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WIRE Buzz: Umbrella Academy sets July return; Taika Waititi reads Roald Dahl; The CW episode counts

By Josh Weiss
The Umbrella Academy

The Hargreeves family reunion is officially set for Friday, July 31. Netflix made The Umbrella Academy Season 2 announcement in the most clever way possible by having the core cast (Ellen Page, Tom Hooper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, and Justin H. Min) recreate the Wes Anderson-esque dance sequence — set to Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now" — from Season 1.

As you'll see, all of the actors shot their parts from home.

Watch below:

The Umbrella Academy Season 2 | Official Date Announce | Netflix

Based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy is about a group of dysfunctional superheroes who were all psychologically damaged by their emotionally distant father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore).

Blending story elements from the first two comic book arcs ("Apocalypse Suite" and "Dallas"), Season 1 ended with the titular team time traveling to a safer place just as Vayna (Page) brought about the end of the world.

Ritu Arya (Humans), Yusuf Gatewood (Good Omens), and Marin Ireland (Sneaky Pete) are playing new characters in the second season.

Writer-director Taika Waititi is heading a multi-part read-along of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, SYFY WIRE has confirmed. The virtual event (organized with the help and blessing of the Roald Dahl Story Company) will benefit Partners in Health, a non-profit that is battling the coronavirus pandemic in the world's most vulnerable areas.

The read-along kicks off today and new episodes (there are to be 10 in total) will be posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to the Roald Dahl YouTube channel. 

Meryl Streep, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong'o, Billy Porter, Sarah Paulson, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jamie Cullum, Roman Griffin Davis, Cynthia Erivo, Beanie Feldstein, Josh Gad, Kumail Nanjiani, Gordon Ramsay, Eddie Redmayne, Ben Schwartz, Tessa Thompson, Olivia Wilde, Ruth Wilson, and Archie Yates are among the celebrities who have been tapped to read different parts of the celebrated kids' book from their homes. Funny voices and sound effects are included.

Check out the first two episodes now:

"Being an adult child myself and having read James and the Giant Peach to my girls multiple times, I’m excited to be able to partner with my friends, the Dahl team and Partners in Health and re-tell this story to help those most in need right now," Waititi said in a statement. "This wacky, wonderful tale is about resilience in children, triumph over adversity and dealing with a sense of isolation which couldn't been more relevant today."

“We are so delighted to be able to support this retelling of James and the Giant Peach and not only bring a moment of joy and escapism to children and families at this very tough time — but also to raise vital funds for Partners in Health. We’re incredibly grateful and excited to have Taika and so many incredible stars taking part. We can’t wait for people to see what we’ve got in store — it’s going to be absolutely GIGANTIC fun," added Luke Kelly, managing director of the Roald Dahl Story Company.

James and the Giant Peach tells the story of James Henry Trotter, a young boy who is sent to live with his wicked aunts after his parents are eaten by a rhino. After dropping some magic crystals at the foot of a peach tree, he embarks on a wild adventure in the eponymous oversized fruit, which is filled with talking insects.

Get more info here.

Waititi is the perfect person to lead the charge, as he's currently developing two Willy Wonka-inspired projects for Netflix, one of them being an original spinoff centered around the Oompa Loompas.

Last week, we learned that The CW was pushing nearly all of its new and returning content to January 2021. While live-action productions are still on hold amid the pandemic, the network is reportedly planning to film full seasons once things return to a certain sense of normalcy.

That could be late fall, which means there would be an incredibly short turnaround time for shooting 20+ episodes of Arrowverse shows like The Flash, Batwoman, and Supergirl.

Arrowverse heroes Flash Supergirl Legends Batwoman

“We are planning our normal episodic counts,” CW president Mark Pedowitz told TVLine. “We have some shows that’ll have 22 or 20 [episodes], we’ll have some shows at 13. We plan to continue [with that goal in mind], and we’ll see how the world progresses."

The Supernatural series finale is set for the fall period, as are acquired/off-season shows Swamp Thing, Tell Me a StoryDead Pixels, and Two Sentence Horror Stories.