This story contains spoilers for “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.”
Sometimes, a film’s marketing material will spoil a detail intended to be a surprise.
That’s what happened with “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.” To the disappointment of director David F. Sandberg, Gal Gadot’s appearance as Wonder Woman was revealed prior to the film’s Friday release in a TV ad.
The sequel to 2019’s “Shazam!” sees Billy Batson (Asher Angel and Zachary Levi) and his superpowered siblings take on a family of vengeful gods in order to save Philadelphia and the world.
It’s a herculean task for any teenager, even one with the ability to channel the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the courage of Achilles, the power of Zeus, the stamina of Atlas and the speed of Mercury after shouting a magic word.
Luckily, Billy has at least one demi-god on his side: Wonder Woman. Of course, she doesn’t make a proper appearance until after the big battle is over. Her cameo is the payoff of a gag from earlier in the film, which sees Billy interacting with Diana (in his dreams) without ever showing her face — itself a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the faceless Superman cameo at the end of “Shazam!”
DC film fans will remember that Gadot made her debut as the Amazonian warrior from Themyscira in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” before headlining “Wonder Woman” (2017) and “Wonder Woman 1984” (2020). She was also a part of DC’s 2017 superhero team-up “Justice League.”
But Gadot’s future as Wonder Woman has been in question ever since James Gunn and Peter Safran were named co-chairmen and chief executive officers of DC Studios in October. In the wake of the Warner Bros. Discovery shakeup came the news that the studio would not be moving forward with Patty Jenkins’ previously announced “Wonder Woman 3.”
Since then, Gunn and Safran have shared some of their plans for a soft DC reboot meant to coalesce the franchise’s main film, TV and animation projects into one shared continuity known as the DC Universe. Films and series set into motion under the previous DC regime that did not fit the new leaders’ vision have been scrapped, and a new slate of projects was announced in January.
Among the upcoming films is Gunn’s “Superman: Legacy,” which is set to introduce a younger Clark Kent to be portrayed by someone other than Henry Cavill, who had been playing the character in DC’s live-action films since 2013’s “Man of Steel.”
While Cavill’s tenure as Superman has ended, Gadot’s fellow “Justice League” cohorts Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa are set to reprise their respective roles in “The Flash” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” both of which are expected to hit theaters this year. The DC powers-that-be have been understandably mum about Miller, Momoa and Gadot’s long-term futures, but Gunn and Safran have said there is no official reason that they couldn’t continue in their roles. One of the “Shazam 2” end credits scenes even sets up the possibility that Levi’s tenure as the teen superhero isn’t over either.
Gunn has been candid on social media about wanting to see more Wonder Woman stories, at least in animation. He has also previously refuted social media comments that Gadot had been “booted” from her role. But the only Wonder Woman-related project on the slate as of now is the Themyscira-set series “Paradise Lost,” which presumably will take place before Diana’s birth. For her part, Gadot seems interested in staying on for Wonder Woman’s “next chapter.”
With a rumored “Flash” cameo reportedly cut, there is a chance that Gadot’s “Shazam 2” appearance will be the final time audiences see her as Wonder Woman. Still, Gadot has portrayed Wonder Woman in stories set during World War I through the present, and coupled with the possibilities of the multiverse, there is plenty of potential for her return.
Need proof of concept? See Michael Keaton returning as Batman in “The Flash” 30 years after he last portrayed a version of the character.