via Warner Bros.
The superhero genre has been defined by its cameo appearances, surprise guest stars, and crowd-pleasing returns more than ever in the 15 years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe rewrote the rulebook, but it was Shazam! Fury of the Gods that very nearly pulled off what would have been an unquestionable stroke of genius.
It all dates back to one of the most prominent Mandela Effects you’re ever likely to come across, with its origins traced to an infamous disaster that’s long been lauded as one of the worst fantasy flicks ever made. In the summer of 1996, Shaquille O’Neal once more proved his big screen stardom credentials to be non-existent when he headlined Kazaam, which should have been forgotten in an instant.
However, at around the same time, people became 100 percent convinced that Sinbad had starred in a film called Shazaam where he too played a genie like his towering NBA counterpart. The only problem is that it never existed to begin with, leading to an entire generation becoming increasingly confused by the revelation that so many of them had made up an entire feature they vividly recall as a shining beacon of their childhood.
Sensing an opportunity, Fury of the Gods director David F. Sandberg had the phenomenal idea of bringing one of O’Neal and Sinbad into the fold to poke fun at the legendary misremembrance, but it tragically wasn’t to be.
Having Kazaam‘s O’Neal or the entirely fabricated Shazaam‘s Sinbad pop up in a sequel to Sandberg’s DCU blockbuster Shazam! would have been a mind-blowing deep cut, and we’re not even being hyperbolic to state that it would be the most delightfully meta and self-aware moment in the history of the entire comic book adaptation.