Spoiler: who's that in the post-credits scene of Shazam?
Be aware: the following article is one gigantic spoiler. If you’re planning to watch Shazam and don't want to ruin your end-credits scene experience, close this tab right now. What follows after the trailer? Spoilers en masse. For everyone else: let's do this!
Dr. Sivana has been defeated, Shazam has shared his powers and found his mother. The credits are rolling. Then – cut. We get to see Dr. Sivana scribbling wildly onto the walls in his prison cell. Mystical symbols. One thing’s for sure: Sivana hasn't been defeated just yet.
A laugh. A metallic voice.
«Primitive symbols. You walking, talking monkeys with your cave drawings. You assume there's only one way to gain magic.»
Sivana turns around. A green caterpillar with white eyes and two feelers is standing in front of his cell. This thing can speak?
Indeed. This is Mr. Mind, one of Shazam's oldest archenemies.
Shazam vs. Hitler
Mr. Mind first appeared in «Captain Marvel Adventures #22», which was published on 26 March 1943. At that time, Marvel Comics was called Timely Comics and Marvel was only a Shell Company, which appeared for the first time in 1944. That's why Shazam was called Captain Marvel back then. In the comic books, the superhero is sometimes still called that. But for legal reasons, he’s called «Shazam» in the movie.
In the story «The Monster Society of Evil», one of eight stories in the 10-cent magazine, radio reporter and child Billy Batson reports about a visit of an oriental princess.
In his early teens, Billy Batson is already a world star in the radio scene. But this time around, his radio signals reach far into space and are picked up by a certain Mr. Mind. And what does he do? Mr. Mind calls one of the world’s worst villains: Captain Nazi.
He tells Captain Nazi to steal the princess's magical jewels. That would be good news for the axis of evil.
When Mr. Mind is asked about the reasons for his actions and whether he is on the Axis side, he replies that he’s only doing it because it is evil.
But the first attempt to steal the jewels fails. To use the magic, the Nazis need to have two jewels and one them is still in India. So Captain Nazi and the Princess head out to get the missing jewels. That’s when Captain Marvel interrupts their travel planning and talks to Mr. Mind for the first time. The latter reveals that he’s so smart he will never show himself.
But Mind has no real need to communicate. He's just trying to stall for time until the Monster Society of Evil arrives. Mr. Mind has assembled the most powerful enemies of Captain Marvel: the brilliant but evil scientist, Dr. Sivana, the super-strong Ibac, the martial arts champion Nippo the Nipponese and the musical spy Mr. Banjo.
Can Captain defeat them? Will the Nazis win? The issue ends before the story ends. To be continued. And Mr. Mind remains a secret.
The caterpillar shows its face
The first time readers see Mr. Mind is in issue #26 of Captain Marvel Adventures when Billy Batson is still chasing the Monster Society of Evil. A caterpillar falls onto Billy Batson's shoulder and he just sweeps it away.
What the radio reporter doesn't know is that he just pushed the world’s worst villain off is shoulder with one movement of his hand. Billy has no time for the caterpillar, as he’s attacked by a hulk who wraps his hands firmly around his head and closes off his mouth so the teenager can't say his magic word «Shazam» that turns him into the superhero Captain Marvel. But then, just before he’s numbed by the hulk, Billy manages to say the word.
A fight ensues. It takes mighty headbutt to eliminate the villain.
In the end, the caterpillar Mr. Mind escapes, because Captain Marvel assumed all the time that the hulk was Mr. Mind. This is a trick performed by clever Mr. Mind who has the magical ability to project voices from anywhere.
This is revealed in the following issue, #27, when the racist character Steamboat almost bites the supervillain in two when he’s hiding in an apple. Later on, the green villain is almost crushed by Captain Marvel's boots.
Small and weak but highly intelligent
Mr. Mind has appeared in a total of 178 comic editions. Not because he's such a great villain, but because he’s a giant monster and every now and then, a hero needed an opponent readers could laugh about.
At some point, the authors at Fawcett Comics, later bought up by DC Comics, wondered who Mr. Mind actually was. He comes from a distant world, sometimes from another dimension or the planet Venus, where he belongs to a race of weak underground worms. But he's an outsider there. With a genius intellect and high ambitions, Mr. Mind wants more than what’s destined for a worm. But he's small, weak and has no hands.
Chance has it that Mr. Mind discovers his ability to take control of an individual’s mind, sometimes by hypnosis. He has a pair of glasses, a voice amplifier and a lab built. Nothing is in the way of his plan to take over the world.
Except Captain Marvel, known in the movie as Shazam.
Mr. Mind is sentenced to death but survives his own execution and continues to fight against Captain Marvel. Until the DC comic event called «52» when he takes over a robot called Skeets and kills time travellers. That’s when he attacks the Japanese superhero team called Super Young Team.
Later on, he attacks Lex Luthor. And then he meets an old friend again: Dr. Sivana. Whether large or small, beaten or time-killing: there’s no stopping Mr. Mind. And he’s obviously part of the Shazam sequel.