WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Shazam!, in theaters now.
Since 2012, Warner Bros. has been hoping for a live-action Justice League Dark movie, though production has been troubled. Guillermo del Toro was due to bring the project to life, but it lingered for years in developmental hell until he eventually left the project. Doug Liman took over director's chair in 2016 and departed less than a year later. Since then it's been stagnant, leaving many fans to think the film is dead in the water. However, DC has still kept the film on the docket as Justice League Dark and, thanks to David F. Sandberg's Shazam, DC Extended Universe has quite literally opened a door for this movie to see the light of day.
As Billy Batson hones his mystical abilities and turns into Shazam, he runs afoul of Doctor Sivana, who wants all the hero's power for himself. Eventually, the villain tracks Shazam to Billy's foster home and holds his siblings hostage. After agreeing to transfer his powers, Shazam is taken by Sivana to the Rock of Eternity, the temple of the old wizard Shazam.
However, Billy's siblings follow the duo so as to rescue him. Trying to escape Sivana's clutches, they all end up on the run and navigating the cavernous labyrinth. As the family scours the catacombs, they discover a cave with hundreds of floating doors. Although it might feel like a scene out of Harry Potter, DC loyalists may have noticed the location looks similar to Doctor Fate's Tower of Fate.
However, the best connection to Justice League Dark comes when the fleeing heroes decide to open the doors to find a way out, revealing each one is actually a gateway to another dimension. Some doors reveal monsters, but one in particular leads to a misty marsh with crickets chirping and frogs creaking. Although we don't see inside, a vine emerges from the door, and just when we think the flower at the top is friendly, it turns into a man-eating monster. Now, while that's all cool for fans who love Super Mario Bros. or Little Shop of Horrors, this feels like something straight from a Swamp Thing movie. At this point, it becomes very clear we're looking at the awakening of magic throughout the DCEU, with this cave being the nexus.
This is the perfect starting point for a Justice League Dark team, because these doors might have awaken the monsters laying dormant on Earth. We also don't know what might have snuck out when the siblings opened these doors, but it's easy to picture reverberations from this cave spreading throughout the real world. We now have access points and gateways that can be tied to hellish dimensions that could involve Fate and the helmet of Nabu, Jason Blood/Etrigan, Constantine, Zatanna, Swamp Thing and Deadman.
With such magical chaos unleashed, the way has been paved to have legions of demons heading for mankind. This would require the very best investigator when it comes to arcane matters, and who's better at handling the occult than the Justice League Dark?
Seeing these unsung heroes fight ghouls and other dark entities, such as Felix Faust, Trigon, Morgaine le Fey, Mordred and Klarion, on the big screen would be exciting. Sure, some of these characters have or will appear on DC Universe and/or CW's Arrowverse, but that's simply not enough. As the success of Shazam illustrates, Warner Bros. needs to continue expanding the DCEU beyond aliens and demigods, and a Justice League Dark movie is the perfect way to keep this newfound magical formula alive.
Directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam! stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Zachary Levi as Shazam, Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, Djimon Hounsou as the ancient wizard 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. The film is in theaters now.