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Shazam 2's Biggest Failure? Forget The DCU Reboot - It Dropped The Ball By Punting On Mister Mind

Let's face it, this year's slate of DC films feel more like participation badge winners than integral jigsaw pieces of a bigger franchise. 

Unless "Shazam: Fury of the Gods" rocks and rolls with audiences in a huge way, it seems fated that Zachary Levi's goofy superhero will be swept away with the rest of the old DCEU, rather than joining the ranks of DCU carryovers like Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). It's a shame, really. Critically, the first "Shazam!" was met with an exceedingly positive reception, earning 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Putting the "cheese" in "Big Red Cheese," David F. Sandberg's story of a boy getting superpowers to become a big adult hero to the people of Philadelphia was a refreshing pivot away from the DCEU's dark, divisive takes on Superman, Batman, and the "Justice League" of that time. 

However, the biggest letdown is that if this Shazam doesn't join the DCU, the first movie's ending tease will forever be remembered as a disappointing non-starter. Because while, yes, "Shazam!" did hint at the existence of Shazam's cold-hearted counterpart Black Adam (even though Dwayne Johnson wanted no part in that), comic book fans know that the most glorious part of the entire movie was that moment in the post-credit stinger which revealed a character so weird, so wacky, so positively bonkers that non-comic readers must've done a double-take.

Remember Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) etching out absolute jibber-jabber on his prison cell wall, before being interrupted by an unfamiliar visitor, who just happens to be a little green caterpillar with a chest plate and plans for inter-realm domination? Yeah, that's right — remember Mister Mind? Because "Shazam: Fury of the Gods" decided not to make the Mister Mind-focused sequel that we all spent four years hoping for, and that's a genuine bummer. 

Mister Mind ... that name again, that name again, is Mister Mind

To be fair, it's possible that the "Shazam" sequel has a Mister Mind cameo hiding in it. Guess what? That's not good enough. He's supposed to be the big bad. And as much as we love Helen Mirren, Rachel Zegler, and Lucy Liu giving us the ... well, fury of the gods, their supervillainous shenanigans are simply no match for the long-standing arch-nemesis of The World's Mightiest Mortal. 

And yes, the maniacal Mister Mind is, indeed, Shazam's greatest foe. In the comics, this brilliant worm creature debuted in 1943. He has always been a recurring threat, whether he's a tiny little guy, a colossal monster, or even at one point invading the White House by crawling inside an ear canal to play puppet master. He's undoubtedly one of the weirdest parts of Shazam's world, proving that sometimes your most formidable opponent is one that might be munching on your aunt's prized geraniums.

This bug with bad intentions has done it all in the comics. He has teamed up with Sivana, as teased in the film, and even led a supervillain group, the Monster Society of Evil. In early assemblies of this organization, even Black Adam himself took orders from this grub with dreams of world domination. 

When you see how zany this all is, it becomes clear what a missed opportunity it is for Mister Mind to not be the primary bad guy of "Shazam! Fury of the Gods." If he was the main villain, this movie could've been the ultimate wild, kooky swan song to the DCEU, or even lined up perfectly with the quirky sensibilities of new Starro-loving DC maestro James Gunn. Seriously, let's just imagine what a Mister Mind-led "Shazam!" sequel could've been, shall we? 

Mister Mind could've given us the Shazam 2 we all wanted

Now, picture this: instead of "Fury of the Gods," and instead of the hierarchy-shifting "Black Adam" film we got, what if Dwayne Johnson's antihero had been in "Shazam: Fury of Mister Mind," as the titular caterpillar's muscle out of time?

Just imagine Black Adam taking orders from a caterpillar. Ridiculous right? No way on Earth-Prime would this have come to pass with Johnson's career at its current level. Precisely! That's exactly why it should have been what happened. Seeing Johnson barking angrily at his little green boss — a CGI bug with a power complex — would've been positively hysterical, and truly made this film stand out from its DC and Marvel peers. Also, given that we've had space insect threats in "Peacemaker," the stage for such ludicrousness has already been set. Johnson's Adam and Levi's Shazam could've been the chalk and (big red) cheese double-act fans anticipated when a former "champion" was mentioned in the first film, but with a ridiculous twist.

And for the conclusion? Imagine the hero and antihero uniting to face off against Mister Mind, now enlarged into a Godzilla-sized monster. Sure, it sounds wild, but this is a franchise where a kid becomes a superhero and his biggest challenge is buying alcohol. This would've made the "Shazam!" sequel clearly stand out from everything else in theaters, making it a must-see for all genre fans. 

Hopefully Mister Mind will still get his day in the sun, but it should've been today

The future of Billy Batson — at least, the version played by Asher Angel and Zachary Levi — is foggy. It's definitely easy to envision a place for Shazam in Gunn's new DCU, but at this point, nothing is announced in the upcoming slate of DC projects. The same goes for Mister Mind. If the plan from the outset was to have him only truly menace Shazam in a hypothetical third movie, instead of this second one ... well, it must be nice living in that parallel universe where this happens, because "Shazam 3" being part of the DCU doesn't look likely, at present.

That said, there's a good argument that Shazam would actually fit better into the "Gods and Monsters" universe that James Gunn and Peter Safran are building — complete with weird protagonists like Swamp Thing and horror monster commandos — than he ever did in the Snyderverse. Seriously, if James Gunn had been involved in the "Shazam!" franchise, do you think there's any chance he would've neglected to give Mister Mind a key role? Heck, if anything, Mister Mind would've been the centerpiece of a Gunn "Shazam" movie. He loves those sorts of characters. 

It's sad to say, but the likelihood is that Mister Mind's big chance at cinematic stardom in the 2020s would've been a version of "Shazam 2" that never was. Nonetheless, the prison-visiting pest that dropped in on Dr. Sivana was a good enough taster for future audiences to know that he exists. In the future, perhaps a new version of this worm with world domination on the brain can rise and take over the DCU, and we'd all be happier if he did.