Shazam spoilers ahead!
Shazam is in theaters now. The latest DC movie had a successful opening weekend, and there's already plenty of buzz about a sequel. Read our full review here, check out the story behind the movie's big twist, and read on for all the Easter eggs and references you might have missed!
Shazam may be wildly different in tone and style from anything we've seen in the DCEU before, but it's still jam-packed with comic book references and Easter eggs, just like you'd expect from a superhero movie.
Billy Batson's world is populated with all sorts of winks and nods, from major Golden Age deep cuts to modern horror shout outs and beyond, all coming together to create what might be the best DC movie ever. In our review, we highlighted Shazam's confident tone, which helps it earn even the most dense pop culture references: "The movie also has a 1980s Spielbergian adventure vibe--think Goonies, Labyrinth, or Neverending Story. It owns its campiness so confidently that the significant amount of Shazam mythology it occasionally info-dumps on you goes down fairly easily."
Of course, comics Easter eggs aren't the only superhero tradition Shazam upholds--it also has not one, but two post credits scenes that include some pretty major clues for Billy's future, and a great gag at a fan favorite Justice League member's expense.
So test your comics trivia knowledge and take a look at these references you might have missed. But proceed with caution--major Shazam spoilers abound.
The DCEU and the Conjuring universes are slowly merging into one with hilarious results. Not only did the demonic Annabelle doll sneak her way into Aquaman last year--she's also here in Shazam, just waiting for an unlucky customer to pick her up at the pawn shop Billy lures the cops into. This probably isn't a huge shock--Shazam director David F. Sandberg previously directed Annabelle: Creation.
2. The Comedian's button
Blink and you might miss it, but there's a very specific smiley face on Billy's social worker's desk. Appropriate, now that Watchmen has officially joined the mainline DC comics universe thanks to the Rebirth era.
Shazam Spoiler Review
Watch our spoiler-filled review of Shazam above to find out why we think it's the best DC movie yet, and keep scrolling for more Easter eggs and references.
3. Freddy's Batarang
Freddy Freeman is a massive geek who apparently has some extra cash to spend. He's purchased a replica Batarang for himself, like you would have seen in Batman v. Superman or Justice League.
4. Superman newspapers
Freddy also collects the newspapers charting various superhero activities around the world--most of which, unsurprisingly, are about Superman.
5. Superman bullet
Just in case you weren't absolutely sure by now that Shazam takes place in the DCEU, Freddy also has a genuine bullet that bounced off Superman's chest.
6. Oggar's Burning Fiddle
Within the Rock of Eternity, the Wizard has collected some comic book deep cuts as trophies. One of them is a burning fiddle, a relic of one of Billy's Golden Age foes: Oggar, Earth's Mightiest Immortal, who once had a henchman who believed himself to be the Greek emperor Nero. This henchman had a magical fiddle capable of lighting entire cities on fire--at least, until Billy stopped him.
7. The Magic Mirror
Another of the wizard's trophies is a magic mirror--we don't get a very good look at it, but there's a good chance it once belonged to another vintage Captain Marvel villain, Plundering Pasha.
Alternatively, the mirror might be a reference to Francesca, a newer addition to Shazam lore, who was a sentient magic mirror who would advise Billy in the Rock of Eternity when he needed it.
8. Mr. Mind
We see Billy's deadliest and tiniest enemy, Mr. Mind, twice--once, as a caterpillar kept in a glass case in the Rock of Eternity, and then later in the post credits scene.
9. Eye of the Tiger
Shazam takes full advantage of its Philadelphia setting by making as many Rocky jokes as possible, including Billy's street performance to the iconic (and memetic) Eye of the Tiger.
10. The Floor Piano
People keep describing Shazam as "Big meets Superman," so naturally the movie had to work a nice little wink to Big in there somewhere. Sivana and Billy have a brief stint on a giant floor piano--they weren't playing Chopsticks together, but the point was made.
11. Eugene's Video Games
Eugene Choi may not get a ton of screen time, but he makes the most of what he does get by making sure to get in a couple of honestly hilarious video game gags. He's not a hacker, but he has played Watch Dogs (a game about, well, hacking.) He also hits one of the sins with a "hadoken" and later finishes it off with a "fatality."
12. The Monster Men
In the Rock of Eternity, the kids begin searching for an exit by pulling open any random door they find--and the first of which just so happens to give them a look into some deep-cut comics history: a group of suit-wearing crocodiles, otherwise known as the Monster Men or the Crocodile Men, alien monsters who work closely with Mr. Mind. Their names are Herkimer, Jorrk, and Sylvester, and if the post credits scene is any indication, we probably haven't seen the last of them.
13. The Mist Monster
The second door the kids try is apparently a gateway to a different movie altogether--a mist-filled dimension that quickly spews out a thorny tentacle that nearly grabs Eugene. Eagle-eyed Stephen King fans will notice that the tentacle (and the atmosphere) was actually a nod to The Mist. The tentacle is the same one that kills the poor box boy in the grocery store's loading docks.
14. Darla's Hoppy Plush
Darla's room is full of cute and cuddly things, including a blink-and-you'll-miss-it nod to Shazam history. There's an adorable plush rabbit on her bed, a shout out to the tragically no longer canon rabbit superhero, Hoppy The Marvel Bunny.
15. Echoes of Tawny
Hoppy isn't the only animal companion who gets some vague references in the film. Billy's long lost anthropomorphic tiger sidekick, Tawky Tawny, may not show up for real (which is a shame), but there are enough tigers in Shazam to make up for it. From the buttons on Billy's uniform to prizes at the fair, Tawny's ghost is everywhere.
16. Meet the Shazamily
The surprise reveal of Billy's foster siblings getting their own superpowers is actually a long-held comics tradition, dating back to the 1940s. The original Captain Marvel books introduced the "Marvel Family," which included the Golden Age versions of characters like Freddy and Mary. The cinematic version includes the new characters who were created for the New 52 era back in 2011, including Eugene, Pedro, and Darla.
17. With Love from Philly
The movie does not want you to forget that it's set in Philidelphia--from the Rocky steps to the Love Park statue, there are Philly landmarks around every corner. Surprisingly, most of them are thanks to pure movie magic as the bulk of Shazam was actually filmed in Toronto.
Photo: UrbanPerspectiV on Flickr
18. Meeting the Justice League (sort of)
In case Freddy's collection of League-related memorabilia wasn't enough to remind you of DC's other heroes, the Leaguers get to make animated cameos in the credits, sketched out in Billy and Freddy's notebooks in tiny cartoons, all set to the Tom Waits/Ramones song "I don't wanna grow up." How on the nose.
19. Billy's Dad
Billy's dad's name gets casually mentioned as "C.C. Batson," a clever wink to Billy's co-creator, comics legend C.C. Beck.
Photo: Alan Light on Flickr
20. Fawcett High
Billy and Freddy attend Fawcett High School, a reference to Fawcett Comics, the original publisher of Captain Marvel comics back in the 40s. Prior to the New 52, Billy was from Fawcett City, which was later changed to Philadelphia after the continuity reboot.
21. The Ancient Champion
When the Wizard Shazam explains his history to Billy during his first visit to the Rock of Eternity, he recalls an "ancient champion" who had the power of Shazam but fell into corruption. He's talking about none other than Black Adam, a long-standing Shazam family enemy who may or may not be getting his very own solo film at some point. Dwayne Johnson has been in talks about playing him for what feels like forever, and the actor even hinted recently that they could begin production soon.
22. Sivana's Dad
Sivana's dad actually has a long history of being a jerk father in live action DC properties--John Glover also played Lex Luthor's father, Lionel Luthor, on Smallville.
23. All Those Nicknames
From "Thundercrack" to "Mr. Philadelphia," Billy's superhero alter ego gets no shortage of nicknames throughout the movie. Obviously, part of this is by necessity--he can't say "Shazam" without triggering his transformation, even if he's only trying to introduce himself. But Billy and his friends have had no shortage of nicknames thrown their way over in the comics as well, the most famous of which was probably "The Big Red Cheese," which sadly did not make it into the movie.