Warning - This article contains spoilers for the post-credits scene of Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
The first of Shazam 2’s two post-credits scenes, which featured Emilia Harcourt and John Economos recruiting Billy Batson for the Justice Society of America, already stirred up plenty of controversy since the movie’s debut.
Most recently, reports noted that Dwayne Johnson took issue with Warner Bros’ plans for that scene, going so far as to not allow anybody from his Black Adam movie to be utilized in Shazam 2.
But considering Johnson's aversion to having Shazam and Black Adam cross over with one another, it's almost not shocking to see how much this situation devolved during the development process.
Dwayne Johnson Took DC Heroes Out of Shazam 2
Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Zachary Levi revealed in an Instagram Live video that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had two major DCU characters removed from the new DC movie's post-credits scene.
Levi first addressed fans who have been jumping on DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn for including his wife, Jennifer Holland, as Emilia Harcourt in the post-credits scene, explaining that this wasn't the original plan:
"People are slagging on James Gunn because Jennifer Holland, his wife, who is an actress, who's on 'Peacemaker' and was in '[The] Suicide Squad,' which is connected to the Justice Society... We used Jennifer and Steve in that scene, in that mid-credits scene, in 'Shazam: Fury of the Gods.' But that was not the original intent."
Originally, Aldis Hodge's Hawkman and Quintessa Swindell's Cyclone invited Billy Batson/Shazam into the Justice Society of America. Levi explained that he had this scene planned with producer/DC Studios co-CEO Peter Safran and director David F. Sandberg:
"The original intent was to have Hawkman and Cyclone be there to invite me... By the way, this is a little bit of a spoiler alert for anybody who hasn't scene the movie, sorry! Whatever, it's all online anyway. So our intent, our desire, Walter Hamada, Peter Safran, David Sandberg, myself, everybody... We had an awesome scene that would have tied me in to the JSA with Hawkman and with Cyclone, and we were thwarted."
The Shazam actor made it clear that he wasn't trying to lay blame on anyone for what happened, especially with Shazam 2 underperforming at the box office, but rather wanted to make sure that people know the truth about what went down:
"This is not me, I'm not talking about these things trying to blame anybody for our movie doing however well or not well it's doing. I am merely coming to the defence of the people that ought to be defended. I am coming to the defense of truth, because truth is good, and we should all live in it, guys."
Dwayne Johnson's Major Issues with Shazam and DCU
While the reasoning behind this decision is still unclear, what's obvious is that Dwayne Johnson has never exactly been open to sharing the spotlight with Shazam, as was seen by the way he asked for the first Shazam! movie's script to be changed.
Reports also indicated that he not only refused to take a cameo role as Black Adam in Shazam 2, but he even had a thinly veiled dislike for Zachary Levi's leading hero as a whole.
This entire situation has turned into something of a public relations disaster during Warner Bros.' final days running the former DC Extended Universe, especially after Levi admitted that he would've been open to the two characters meeting on-screen.
While seeing Hawkman and Cyclone introduce themselves to Shazam would have been a thrilling post-credits moment, Johnson's insistence that the two franchises remain separate seemed to be its undoing. This even led some fans to wonder whether the moment with Harcourt and Economos would ever lead to anything bigger, but with so much up in the air for the greater DCU, nothing can be set in stone yet.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now playing in theaters worldwide.
This story is developing. Check back for updates!