You Never Know What You'll See On the Subway
Instead, Billy leaves the subway and enters the Rock of Eternity, a mystical cave that serves as not only the lair of the ancient wizard Shazam, but also the prison of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Men -- also known as the Seven Deadly Sins -- powerful demons trapped in statues, some of which can be glimpsed in this scene.
Although the subway scene is drawn from directly DC's New 52 era, it's actually rooted in the hero's 1940 introduction in Whiz Comics #2. There, teenager Billy Batson was an orphaned newsboy who slept in a subway station, where he was mysterious man in a green cloak escorts him to a magical subway car inhabited by the wizard.
Say My Name, Say My Name ...
Although he evokes Saruman from The Lord of the Rings, this mysterious figure with the long white hair and glowing staff is actually another ancient wizard: Shazam, played by Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel). Also known in the comic as Mamaragan, Jebediah of Canaan or simply the Wizard, he's an ancient Egyptian sorcerer who has fought evil for centuries. Nearing death, he imbues Billy Batson with his power, allowing the boy to transform into the superhero Shazam (or Captain Marvel), simply by speaking his name.
The name Shazam in actually an acronym that represent six ancient heroes, or elders: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, each of whom grants him a specific attribute (wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage and speed).
We don't actually see the Zachary Levi's title character until 1 minute and 39 seconds into the trailer when, after unsuccessfully trying to stifle a laugh, Billy Batson does indeed say "Shazam," triggering his transformation into Earth's Mightiest Mortal. Shazam is an expression of childhood wish fulfillment, which plays out throughout the rest of the trailer, as Billy -- a boy in the body of a super-powered adult -- discovers his newfound abilities, with a gleeful sense of wonder.
Shazam Can Fly AND Floss
For all of its relative timelessness, the Shazam! trailer is anchored to the present by not only the newspaper headlines that reference recent events of the DC Extended Universe -- no, make that Worlds of DC) -- but also by the appearance of the floss dance, popularized by the Backpack Kid (aka Russell Horning) in 2017 during Katy Perry's performance of "Swish Swish" on Saturday Night Live.
Doctor Sivana, We Presume?
That's of course Mark Strong as Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, longtime foe of Shazam. For decades he was depicted as an elderly, even frail mad scientist with a genius-level intellect, a knack for manipulation and scheming, and a fondness for insulting the superhero with the nickname "the Big Red Cheese."
However, in DC's New 52, he was reimagined as a respected scientist who turned to magic in an attempt to save his family from an unknown predicament. Uncovering the tomb of Black Adam, the rival of Shazam who's set to get his own film starring Dwayne Johnson, Sivana opens it and glimpses magic, only to be half-blinded by lightning. As his brief scene in the trailer suggests, the Sivana of Shazam! clearly possesses super-strength, possibly a result of his own research into magic.
Mister Tawky Tawny?
This sequence at some kind of winter carnival offers a better look at the magical lightning that transforms Billy Batson into Shazam, but it also sneaks in a sly nod to a classic comic character: Tawky Tawny, the anthropomorphic tiger who's one of the sillier, yet beloved, elements from Shazam's history. Introduced in 1947, he was originally an intelligent, talking tiger who walked upright, and wore frequently garish suits. In DC's New 52, he's reimagined as a normal tiger at the Philadelphia Zoo that Billy befriends.
In the booth to Billy's right, there are a pair of stuffed tigers, which has been a recurring element in the promotional lead-up; close-up photos of Shazam's costume also revealed two tiger emblems on the clasps attaching the capes to the suit. We'll keep our fingers crossed that Tawky Tawny actually makes an appearance in the film.
Arriving April 5, 2019, director David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Zachary Levi as Shazam, Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, Djimon Hounsou as an ancient wizard named Shazam, Grace Fulton as Mary Bromfield, Jack Dylan Grazer as Frederick “Freddy” Freeman, Ian Chen as Eugene Choi, Jovan Armand as Pedro Peña, Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley, Cooper Andrews as Victor Vásquez and Marta Milans as Rosa Vásquez.