The second trailer for Warner/DC’s Shazam! sequel, Fury of the Gods, dropped on January 26. The second – or is it the third? – film from the subset of the DC Extended Universe, sometimes described as the (Zack) Snyderverse will arrive under terrible circumstances, even if the Zachary Levi-led flick winds up being entertaining.

Because of the relatively recent purchase of Warner Bros. by cable giant Discovery, the already shaky grounds the superhero uber-franchise attempted to find sea-legs above have dropped away into a sinkhole. Under the direction of the new CEO, David Zaslav, several high profile film productions, contracts  with talent, and series on HBO Max have also slipped into that sinkhole. The first Shazam! (2019) film was a modest success, though not a box office barnstormer. Shazam’s main arch enemy, Black Adam, had his own film deliver a poor performance at the end of 2022, despite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s starring role and promotional big guns behind it. 

More bad news. One of Zaslav’s key strategic moves was to formally christen the DC Movies studio, an action meant to put it on pace with Marvel Studios, owned by Disney. Running the studio are co-CEOs Peter Safran and film director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad). Their “job one” is to unify all the DC properties, from film, television, and even video games under one narrative umbrella. Unlike Marvel’s relatively calm congealing through a merger with 20 Century Fox and an agreement with Sony, this will be very tricky.

Why? Warner Bros. ran DC like a third party service for subcontractors, an Angie’s List for superheroes. Over on the CW TV network, you had a version of Green Arrow, The Flash, and Superman, while at the same time at the movies, you had another version of Superman and The Flash. Little of either reflected what was happening in the comic books. Worse, there seemed to be a brand new Batman every couple of years, and sometimes concurrently. You had Todd Phillips’ rendition of the Joker which had nothing to do with any of those, and Matt Reeves’ The Batman which further had nothing to do with any of it. It was a disjointed spillage of convolution. Gunn and Safran are charged with bringing coherence to all of it.

The quickest and cleanest way of accomplishing that: wipe it out and start over. This is not a crazy idea. In fact, to achieve what is being asked of them, it might be the only way forward for Gunn and Safran. The hardcore fans of the Snyderverse seethed and plotted, so invested were they in director Snyder’s vision. They fomented online campaigns to demand Gunn’s ouster, spreading “news” that WB’s board of directors were already done with him when, in fact, he hasn’t even been in this role a year yet.

These fans speak the wrong language. Snyderverse entries in the DCEU did not bring about maximal profitability and Zaslav has been crystal clear that this is his defining vision for Discovery/Warner.

You may ask what this has to do with Shazam 2. Like the forthcoming Aquaman 2, it was already in production and had enough financial support the first time around to predict a decent return at the box office. Unlike the permanently shelved-as-unseen Batgirl movie, Zaslav seems to believe there’s money to be made in seeing these through to the end…but it pretty much is the end.

Shazam and Aquaman both have serious baggage to carry, from the latter’s inclusion in the soap opera that is the Justice League film(s), to the former taking a suckerpunch via the failure of Black Adam. There’s very little hope that these characters in these storylines will continue, or that these actors will be contracted to reprise them. In fact, the rumor in Hollywood right now is that while Jason Momoa will be staying with the new DC regime, it will be as the company’s chaotic wildcard character, Lobo, not Aquaman.

In a tangible sense, Shazam: Fury of the Gods will land in theaters as a lame duck, and no matter how good the flick is, or how much scratch it rakes in, it can never be enough to undo the course of the new business plan. Cue Jonny Mathis and Deniece Williams.


About the Author

Dw. Dunphy

Dw. Dunphy is a writer, artist, and musician. For Popdose he has contributed many articles that can be found in the site's archives. He also writes for New Jersey Stage,, Ultimate Classic Rock, and Diffuser FM. His music can be found at

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