The teaser trailer for director David F. Sandberg's Shazam! had a high hurdle to clear, as much of the focus on the film over the past several months had been on star Zachary Levi's costume (a lot of fans hated it), and whether the film could help the largely dreary DC Extended Universe turn a corner without devolving into camp. Although the may still be out when it comes to the costume, the trailer's tone appeared to win over much of the Comic-Con International crowd.
As a still image released last week confirmed, Shazam! is indeed set in the same fictional world as Warner Bros.' Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman and Justice League. But the connections go beyond a framed copy of the Daily Planet on Freddy Freeman's bedroom wall. The trailer is littered with nods to both the so-called DCEU and DC comics. We break them down here.
Who Watches the ... Foster Children?
The collection of yellow smiley faces on the desk of Billy Batson's social worker may seem like little more than attempt to inject a bit of levity into the lives of children in search of a home. But director David F. Sandberg has confirmed it is, indeed, a nod to Watchmen. He even shared a set photo that reveals one of the smiley faces has a telltale red splotch on its face.
In the seminal 1986-1987 comics series by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins, the smiley face -- blood-spattered and otherwise -- was a recurring motif, appearing everywhere from a badge on The Comedian's costume to the surface of Mars to the cover of the first issue. The addition of the blood stain of course dramatically alters what's usually viewed as a symbol of innocence. That said, we probably shouldn't read too much into what's on the social worker's desk.
Hopping on the Aquaman Bandwagon
A fanboy with a collection of memorabilia from a world in which superheroes actually exist, Freddy Freeman wears a series of T-shirts throughout the trailer, each emblazoned with the logo of a different figure, beginning with Aquaman. There's also some sort of Superman model on his desk.