One great moment from the Shazam! trailers is confirmed to not be in the movie. The first DC film of 2019 - and the only one set in the world of the DCEU - has had a rather surprising marketing campaign. Shazam's near-three-minute teaser trailer released at SDCC in July 2018, but for almost eight months there wasn't a follow-up; theaters got an edited version of the Comic-Con trailer and TV spots revealed more footage, but it wasn't until early March an official trailer was released.
Not that the staggered approach matters when a movie looks as good as Shazam! does. Indeed, the latest international trailer is full of exciting moments, from Billy Batson jumping off a rooftop and transforming into his superhero form in mid-air to a villain monologue going unheard because the hero lacks super hearing. The absolute highlight, though, has to be the massive meta wink to Batman and Superman; the trailer shows a child playing with toys looking like the DCEU versions of the Caped Crusader and Man of Steel (nodding towards their clash in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) humming the John Williams' Superman theme before Shazam and Dr. Sivanna clash in front of him.
Sadly, this isn't actually in the movie releasing next month. Director David Sandberg has been saying as much on Twitter since reports of the Shazam! trailer scene made their way online in January, and now it's been officially released has repeated it. While the moment is a highpoint of the marketing, it's only in the film sans the classic Superman music. According to Sandberg, that was a decision of the trailer editors and not anybody involved with the main production.
While this would have given an already humorous joke a neat meta tinge, there is some fair logic for Shazam! not using the trailer moment. While it's funny in a short piece of marketing, it wouldn't make much sense in the world of the movie; it would canonize the Williams' Superman theme within the DCEU, and to some degree the Christopher Reeve movies with it. This effect is doubly true given how that music has already been used in the franchise's soundscape.
The John Williams' Superman theme from the Christopher Reeve era is viewed by many as the defining sound of Kal-El, although has a rather complicated relationship to the DCEU. For Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Henry Cavill's Superman was audibly marked out by Hans Zimmer's new, operatic theme. However, when Joss Whedon took over directing duties of Justice League following Snyder leaving the project, he replaced Dawn of Justice composer Junkie XL with Danny Elfman, who in turn swapped the previous themes for recreations of the Superman 1977 and Batman 1989 scores. "Batman has only one musical theme" Elfman stated at the time, and while that was his own composition, the logic holds true for Superman as well.
The attempt to connect the continuity-distinct DCEU to past movies was just one of many made in the theatrical release of Justice League, but remains one of it's most confounding. While DC Films' future seems to be ignoring the infamous 2017 bomb, Elfman's choice may still have an impact on how any legacy aspects - be it from the Reeve Superman or Burton, Schumacher or Nolan Batman era - are factored into the movies. Either they're ignored or are part of the soundtrack; bringing them into the world would certainly be jarring.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- 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
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022