Warner Brothers

There had been buzz that Henry Cavill‘s Superman would make a cameo in ‘Shazam!’, but as the David F. Sandberg comic book flick grew closer to reality, the relationship between Cavill and Warner Brothers was souring to the point that it became clear that Cavill would not be back as the Man of Steel in ‘Shazam!’ or any other projects.

Sandberg and his collaborators had to improvise, and what they cooked up was actually just as fun as a Cavill cameo would have been, if not moreso.  In the finished film, “Superman” appears shot from the shoulders down, Freddy’s face lights up, and… credits!

Who was that man in the molded muscle suit?  As it turns out, it was Zachary Levi‘s own stunt double from the movie, Ryan Handley, who shared this behind-the-scenes shot on Instagram:


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That was cool #shazam #superman #DC @zacharylevi

A post shared by Ryan Handley (@handleystunts) on

In the commentary for the home video release of ‘Shazam!’, Sandberg discussed the alternate ideas for how to end the movie:

“In the script, we had a little scene with Superman — but we only had a very narrow window to shoot this scene in the school, so we tried to make it work with Henry Cavill but schedules did not align.  I was like, ‘what do we do now? We need an ending to our movie,’ So we actually shot a little alternative ending in case we were going to use that where the kids see a hostage situation on TV and they just go out and fly off to deal with that, but it was like, ‘we don’t get the payoff with Shazam’s going to show up at school.’ So we did this thing with our Shazam stunt double in a Superman suit and we just cut out before you see his head. And it worked really well. I thought it was really funny. At first, I was like, ‘This is never going to work, this is going to feel cheap,’ but cutting out on Freddy’s reaction like that, I think is better than what we had originally planned. Originally Superman is supposed to sit down, talk to the kids, Freddy was going to be like ‘I have so many questions,’ and then we were going to cut out, but this sudden cut to the credits just works so much better.”

Sandberg is right.  The sudden cut is much more satisfying than the longer version he described, which comes across as deflated.

How do you feel about the ending of ‘Shazam!’?  Is there another way you think it should have climaxed?