Top 10 Facts About ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ From Director David F. Sandberg

The box office is certainly feeling the “fury of the gods” as Shazam! Fury of the Gods has officially debuted at #1 opening weekend! And as audiences have discovered, director David F. Sandberg has managed to lovingly craft homages to Harryhausen throughout the film, showcasing his youthful spirit within each frame of the picture. But now that the film is out, we at The Nerds of Color are finally able to dive into things a bit more, as we were given the opportunity to attend an event with Sandberg to find out several secrets from him about the making of the movie!

Sandberg and Warner Bros. were generous enough to invite members of the press to view the movie and sit down at a round table with the director to discuss several filmmaking secrets and facts about the movie with him. Here are the top 10 factoids we got from the event. Warning, if you haven’t seen the film yet, there will be spoilers:

1.) Mr. Mind and Sivana were going to have a bigger role in the movie

Originally, Sandberg and Gayden were discussing what the plans were going to be to include Mr. Mind and Sivana back in the sequel. They explored several ideas, such as going through the doors into various fantasy worlds, such as a talking animal world, but decided to scrap the concepts because Sandberg felt carrying over the first film’s ideas of having fantasy elements in a grounded world would serve the sequel better. So since the kids got their powers from the gods, they though of the idea of having the gods reclaim their powers, and Mr. Mind and Sivana were going to be behind that.

“At first, we were like, let’s continue on with Mr. Mind and Sivana, so they’re the ones that bring the gods to this world, because Mr. Mind has this big plan,” started Sandberg. “But it was just too much story to tell. Even without it the movie is about two hours and 10 mins… I’m glad we got to do at least a little fun thing at the end because I know people are going to be like, ‘hey what happened to the worm?’ So it’s like, he’s still working on something. It just takes some time.”

2.) Harryhausen and Sandberg’s love of monsters factored heavily into this one

When asked to speak about the Harryhausen influence and some homages to Clash of the Titans, Sandberg had this to say:

“I love monsters,” he started. “So it was really fun to get to design these and have those references to Harryhausen. To get to do a badass version of a unicorn? It was really fun. We even started down the path of [whether we could] do some of these practically. But it was just… it didn’t really work out. Because some of them are humanoid, like the minotaur. But it made more sense to design the powers we wanted in CG.”

3.) The first post-credit cameos were not influenced by James Gunn

The finale of Fury of the Gods features cameos from two characters that appeared in two James Gunn DC projects. Sandberg was asked about whether or not those characters were added by Gunn.

“So that happened even before he became the boss,” Sandberg stated. “It was actually supposed to be different characters, but that had to change last minute after we already built the set. We had the time, so it was like, ‘Oh. We still want to do the scene.’ So Peter Safran, who produced Peacemaker, calls and thankfully Jen Holland and Steve Agee were able to come down and do that scene. So we still got to use that set and everything.”

4.) There is no relation between Rizwan Manjis character in this film, and his Peacemaker character, Jamil

In the film’s opening, Rizwan Manji plays a museum guide who ends up being killed by the daughters of Atlas. However, keen DCEU fans will recognize that he also played Jamil, Peacemaker’s buddy, from last year’s series. He was asked about whether or not this was the same character, and how Manji’s double casting came to be.

“When we cast him, we hadn’t seen Peacemaker yet. It hadn’t come out yet. But Peter was like, ‘Hey I just worked with this guy on Peacemaker, who’s really funny. He should be the museum guy.’ And I was like, ‘But if he’s in Peacemaker, it’s the same universe.’ And Peter said, ‘Oh! It’s a tiny role. It won’t matter.’ And then when I saw Peacemaker, [Rizwan] was in the intro, messing around. So I was like, ‘What are you talking about? he’s right there!’ But I mean, it’s just… his twin brother who works in Greece at a museum,” joked Sandberg.

Zachary Levi, David F. Sandberg, Director

5.) There’s no bad blood between Marvel/DC when it comes to references

During the movie, there are two-ish Marvel references that come up: one for Captain Marvel, and the other for Avengers. Similar to the name drop of Batman and Superman in Marvel Studios projects like The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Eternals, there have been no issues with DC projects name dropping Marvel — even though, “Captain Marvel” was the character’s original name in the comics anyway. In fact, the original live action Captain Marvel from the ‘70s, Michael Gray, is the actor who delivers the reference.

In regards to the Captain Marvel reference, Sandberg stated, “That was funny actually, because that was what was written in the script. But on the day, I was like, ‘they’re probably not going to let us use it, but let’s have a version where we call him Captain Marvel.’ And then talking to DC, I asked, ‘Can we use that?’ And they were like, ‘Well Marvel mentioned Batman and Superman in Eternals, so why not?… We mention Avengers as well.”

6.) Sandberg is definitely open to adding zombies to the mix, especially after seeing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

When star, Levi, suggested they should fight zombies in the next one, Sandberg expressed his own enthusiasm about the suggestion.

“[That would be] badass!” he started. “Zombies are cool! That’s what I loved about Multiverse of Madness. That sort of zombified Doctor Strange. I was like, ‘hey! the more zombies in superhero movies [the better].'”

7.) The famous cameo that concludes the film almost didn’t happen


In the finale of the movie, Billy dies heroically saving Philadelphia, and is buried. The only thing that could save him is the power of the gods, which conveniently shows up in the form of an extended cameo from none other than Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.

When asked about how he made that happen, Sandberg said this:

“In the first movie, Henry Cavill was supposed to be in it,” he started. “But when we were shooting the scene, they were all, ‘Oh he’s not going to get here, so you have to shoot it with a stand in and get back at a later date to shoot his coverage and make it work.’ And that day never came, so we sort of had to improvise, with the stand in footage, which worked out alright in the first one. But on this one, she was always in the script. I was like, ‘are you sure this is going to happen?’ And on the day of shooting, we were like, ‘well she’s not here, so we’re going to have to shoot it with a stand-in.’ Then we reshoot her pieces. So I [was skeptical], and said, ‘when we don’t get her, how to we solve it?’ But then it actually happened, which we were really happy about, that we got to put her in there. Because I mean, if she hadn’t showed up at the end, we wouldn’t be able to do the wizard scene, with the wizard head on. It’d be another headless cameo. We wanted to make fun of the end of the first one, and even at the end of this one, we did frame it with her head off, but we were like, ‘No, no, she’s here.'”

8.) Sandberg would love to see the Shazam character continue

When asked about the future of the DCU under James Gunn, and what that might mean for the character of Shazam, Sandberg had this to say:

“I don’t know what the full plans are, but that’s cool if Shazam can be around. I think he’s a really great character… We’ll see what happens… The big thing is the concept that it’s a kid who gets to be a superhero. It’s about wish fulfillment. I like the fact that there is magic, and that his power stems from that. It’s different from Superman. Plus the whole family dynamic is fun.”

9.) Any future emotional arcs for Billy Batson would diverge from the familial themes

When asked about playing on the themes of family and where Billy’s emotional arc would go next in future installments, Sandberg stated this:

“I think you’d have go some place pretty different,” he started. “Because we sort of played out the whole family dynamic. He found his family in the first one. He learned in this one that… [family] doesn’t end just because your life has to move on. So I think you’d have to do something different. Split up the family? Have him be with other heroes or something? Because it really feels like he’s landed in the family and feels secure there.”

10.) The filmmakers almost killed off Mark Strong’s Dr. Sivana in this movie

When asked about bringing back Mark Strong for this sequel, and the details about his character, Sandberg said this:

“He was up for it,” he began. “When we were sort of exploring where to go with it, when Mr. Mind and Sivana were in it, there was a moment where Sivana died. And I was like, ‘We can’t do that! He’s like the Lex Luthor [of Shazam]. You can’t kill him in the second movie! We want to get more out of him!”

It was an absolute delight speaking with Sandberg, and hearing more about the making of this movie!

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now in theaters!

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