I honestly thought this was a joke when I saw the thread title. I'm not sure what to think. I adore The Wizard of Oz and love seeing new interpretations of it. That said, all of this scrambling to get a big budget version out is kind of overwhelming. Right now we have the following in the works:
- John Boorman's CG adaptation of the original book, which has yet to be picked up by an American distributor. It's due for release next year and is the only concrete one so far, though no casting info has been revealed. Out of all the ones floating out there, this is the one that's most in-tune with Baum's work.
- Universal's movie version of the musical "Wicked." They've always intended on making this into a film but were waiting for the right time so as not to take away from the show's revenue. Last I heard, a screenplay was being worked on last year. I wonder if this Oz onslaught is going to cause Universal to rush this one out sooner than they expected.
- Todd McFarlane's twisted version of the original story for WB. Supposedly, it's not based on his toy line but still emphasizes the more horrific (and according to him "sexier"?) aspects of the story. WB wasn't too keen on this interpretation last I heard, but McFarlane has pushing to get it made. Now WB is giving it another look it seems.
- Josh Olson's Return to Ozish sequel (called simply "Oz") for WB. This one's close to Tim Burton's Alice in that it's an original sequel, though Olson did say he implemented elements from the other books in this. Last he heard, WB liked the approach but thought the Harry Potter tone he deliberately took was took serious for Oz. Supposedly WB hired screenwriters to lighten it up. Now they're ping-ponging back and forth between this one and McFarlane's, unsure of which approach they want to take.
- Disney's "Brick" which does for the Wizard what "Wicked" did for the Witch: give the character new backstory and (I'm assuming) retell the events of the original story from his perspective. Considering this is Disney, I'm expecting it to have a "Wicked" tone so that it can appeal to a wider audience. I think it's safe to assume this'll be live-action, but anything can change.
Out of all the projects out there, Boorman's sincere adaptation interests me the most, especially after hearing some of his ideas to give the characters more depth (something that should work a lot better for Oz than it did in Burton's Alice).
I really, really want a Wicked movie, but I don't want one at the expense of a sloppy rush job. If it's going to be done, it needs to be done right. It's such an over-the-top, in-your-face type of presentation that it can either be absolutely astounding or utterly obnoxious.
I don't care for McFarlane's approach as it sounds like he wants to make this into something rather seedy. He swears it's going to be lighter than his toy line, but little he's said thus far makes me believe it's going to be anything one can emotionally invest in.
Olson's sounds really interesting to me, and the fact that he wanted this story to feel more like Baum's Oz gives me hope. I just don't want WB to make this so light that it feels inconsequential.
"Brick" sounds like it could be fun if done right, but with the success of "Wicked," I don't think it's wise to pursue this as it comes across as a knock off. If WB decides to pursue McFarlane's re-imagining, Disney should buy the rights to Olson's and get that one going.
And like others have said, it's amazing that with so many canon Oz sequels, people are either re-interpreting the first book or creating new sequels. Let's see where this all goes.
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