David F. Sandberg Is '100%' Going To Return To Horror After 'Shazam 2'; A 'Lights Out' Sequel Could Still Happen [Comic-Con]

David F. Sandberg's rise is one that could make any aspiring filmmaker envious. During his 20s, he made short films on YouTube under the name "ponysmasher" (still his handle on Twitter). His 2013 horror short "Lights Out," about a humanoid figure who disappears when the light shines, attracted enough attention that he was able to make it into a feature in 2016. Now he's a full-blown blockbuster director; "Shazam!" earned the best reviews of the DCEU this side of "Wonder Woman" and "The Suicide Squad." The sequel, subtitled "Fury of the Gods," will be released on December 21, 2022.

/Film's Ryan Scott got to speak with Sandberg at San Diego Comic-Con about what he plans to do next. Here's what he had to say.

'A little, simple horror movie'

When asked if he plans to return to making horror films, Sandberg's answer was a resounding yes: "100%, two 'Shazam' movies in a row, I'm so ready to do something — a little, simple horror movie would be so great. I kind of need that break."

These plans shouldn't be surprising, since horror is clearly Sandberg's first love. His back-to-back hits of "Lights Out" and "Anabelle: Creation" are doubtless what got him the "Shazam!" job. There's even some horror influence in that movie with the villains; a group of ravenous demons personifying the Seven Deadly Sins. It remains to be seen if "Fury of the Gods" will have similar moments of fright, though the destructive dragon shown in the trailer means there is potential.

Plus, there's the simple fact that making films on the scale of "Lights Out" and "Annabelle: Creation" (shot for $5 million and $15 million, respectively) is less stressful than making a blockbuster. For reference: "Shazam!" was shot for $100 million and "Fury of the Gods" is likely in the same ballpark. After making two such projects back-to-back, it's understandable that Sandberg wants to shoot something simpler.

Lights Out sequel?

A sequel to "Lights Out" was announced mere days after the original's release in 2016. However, nothing has materialized yet, especially since Sandberg's been busy with "Shazam!" Sandberg was asked by /Film if a sequel to his debut feature is a possibility. He said that "It could still happen, although Gabriel's getting pretty old. I don't know if that matters. It could all take place later. But at the moment, there's not any confirmed plans, really, but we've been talking about it."

Gabriel refers to Gabriel Bateman, who played the twelve-year-old Martin in the film. The main conflict of "Lights Out" is between Martin's older sister Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and their mother Sophie (Maria Bello). Sophie's mental illness is personified by the shadow monster, Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey), which is why Rebecca takes custody of Martin and why Diana in turn begins hunting Sophie's children.

Rebecca and Martin both survive the film, so a sequel would probably revolve around them once more. Sandberg's observation about Bateman's age speaks to the hurdle that a "Lights Out" sequel would have to cross: it's now been six years since the first film, so the iron may not be hot enough to strike anymore. However, while Sandberg's comments are uncertain, they're far from a definite "no." How "Fury of the Gods" is received will probably influence the director's next move too. We'll just have to wait and see.