I haven’t made a secret of my affection for Sam Raimi‘s Oz The Great and Powerful. I saw the film for the second time tonight and I’m certainly not done with it yet.
And neither, it seems, are Disney as, according to Variety, they’ve already hired Mitchell Kapner to start working on a sequel script.
Kapner wrote the original versions of the film we’re getting this week, before David Lindsay-Abaire did some later work. I can’t tell you who wrote which line or which beat in the finished film, but I promise you, the final screenplay is leaps and bounds ahead of the draft I read a few years back.
If this film will indeed be a sequel then I’ll be very interested in seeing just where on the Oz timeline it falls. I don’t think it spoils anything to tell you that the first movie takes us a long way towards setting the stage for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Though, having said that, there’s clearly still some years to pass before we’d see the arrival of Dorothy Gale in Oz. The Wizard is still rather young, for one thing, and there’s a reference to the Gale family near the beginning which seems to suggest Dorothy’s parents are yet to marry, let alone have a child and then orphan her.
I can see there being good material in setting up the scarecrow, lion and tin woodsman. There are nods and winks to them in Great and Powerful, but they don’t seem to appear – at least not in their best known forms.
Whatever way he goes, Kapner has his work cut out for him here, I think. With Great and Powerful he was just working up to a certain point, building towards The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Here, he’s hemmed in on both sides. He’s still got the same end game in mind, but he also has a defined starting point to work with too.
And he’s used up some of the good material too, drawing on little side-lines in L. Frank Baum’s books, and twisting around some of the most famous Oz tropes.
He could have a tough time just cracking the basic premise.
Unless… well… you don’t think they’d actually make a new film from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, do you? That would be… bold. In any case, I hope they get Sam Raimi back. He absolutely aced it.
More on Oz the Great and Powerful in the morning…