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WIRE Buzz: Shazam! director’s cut cartoon cameo; David Harbour gets Stranger Things sentimental; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Showing off superhero lightning powers in Shazam

DC’s Shazam! was plenty of popcorn-munching fun even without all the stuff that didn’t make the final cut. But now that we’ve seen this abandoned background cartoon from director David F. Sandberg, we kind of wish it had found its moment of silly Shazam! screen time.

Sandberg shared a clip of the Frankenstein-themed ‘toon, a “bad” bit of filler the creative team originally intended to have playing on a TV in the background (though he didn’t say which scene). “I of course saw it as a chance to animate and do dumb voices myself,” he told Instagram fans. “This is how far I got before we decided to cut the scene.”

For an intentionally bad cartoon, that’s pretty good, right? And at least we still got to hear Sandberg voice a role in something that did make the movie: He’s the voice actor behind Mister Mind. If you missed Shazam! in theaters, you don’t have too long to wait before getting a lightning-crack at it on your TV. Billy Batson’s superhero coming-of-age story arrives on streaming platforms on July 2.

The arrival of Stranger Things’ hugely anticipated third season is now only a little more than a month off, and while we’ve seen trailers, teases, and even a tie-in game, there’s still plenty we don’t know about the Hawkins gang’s upcoming summer of fun.

One thing we weren’t necessarily expecting, amid all the goofy previews we’ve seen, is the idea that Netflix may also be ramping up the sentimentality, though. But police chief Jim Hopper himself says there’ll be moments this time out that will challenge you, if you’re the weepy sort, to hold back the tears — especially if you’re already invested in the bond he’s forged with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).

"His daughter is becoming a teenager and beginning to find herself, so that's scarier for Hopper than any Demogorgon creature that he's going to have to deal with,” David Harbour, who plays Hopper on the show, told a fan panel over the weekend, via Digital Spy. “You get to see a lot of that throughout the season, and it's very unexpected what happens in the end, and it's very, very moving. I think Episode 8 is the most moving thing we've ever shot.”

For a guy who just got finished playing a demon in Neil Marshall’s rebooted Hellboy, that’s actually kind of saying something. We’ll get to see (and maybe even cry) for ourselves when Stranger Things Season 3 hits Netflix on July 4.

DC’s recent reveal of changes coming to its current 100-issue run of Batman comics makes a little more sense in light of what writer Tom King has revealed he’s working on next: a Batman/Catwoman mini-series illustrated by Clay Mann (who also paired with King on Heroes in Crisis).

Starting next January, the ongoing Batman series will leave off its current twice-monthly schedule to return to a once-a-month run, “allowing DC to incorporate the monthly BATMAN title into the larger DC universe and continuity,” the company said in a press release. But alongside the change will come the new King/Mann collaboration, which DC shared a first glimpse of via Twitter:

King and DC are both pitching the new series as a way to bring more Batman, on more fronts, to fans. King called the new project “an ambitious, accessible, beautiful, thrilling new series that concludes years of stories and defines what Batman is, can, and will be,” adding that it’s “the story I always wanted to tell, and I’m telling it with the man I consider to be the greatest artist in comics, my brother Clay Mann.”

Look for Batman/Catwoman to keep the romance going beginning in January of 2020.