Some of the coolest moments in Shazam!‘s history have come with his interactions with Superman. There’s a cool awkwardness that stems from a character who can match the Man of Steel in terms of power while secretly being a little kid. I’m thinking in particular about the episode of Justice League Unlimited where the pair square off, with Superman ending up looking like a bit of a dick by the end of the fight.
So, while it’s not entirely unexpected, it’s sad to hear confirmation that Henry Cavill’s Superman will definitely not be appearing in Shazam!, despite there being long-term plans for him to do so. That’s because the actor won’t be appearing as Superman in anything in the future, due to him hanging up the cape due to frustration over Warner Bros.’ scheduling conflicts and ongoing contract negotiations (their handling of the whole moustache thing probably didn’t help, either).
Word was that one of the thorniest disputes in the negotiations was whether Cavill appearing in Shazam! would count as an “official appearance as a character in a movie or as a cameo.” In these kinds of contracts, actors usually sign up to appear in X amount of films as a certain character. Cavill’s original three-picture Superman contract was fulfilled with Justice League, so any further contract would have to take account his appearance in Shazam! and… well, you get the picture.
What this means for fans is that Shazam! will now be a little less connected to the DCEU at large. While we’ve already seen newspaper clippings in Freddy Freeman’s bedroom about Superman and Batman, right now it seems unlikely that any other DC heroes will be making an appearance. With Warner Bros. skeptical about doing a lot of cross-movie pollination at the moment, that probably suits them fine, but for the fans, it robs us of what could’ve potentially been a very funny and interesting moment for the characters.