Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Shazam!
The Superman cameo in Shazam! may be the most obvious DCEU connection fans will be talking about, but it’s not the biggest. Thanks to one tiny Easter Egg, Shazam! seems to confirm that Bruce Wayne has retired as Batman once already. AND the identity of his replacement.
In hindsight it’s a shame that BOTH connections to the DCEU’s Batman and Superman are bittersweet, since neither Henry Cavill nor Ben Affleck are likely to ever appear in the roles post-Shazam. But as Warner Bros. pumps the brakes on fleshing out their shared movie universe, it’s up to the fans to start filling in the gaps. So even if Justice League gave Bruce Wayne a brand new mission to save the world, Shazam! gives a terrific nod to the story that saw him abandon the role in DC’s New 52–and to the fan-favorite, shredded Gotham cop who took over as Batman in his place.
The Batman Easter Egg in Shazam’s Toy Store
There are honestly too many DCEU Easter Eggs and references in Shazam! to count so far, and that’s mostly thanks to Freddy Freeman’s obsession with Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and the rest of DC’s heroes. Whether it’s the t-shirts worn by Freddy, the souvenir Batarang he has in his bedroom, or the newspapers referencing the Man of Steel attack and Superman’s subsequent headlines, it’s clear that these are directly connected to the movie versions of the heroes. And in a world where the Justice League are celebrities and not just fictional characters, they are used to sell merchandise all the same. A point made perfectly clear when Shazam! shows what a toy store looks like in the DCEU post-Justice League.
The audience may have some difficulty taking in all of the merchandise contained inside the toy store, since Billy Batson is running through it in terror, pursued by Dr. Sivana. A large toy version of Batman is used to draw attention to the pop culture status of the world’s actual heroes, but one other item is likely to be missed. The Batman figure? That just acknowledges Batman’s existence. But this toy… acknowledges so much more.
The Batman: Superheavy Suit (in Toy Form)
After Billy tosses aside the Batman figure, and immediately before he is tackled off of the Big-esque floor piano, one toy can be seen in the lower right corner of the frame. The yellow-accented Bat symbol will be easy to spot, but the blue armor (complete with shoulder-mounted, yellow-tipped rockets) surrounding that symbol may be harder to place. After conducting some research, we can confidently say that the toy in question is the Fisher-Price Imaginext® DC Super Friends™ Batbot Xtreme.
So why should DC fans care? Because the toy wouldn’t exist without the comic book Bat Armor that it’s based on… and that armor wouldn’t exist if Bruce Wayne hadn’t retired from Batman. The presence of the Batbot toy in the DCEU is all the encouragement we need to connect the dots, and also consider the Batman story it’s based on as fair game. Not only confirmation of Bruce Wayne’s retirement, but his replacement by Detective Jim Gordon, too.