggs, impossible to catch inside jokes, and comic book and pop culture references, we're breaking each and every one of them down. From Annabelle dolls to Batman and Joker references, we've got them all in one place.
Needless to say there will be SPOILERS for Shazam! as we dissect the movie's secrets, scene by scene. Here is our complete breakdown of Shazam! Every Easter Egg & Secret Reference.
30. The Annabelle Doll Cameo
If you told us years ago that two of the most anticipated and surprisingly well received DC movies would come from the minds of two directors with horror sensibilities, we would have had questions. But after James Wan blew the doors off the box office with Aquaman, and now David F. Sandberg brings the most child like superhero to life, the responses speak for themselves. But neither forget where they came from.
Thankfully, the nightmare inducing cameo from the Annabelle doll isn't as difficult to spot the second time around. In Aquaman, Annabelle lay at the bottom of the ocean, difficult to spot among other ocean floor refuse. To find her in Shazam! audiences won't have to wait long, either. When the police officers first enter the pawn shop at Billy's urging, keep your eyes on the shelf in the lower left side of the screen, and lock eyes with Annabelle before you can even prepare for it.
29. The Watchmen Smiley Face
When Billy Batson speaks with the social worker trying to find him a home now that he's fled from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, the assortment of smiley face mugs, balls, and buttons on her desk might seem like some dark humor (considering how distinctly unhappy both Billy and his social worker seem to be with the current situation).
But knowing just how large the shadow of Alan Moore's Watchmen graphic novel looms over the medium, and how often Zack Snyder's film version is pointed to in contrast to his own DC films, fans asked director David F. Sandberg if the Watchmen allusion was as clear as some claimed. His response? A simple "of course," confirming the Easter Egg for fans in the know.
28. The First Crocodile Easter Egg
Before fans get too excited by the Watchmen smiley faces to miss the scene's other clever inside jokes, pay close attention to the small plastic toy to the left of the frame (from Billy's point of view). Considering the context, the smiley faces make sense--even if the attempt to lighten the mood may not be a success. But a small plastic figure if a crocodile? Try explaining that.
We can't give a justification in the fiction of the film, but fans know that a nod to crocodiles is no coincidence at all (and this isn't even the most memorable Easter Egg related to them). But as an appetizer of what's to come, and the other allusions to crocodile comic characters like Sobek, or the evil Crocodile Men Captain Marvel once fought, it's a fantastic touch.
27. The Talky Tawny Tiger Callbacks
Look, we're as disappointed as anyone that the Shazam! movie didn't find a way to insert an anthropomorphized, walking, talking, sapient tiger man. If they had, we might even have allowed them to not explicitly namr him "Mr. Tawny," the comic book character known and beloved by ever Captain Marvel fan. But even in the movie's lighter, adventurous tone, that would be hard to buy. Sadly, there isn't even room for Billy to enchant a regular, or even stuffed tiger into a massive version (like the New 52 comic reboot).
What fans do get are a ton of nods to "Talky" Tawny connected to Billy's love of tigers. His desire for a stuffed version is called back to in beautiful fashion, and most fans will spot the tiger stitched onto his backpack. What they might miss are the two tiger heads screwing his cape into the lightning bolt on his chest, as well.
26. The Classic Superman Movie Headline
The references and mentions of Superman are hard to call out as Easter Eggs since they're counting on audiences catching them, and recognizing that these movie characters inhabit a world as filled with superheroes as our own. But a direct reference to Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie? Now THAT is something else entirely.
No, we're not referring to the use of the John Williams theme, either. There are too many superhero-themed newspaper headlines in Freddy Freeman's bedroom to spot, let alone read upon the first viewing. And the same could be said for the newspapers tossed or highlighted by Daily Planet editor Perry White in Donner's classic. However, a headline like "CAPED WONDER STUNS CITY" isn't one that's easy to forget. So when it returns this time around, it's one of the movie's most exciting, and unexpected surprises.
25. Freddy Freeman's Superhero Souvenirs
Even after Freddy Freeman explicitly introduces his collection of Justice League souvenirs as proof of his fandom, viewers are guaranteed to miss at least some of the incredible items scattered throughout the room. The Superman mug, hat, and action figures might be caught (and are actual merchandise available in our own works, too).
But his books examining superhero psychology and its impact on the human world, an issue of TIME Magazine published shortly after the attack on Metropolis by General Zod, and others are going to require eagle eyed scanning, and another excuse for repeat viewings.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020