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Shazam!’s 2 end-credits scenes, explained

Spoiler alert.

Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman puts his hand on the chest of Zachary Levi playing the character of Shazam.
Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman and Zachary Levi as Shazam in New Line Cinema’s action adventure “SHAZAM!,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Steve Wilkie/ & (c) DC Comics
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Shazam! has two credits scenes: a mid-credits scene that could tease out a future sequel and an end-credits scene that’s more of a joke.

For over a decade now, most comic superhero movies have come with credits scenes. Marvel’s interconnected superhero universe is largely responsible, as the studio essentially invented the practice of embellishing the credits of its films with Easter eggs and scenes that hint at future movies and future heroes (see: Avengers: Infinity War’s credits scene referencing Captain Marvel).

Warner Bros. has now adopted the habit with its DC Comics films, albeit more inconsistently. Wonder Woman didn’t have one at all while Justice League had two. Aquaman had one, but it was kind of a dud. Shazam!’s two are better.

Here’s what happens in Shazam!’s two end-credits scenes:

1) Mr. Mind introduces himself to Doctor Sivana

At the end of the movie, Doctor Sivana is defeated, and the credits scene picks up with Sivana scrawling all kinds of symbols in his jail cell. He’s in solitary confinement. And the symbols he’s drawing are the same ones we see in the movie that the wizard uses to transport himself to his magical lair. Sivana is clearly trying to capture the magic that was given to him by the villains of the movie, the Seven Deadly Sins — and he’s seemingly losing his sanity in doing so.

But then Sivana hears a disembodied voice that tells him it can help. Given Sivana’s mental state, the voice could be a hallucination, but then the camera zooms in on a little air vent or grate in Sivana’s cell: The voice is coming from a little inch-worm or caterpillar-like creature who’s talking about world domination. If you were paying attention earlier in the movie, you may remember that the worm appears at the wizard’s lair. But we don’t hear much more from it; the scene ends shortly thereafter.

What it means: Okay, so this scene may just come off weird or silly to people who are unfamiliar with comic books. It might even come off weird and silly to people who are familiar with comic books. But the worm guy is actually a vaunted comic book villain, an alien Venusian worm called Mister Mind:

A comic book panel of a small green caterpillar character, speaking in an alien language.
Mister Mind in DC Comics.
DC Comics

Mister Mind is a space worm with powerful psionic abilities; he’s a master at telepathy and mind control. He’s the leader of an organization called the Monster Society of Evil. And it just so happens that he is one of Shazam’s most infamous villains.

Considering Mister Mind’s comic book history with Shazam, this credits scene seems to set up Mister Mind as a villain in a possible Shazam! sequel. Seeing Shazam go up against a tiny, telepathic, genius worm fits into the silliness of the character’s story, but one thing to keep in mind is that Black Adam — who will be played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a solo film of his own — is also one of Shazam’s archenemies, and his movie is scheduled to go into production next year.

And in Black Adam’s comic book origin story, Sivana has a role in resurrecting the villain. So this scene could point to Mister Mind laying the groundwork for Sivana summoning or creating Black Adam.

2) Shazam learns he can’t talk to fish

The second credits scene is a jokey reference to Aquaman.

Throughout Shazam!, Freddy conducts a battery of tests to try to figure out what Billy/Shazam’s powers are, looking for everything from super-strength to teleportation to flying.

The movie’s second credits scene reveals a final test: one to see if Billy can talk to fish.

Billy fails, but not before dissing fish-talking as a superpower — a callback to the classic burn that Aquaman isn’t a very helpful superhero because all he can do is speak to marine life. The comment is also a somewhat gloating reminder, on Warner Bros.’ part, of the success of the studio’s Aquaman movie, which earned positive reviews and made $1.1 billion worldwide — proof that a fish-talking hero is actually kinda cool. Freddy reminds Billy that Aquaman is indeed awesome, and shows off his T-shirt with Aquaman’s logo on it.

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