ScreenCrush’s Comic Strip is a weekly roundup of the hottest superhero movie/TV news items. From Marvel to DC and points in between, if it pertains to costumed comic book heroes, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, Dwayne Johnson makes 'Shazam' official, Paul Bettany's Vision is revealed, and Stan Lee's original 'Guardians of the Galaxy' cameo is dissected.

Even Al Pacino Likes 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

'Guardians of the Galaxy' is going to cross $300 million at the box office any day now, officially securing its place as the lone box phenomenon of 2014 and the only film of the year to cross that barrier. More importantly, it's doing 'Iron Man'-level business with characters who are just plain obscure. This means that, moving forward, we're going to see a more fearless Marvel Studios than ever before.

Just how big is 'Guardians of the Galaxy'? Al Pacino brought it up in the middle of an interview about something else altogether just so he could sing its praises:

I don’t have much to say about Hollywood because basically a movie is a movie, a film is a film. I don’t know it, and I never did know what Hollywood does. Apparently, it’s in LA. I just saw 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'… It was amazing. I did find it the most entertaining, inventive, beautiful film. So I’m not anti-that at all.”

Meanwhile, over on Facebook, director James Gunn shared a photo and a story of Stan Lee's original cameo in the film. It sounds funnier than the blink-and-you'll-miss-it version currently in the finished movie, but it also sounds like changing it was probably the best choice:

In the original cut of the film, when the Guardians enter the Collector’s museum, Rocket looks over and sees Cosmo the dog in one display case, Quill looks over into another display case and is surprised by a tentacle slapping against the glass, and Groot looks over and sees, in another display case, Stan Lee. In one take, Stan Lee just slowly turns up his finger, flipping off Groot. We shot this footage with a Stan Lee double because Stan wasn’t able to come to the UK at the time. The plan was to shoot Stan in the same lighting when I was back in LA, and we’d digitally replace the double’s head with Stan’s actual head (not quite as difficult as it sounds). Although I thought the cameo was funny, I thought the flipping off joke was too similar to the moment earlier in the film where Quill flips off the Nova Corps, so I excised that part of it immediately. A couple of the guys at Marvel thought Stan Lee in a case was too broad of a joke in general, and that it took the audience out of the movie. I argued about it for a bit, but we ended up not keeping it in the film.

James Gunn, Facebook

Dwayne Johnson Is Black Adam in 'Shazam' (and Some Non-News)

In the lone piece of genuine DC movie news from the past week, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson finally settled down and decided that he's going to play the villainous Black Adam in the upcoming 'Shazam.' This decision comes after years of Johnson teasing the project, asking fans if they'd rather see him play the heroic and infinitely noble superhero of the title or his complicated nemesis. And then he decided and revealed his plans in a tweet:

With that casting decided, it's now time to get into a deep and geeky discussion about what kind of actors should be considered for Shazam/Captain Marvel himself and ... Oh, wait. That already happened in great detail right over here.

However, one of the biggest concerns of that article was quickly addressed. According to New Line head Toby Emmerich, 'Shazam' won't actually take place in the regular DC universe. Yep, that means no interactions with Ben Affleck's Batman and no battles with Henry Cavill's Superman. However, that also means the movie could very well be free of Warner Bros.' silly "no jokes" policy. After all, a movie about a kid who transforms into a superhero when he says a magic word would be awfully silly if it didn't have a sense of humor about itself. Here's his full quote:

It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character, and it’s not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies. It will have a sense of fun and a sense of humor. But the stakes have to be real.

But that's about it for real news, honestly. The internet was briefly a'buzz with news that Warner Bros. had bought domain names for 'Aquaman' and 'Wonder Woman' movies, but it was quickly revealed that the studio bought those well over a decade ago. Oh, and someone snapped more photos of Henry Cavill on the 'Batman vs. Superman' set.

Yep, he still looks like Clark kent.

First Look at Paul Bettany as The Vision

Marvel Studios probably would have wanted to reveal Paul Bettany's The Vision with a little bit of fanfare. They probably would have liked to release an official photo. They probably would have wanted to control his reveal as closely as possibly. Instead, we have our first look at the new member of the Avengers team because some guy decided to pose in front of a promotional poster at a products expo -- though, in his defense, he deleted the below pic from Instagram soon after.


His colors may be different from his comic book counterpart, but that's definitely him! Only the most hardcore of comic book nitpickers can take issue with that design. In any case, we're excited to see Bettany's J.A.R.V.I.S. finally get a body of his own after four films of being a disembodied voice. Bettany's too good of an actor to let him languish offscreen!

A Little Bit of 'Arrow' and a Whole Lot of 'The Flash'

Despite Liam Neeson casually saying that he'd gladly play the part again, 'Arrow' has gone and cast its own Ra's Al Ghul and this time it's not some white guy.

Just kidding! Once again, this traditionally Middle Eastern villain will be portrayed by some pasty guy. We're sure actor Matthew Nable will be perfectly fine in the part, but it's disappointing to see 'Arrow' not embrace this character's ethnicity and hire an actor with the proper background. Superhero movies and shows are already ridiculously caucasian -- this could have been a chance to stand out and cast someone that both honors the character and (literally) adds color to the ensemble.

Speaking of white guys getting cast in The CW shows based on DC comic book characters, 'Prison Break' star Dominic Purcell has joined the cast of 'The Flash' as the villainous Heat Wave, making him the 1,147th (or some other ridiculously high number) C-list villain to join the ranks of the show's first season. We kid (and we kid because we hope we're going to love), but this show seems to have more villains than practically every other superhero film combined.

And while we're on the subject of 'The Flash,' a new trailer for the show has popped up online, just in case the dozen or so others haven't sold you on this thing yet:

And finally, the characters of Eddie Thawne and Caitlin Snow got their own brief featurettes, just in case you're so excited for 'The Flash' that you'll watch promotional material on anyone and everyone:

And the Rest of TV...

Believe it or not, there are DC Comics shows that are not on The CW.

FOX's 'Gotham' revealed a new series of behind-the-scenes videos and while they don't offer too much new information, they're better than nothing in an otherwise relatively slow news week:

Better than those, though, is a two-minute look at Oswald Cobblepot, the crook who will eventually become The Penguin. We doubt this show will have the nerve to give him an umbrella tricked out with weapons and a sewer lair filled with penguin servants, but we can dream, right?

Over on NBC, 'Constantine' cast Emmett Scanian as Jim Corrigan, the police officer who eventually becomes the ghostly superhero known as The Spectre. Of course, he only becomes The Spectre after he is killed in the line of duty and resurrected as a justice-seeking spirit, so Scanian can probably look forward to a cool death scene and a cooler resurrection scene.

Finally, 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' mastermind Greg Berlanti has teamed up with 'No Ordinary Family' creator Ali Adler to develop a 'Supergirl' series for television. Details are scarce at the moment, but it's a decision that makes perfect sense. After all, someone has to bring the DC B-listers to the small screen...

No 'Iron Man 4'? Plus, Everything Else

First things first, let's finally put those 'Iron Man 4' rumors to rest, shall we? In a new interview, Robert Downey Jr. debunked rumors that we'd eventually get a fourth 'Iron Man' by saying:

There isn’t one in the pipe. No, there’s no plan for a fourth ‘Iron Man.’ ... I like that the idea is that it would be up to me, like I’m [the] casting director for Marvel.

Elsewhere, the actor says that Scarlett Johansson should have her own solo 'Black Widow' movie. Heck, Robert Downey Jr. thinks every Avenger should have his or her own solo movie:

It would be kind of more appropriate for a character that already was like a Black Widow (to lead a movie). It just seems like whatever Scarlett does people want to go see it. The funny thing is honestly at this point everyone deserves a franchise. I think Jeremy Renner is – when folks see the Avengers: Age of Ultron he’s just a rockstar, a badass. And Ruffalo is pumped. He does great (work). I’d like to hear them talk even more seriously about a Hulk franchise, because that’s been one of the toughest ones to get right. But I’m sure that my parent company is feeling expansive and and bold after the summer they’ve had.

With the script being written as you read this, 'X-Men: Apocalypse' made plans to begin filming in Montreal early next year.

Yep, Disney is really doubling down on Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes being the game kids buy later this year. Well, technically, they're doubling down on it being the game that kids beg their parents to buy them later this year.

And last but not least, Disney revealed an extended clip from 'Big Hero 6,' which is short on action but big on silly humor and truly adorable robots: