Considering that ALICE IN WONDERLAND had such a strong opening this past weekend, it should come as no surprise that talks have revived for a new take on THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ. In fact, according the LA Times, talks have started up again for no less than two takes. The first would be a more traditional remake at New Line and the other would be written by the screenwriter of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and produced by Todd McFarlane (which we've already talked about before, a couple times). ’d say it’s an inevitability, especially with a hit as big as ALICE to follow. I suppose it’s a bit like the premise Sarah Connor put forth at the beginning of TERMINATOR 2… “It’s just a question of which one reaches Oz first.”
When these Oz films hit, it’s a safe bet that they’re going to do gangbusters. The MGM classic is 70 years old and still adored by children (my nieces included). G-Man’s favorite, the Marvel hardcover of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, debuted as a New York Times bestseller. I recall that “steampunk Oz” SyFy mini-series TIN MAN making an impression when it aired. We even have the Emerald City convention coming up real soon. The demand is still there and the Oz books dovetail nicely into studios’ current preference for adapting book series with many installments. As I recall, there’s something like 20 Oz books and RETURN TO OZ has so far been the only movie to broach entries aside from the first.
While McFarlane’s toyline was definitely cool to look at, I think there needs to be a new sub-genre in the fantasy world to label it. There’s sword and sorcery, there’s historical fantasy, there’s urban gothic and so on… there needs to be an official “DARK OZ” label, because the conceit has been used A LOT. Aside from the McFarlane toyline and TIN MAN, there’s those Zenoscope books, there’s all those DARK OZ comics from Caliber and Arrow back in the day and many, many more independent comics and novels I can’t recall off the top of my head.
Anyway… what do you think, oh yellow brick road-walking Comic Vine community? Would you be excited to see Oz rendered in modern effects?
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com .