On Sunday, the director of the upcoming DC Extended Universe film Shazam, David F. Sandberg, posted a trailer for the movie on his Twitter account.
Yes, you might realize that Sunday was April Fools’ Day, and no, it was not a real trailer for the movie, which after all only began production in February.
The first twenty-five seconds of the 1:05 trailer do look like a real trailer, though: it begins with the DC Comics logo, a realistic thunderstorm, and then a black screen with a heavy, dramatic pause. “Billy Batson…it is time,” a deep voice says.
Then the faux trailer suddenly switches to a scene from the old CBS Shazam series, with goofy music playing as the main character, superhero Captain Marvel, flies after a woman on a runaway horse. He manages to get her off of it, and the horse runs away while the logo appears, flashing the title Shazam: The Rise of Ponysmasher—a joke on Sandberg’s own Twitter handle.
“I’m just going to leave this here…” the director posted with the video.
The Shazam franchise focuses on Billy Batson, a young boy who is given the power to transform into an adult superhero when he says the magical word “Shazam!” It was one of the most popular superhero series back in the old days (when it was called Captain Marvel) and had a bit of a renaissance in the 1970s and early 1980s, but has become somewhat obscure these days.
The CBS series, made by Filmation, starred Michael Gray as a teenage Billy Batson and first Jackson Bostwick, then John Davey as Captain Marvel. It aired from 1974 to 1976, and is generally not remembered by any but Shazam aficionados.
The upcoming movie will follow its lead by aging Billy up to a teen (because competent child actors are hard to find), with Asher Angel co-starring with Zachary Levi as the superhero. It has been promoted as a more lighthearted entry into the DCEU, and Sandberg’s frequent jokes and pranks with the fans are, in a way, helping to reassure them of that fact.
Shazam is scheduled for release on April 5, 2019, and a real trailer shouldn’t be expected until at least after Aquaman (coming out in December 2018) gets one.