Barely Related: Hello Kitty is not a cat and other nonsense

Deep breaths, everyone.

Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.

Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.

Hello Kitty isn't (totally) a cat

She's not a girl, either. Hello Kitty resides in a nebulous state of "not quite a cat" and "not quite a girl" (but always "super damn cute"). Hello Kitty is a gijinka, a personification, a Sanrio spokesperson told Rocket News 24. The spokesperson equated Hello Kitty to Mickey Mouse: part animal, part human, all fictional.

This line of questioning spawned from a story earlier in the week on LAist, wherein Hello Kitty expert and anthropologist Christine R. Yano said Sanrio corrected her when she called Hello Kitty a "cat."

"I was corrected – very firmly," Yano said. "That's one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it's called Charmmy Kitty." It's like the Goofy-Pluto deal in Mickey Mouse's world.

But it's all good – hardcore Hello Kitty fans have known for years that their favorite adorable feline is partially human. Good for them. The rest of us can start stitching everything we've ever known about the universe back together with this new information.

Donald for Spider-Man

Donald Glover, former Community actor and rapper under the name Childish Gambino, will voice alternate-reality Spider-Man Miles Morales in Disney XD's animated show, Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors, on Sunday. Miles Morales is a half-black, half-hispanic Spider-Man who meets Peter Parker as the OG webslinger travels through parallel dimensions.

Glover has a history with Spider-Man, when in 2010 he was the center of a social media campaign calling for a non-white person – namely Glover himself – to play Spider-Man in the live-action movie. That campaign helped inspire writer Brian Michael Bendis to create the character Miles Morales in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics series. For the record, we think Glover would be pretty amazing as Spider-Man on-camera, though we're looking forward to his off-camera performance this weekend.

"That's the great part about the Spider-Man costume: He can be anybody," Glover tells USA Today. "Spider-Man could be a girl. Spider-Man could be an old man. You don't know. So I just tried to be as me as possible, because you're always just going to bring it back to yourself when you watch the show."

Harry Potter director rumored to return for Fantastic Beasts

David Yates, Director of the final four Harry Potter films, is in talks to helm the spin-off movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Variety reports, citing information from "insiders."

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is Harry Potter author JK Rowling's screenwriting debut, and it takes place almost 100 years before Harry's story begins. The film is set in New York and follows Newt Scamander, author of the classic textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The film is scheduled to hit theaters on November 18, 2016. Until then, enjoy this fan-made poster from Alice Beckstrom that imagines Tom Hiddleston in the role of Newt.

Shutter Island: The HBO spinoff

Paramount Television and HBO are working to bring the 2010 psychological thriller Shutter Island to the small screen as a show tentatively called Ashecliffe, Deadline reports. Ashecliffe is the name of the mental institute that really messes with Leonardo DiCaprio's head and life in the film. Martin Scorsese directed Shutter Island, and he's on board to direct the first episode of Ashecliffe from a script by Dennis Lehane, the author of the novel that inspired Shutter Island in the first place, the early report says.

The first trailer for Jon Stewart's directorial debut, Rosewater

Rosewater is a scripted film that follows the real-life imprisonment of Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari in Iran during the country's 2009 elections, as directed by The Daily Show's Jon Stewart and starring The Motorcyle Diaries' Gael Garcia Bernal. This is Stewart's first time directing a film, and his involvement stems from his own role in Bahari's four months of imprisonment and interrogation in Iran.

Bahari's appearance on The Daily Show aired days before he was captured and it was used against him in interrogations. After his release, Bahari returned to The Daily Show to rehash his ordeal, and Stewart announced he would be heading up a film based on Bahari's time in Iran. Rosewater is due in theaters in November.

Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning

Neil Gaiman is this week finishing up the final piece in a new short story collection titled TRIGGER WARNING: Short Fictions and Disturbances. It's due out in February and it sounds like it would make a great Valentine's Day present.

"I'm finishing the very last short story of the next collection RIGHT NOW," Gaiman said in response to a question on his Tumblr. "Everything else has been written: the stories, the introduction, all that."

Neil Gaiman round two: American Gods show takes a cue from Game of Thrones

First: Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods is getting a TV adaptation from Hannibal writer Bryan Fuller, Heroes co-executive producer Michael Green and Gaiman himself. It's scheduled to shoot in 2015 and hit the airwaves in 2016 on Starz.

Second: The TV show is going to stay true to the book's events and it will address the novel's complexity in a scope similar to Game of Thrones, Fuller tells CraveOnline. "It's basically following the events of the books, but expanding those events, and expanding the point of view to go above and beyond Shadow and Wednesday," he said. "In that way, as with Game of Thrones, there are dozens of characters that you're tracking through the events and that's probably the biggest similarities between the worlds, in that there's a wide variety of characters at play."

PAX Prime 2014 is definitely happening right now

Check out all of the news and previews direct from the show floor and numerous mysterious meeting rooms right here.