Shaq and Sinbad Almost Cameoed in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

It has been less than a week since Shazam! Fury of the Gods first soared into theaters, continuing the story of Billy Batson / Shazam! and his superpowered family. One of the most buzzed-about elements of Fury of the Gods so far has been its cameos — some of which were spoiled already in the film's marketing, and some of which are surprises within the film. As Fury of the Gods director David F. Sandberg recently revealed, two well-known pop culture icons almost made a cameo in the film, before it fell apart. Obviously, spoilers for Shazam! Fury of the Gods below! Only look if you want to know!

In the third act of the film, a number of Philadelphia civilians cheer on Shazam! as he is fighting Kalypso (Lucy Liu) — and they all refer to him by different monikers. As Sandberg revealed, the original plan was for David "Sinbad" Atkins to appear as one of the civilians, but it fell through due to a health issue. The filmmakers then secured Shaquille O'Neal to take Sinbad's place, but he dropped out days before. Either of these cameos would have poked fun at similarly-titled movies of the past — an urban legend posits that Sinbad starred in Shazaam, a genie movie from the 1990s that never actually existed. Shaq, meanwhile, did star in the very real 1996 genie movie Kazaam.

What is Shazam! 2 about?

In Shazam! Fury of the Gods, when Billy Batson and his foster siblings, who transform into superheroes by saying "Shazam!", are forced to get back into action and fight the Daughters of Atlas, they must stop them from using a weapon that could destroy the world in which they must travel in order to make peace with the Gods because of Billy taking their powers for granted.

The film stars Asher Angel and Zachary Levi as Billy Batson / Shazam!, Grace Caroline Currey as Mary Bromfield, Adam Brody as Super Hero Freddy, Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley, Meagan Good as Super Hero Darla, Ian Chen as Eugene Choi, Ross Butler as Super Hero Eugene, Jovan Armand as Pedro Pena, D.J. Cotrona as Super Hero Pedro, Marta Milans as Rosa Vasquez, and Cooper Andrews as Victor Vasquez. New cast members also include Rachel Zegler as Anthea, Helen Mirren as Hespera, and Lucy Liu as Kalypso.

"I loved the first Shazam movie," producer Peter Safran explained in an interview last year. "I thought it was beautifully done. I thought that David Sandberg nailed that tone so incredibly well. The eye of the needle was so small to get it right, but he really did nail it. I feel like this second one has more emotion, more humor, but it also has bigger action, bigger set pieces, some great villains. I just feel like it's everything that we loved in the first movie but really turned up to 11. So I love it."

"I think the addition of some of these new characters with Rachel Zegler and Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu are fantastic editions," Safran continued. "I love that the kids are all a little bit older now so we get to have a little bit more fun in kind of an edgier fashion with them. Zach inhabits that character in such a beautiful fashion. So to have been able to make a second one of those, it's a thrill."

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now playing exclusively in theaters.