It seems that we’re all entering our second childhood a little early these days (though some of us may never have left our first neener, neener) what with all the reboots of iconic stories and images from those rosy days. While fandom everywhere may have scored a reprieve from another Michael Bay monstrosity with the TMNT remake Disney is resurrecting a 110 year old piece of cultural consciousness.
With their successful launch of a more modern, darker vision of Alice in Wonderland, Disney is giving the directive mind behind Evil Dead and Spiderman Sam Raimi a shot at The Great and Powerful Oz. The movie is set to focus on the origins of the Wizard and James Franco is signed on for the title role. There have been a lot of successful spin offs and retellings of Frank Baum’s classic book series recently, including Gregory Maguire’s extremely popular Wicked series and the musical inspired by it. Which means that beloved fans of Oz should be more open to a new film than some other realms in fandom.
But will Warner Bros.?
Why should Warner Bros. have anything to do with a film based on a book that has been out of copyright for, like, forever? Because the 1939 iconic film Wizard of Oz is a beloved piece of Warner Bros. copyright that they have been defending very strenuously. They have even gone so far as to file a trade mark registration petition for The Great and Powerful Oz one week after Disney filed theirs. The Hollywood Reporter has a great story on all the cases that Warner Bros. has been pursuing involving the works of Baum. Check it out here and draw your own conclusions but my perspective is that they are overreaching to include things based obviously off the original book series.
So will two huge studios go to war over the Emerald City? And if they do who will be left holding the Ruby Slippers?