Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Shazam
Newly released DC superhero movie Shazam features a special guest cameo from Superman - but not from Henry Cavill. The Man of Steel makes an appearance at the very end of David F. Sandberg's movie, shown only from the neck down as he joins Shazam and the Shazam Family for lunch at school. While it's certainly a fun and fitting way to end a movie that portrays the DC Extended Universe from the perspective of teenagers, Superman's cameo may also be confusing to fans who are wondering why the star of three previous DCEU movies doesn't show his face.
While the three previous DCEU solo movies have been about an alien with godlike powers, a demigoddess, and the heir to the throne of Atlantis, Shazam has a considerably more humble origin story. Foster kid Billy Batson is a troublemaker and frequent runaway, and in his very first scene he locks two police officers in a pawn shop and then steals their lunch. He certainly falls short of the "pure of heart" champion that the wizard at the Rock of Eternity is searching for, and when he does get superpowers he uses them to buy beer, rob ATMs, charge people money for selfies, and other decidedly non-heroic acts.
When the evil Doctor Sivana arrives on the scene with the intent to steal Shazam's powers, however, Billy figures out how to be a superhero with a little help from his newfound family. And once the dust has settled, Billy thanks his foster brother and best friend Freddy - with a little help from Superman.
- This Page: Shazam's Superman Cameo Explained
- Page 2: Shazam and Superman's Comic Book History and Superman's DCEU Future
Superman's Role In Shazam
Shazam is set in the same universe as Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League, and it establishes just how commercialized superheroes have become. From T-shirts to action figures to battle souvenirs, a whole industry has built up around them and the members of the Justice League are basically viewed as celebrities - especially by Billy's foster brother, Freddy Freeman. Freddy, who thinks that the best superhero power is flight, is a particularly big fan of Superman, and owns a bullet that bounced off Superman's body... until Billy drops it into a grate.
Billy more than makes up for losing the bullet in the final scene of the movie, however. Not only does he show up as Shazam to hang out with Freddy at school lunch, he also says that he brought a "friend" along with him. That's when Superman makes his appearance, walking up to Freddy's lunch table with a tray full of food - but he's only shown from the neck down. Yes, while Superman does have a cameo in Shazam, Henry Cavill doesn't.
Why Henry Cavill Isn't Superman In Shazam
The Superman cameo was intended as the conclusion to Shazam's story from the earliest drafts of screenwriter Darren Lemke's script (which was later given a rewrite by Henry Gayden). This was in late 2016 and early 2017, when the DCEU had wobbled a little with the divisive response to Batman V Superman, but Warner Bros. was aiming to get things back on track with Justice League. By the time Shazam actually got around to filming at the start of 2018, the future of the DCEU was looking a lot less certain, Cavill's contract only covered one more movie, and there were rumors of him attempting to renegotiate this contract. It's most likely because Shazam was filmed in such a period of uncertainty that Cavill himself doesn't have a cameo in the movie.
Superman Has A New Suit In Shazam
We may not get to see Superman's face in Shazam, but that just allows us to pay more attention to his costume - which is ever so slightly different from the suit that he wore in Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and Justice League. While the overall costume design is basically the same, Superman's suit in Shazam has two red and gold portions at his hips, perhaps as a nod to the superhero's classic look of wearing red underwear on the outside of his costume. The comics shed the underwear-on-the-outside look with the New 52 relaunch, replacing them with a red belt, and Cavill's Superman suit is usually blue from the bottom of his "S" down to the top of his boots. Perhaps Warner Bros. is preparing audiences for the red underwear's eventual creep back into the movies... or perhaps we're over-thinking a minor costume change.