In the climactic battle of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, young Billy Batson gives his life in other to stop the villainous Kalypso and her dragon. When the dust clears, the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) suggests that Billy should be given a burial befitting of a Champion.
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
It’s at that point, however, that Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot's Diana Prince, arrives on the scene, repairs the Wizard’s superpower—granting staff, and brings Billy back to life.
With Diana‘s cameo though, some viewers are wondering if actress Gal Gadot’s performance was accomplished with a bit of behind-the-scenes fakery.
Sanberg Sets the Record Straight on Gal Gadot’s Cameo
David F. Sandberg, who helmed both Shazam movies, has taken to Twitter to respond to accusations that Warner Bros. employed deepfake technology for Gal Gadot‘s cameo as Wonder Woman.
Twitter user @maybegrayson posted a behind-the-scenes image from Shazam! Fury of the Gods that shows a body double standing on-set with Zachary Levi and Djimon Hounsou, suggesting that a deepfake face replacement was used to bring Gal Gadot into the film.
The tweet also included a second photo of double Taylor Cahill decked out in the full Wonder Woman costume.
@maybegrayson’s caption reads: “wait, they deep fake gal gadot's face on taylor cahill’s face for shazam! fury of the gods??!“
Internet commentator Grace Randolph also chimed in, writing: “Wait, I thought WBD was trying to SAVE money”
It was then that David F. Sandberg entered the discourse, providing an explanation for the above images:
“We shot the scene with Taylor to figure out what coverage we then needed to get with Gal since she couldn’t make it to Atlanta. It’s also Taylor’s body with the wizards head on it. There is absolutely no deepfaking going on. When you see Gal it’s 100% her.”
The director continued in a separate Tweet, drawing comparisons to Superman’s cameo in the first Shazam movie.
“This is the approach we did on 'Shazam 1' for Superman. Shoot with a double first, then get the required coverage with Cavill. Only the second part never happened on Shazam 1.”
In short, what Sandberg is saying is that they used Taylor Cahill to figure out what footage they would need to shoot with Gal Gadot. The production then captured Gadot separately and spliced her full performance into Shazam 2.
Will Shazam Interact With More Superheroes?
So, there’s a satisfying answer to these claims of deepfakery after all. If Gadot was able to make it to the set of the Shazam sequel, she almost certainly would have. She seems to enjoy playing Wonder Woman as much as fans like seeing her as the character.
Perhaps if another Shazam movie is to be made, the Shazam Fam will have more of an opportunity to interact with the other heroes of the DC Universe. But another installment seems… unlikely.
Fury of the Gods is severely underperforming at the box office and critical reception is dismal. Not to mention that James Gunn and Peter Safran are on the cusp of relaunching the live-action DCU, and it’s quite possible that more Shazam films wouldn’t make the cut, regardless of earnings.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now playing in theaters everywhere.