On Easter Sunday, which also happened to be April Fool’s Day, DC fans witnessed the resurrection of one of mankind’s saviors — sort of. A spoof trailer for DC’s Shazam! hit the web, courtesy of directory David F. Sandberg, and it happens to have two Easter eggs, one of which refers to a piece of glossed-over comic book history.
On Sunday, Sandberg, who directed Annabelle: Creation and is currently helming Shazam! starring Zachary Levi, released a fake trailer for his DC superhero movie using clips from the Shazam! TV series from 1974 on Twitter. “I’m just going to leave this here,” he tweeted, along with a lightning emoji.
While hardcore comic book fans knew right away it was a gag because of the outdated DC Comics logo, for others, it was the opening notes to AC/DC’s corny arena rock anthem “Thunderstruck.” (Or, they looked at the calendar.)
Overshadowed by the likes of Batman with Adam West, Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter, and The Incredible Hulk with Lou Ferrigno, hardly anybody but diehard, old-school fans remember Shazam!, which starred Jackson Bostwick (and later John Davey) as the superhero Captain Marvel and aired on CBS for 28 episodes. In 2012, Warner Bros. released Shazam! on DVD through Amazon and on the Warner Archive store, under a manufacture-on-demand (“MOD”) release.
Also an Easter egg is the spoof trailer’s subtitle, Shazam!: The Rise of Ponysmasher, a reference to Sandberg’s internet pseudonym “ponysmasher” under which he released a slew of short horror films on Vimeo and YouTube. One short, 2013’s Lights Out, was a viral hit and eventually became a full feature directed by Sandberg in 2016.
Thankfully, April Fool’s Day this year fell on a Sunday, which meant the internet was mostly tolerable as #brands tried to prank the internet. Netflix arguably came away the winner, in its announcement of “acquiring” exclusive rights to Seth Rogen in a six-minute short titled, well, Netflix Acquires Seth Rogen.
As for the real trailer to DC’s Shazam!, that could come any second now. What are the chances lightning will strike twice?
Shazam! will be released on April 5, 2019.