Frank L. Baum’s Oz novels haven’t been under copyright for quite some time and it’s been over seven decades since the release of The Wizard of Oz, so it’s probably less surprising that two versions of a remake are in development than it is that there hasn’t been one yet.
There’s been one version attached to Todd McFarlane of Spawn and Getting Sued by Neil Gaiman fame for several years, which reportedly has a script ready by Josh Olson, who also wrote the screenplay for A History of Violence. It isn’t a reboot so much as a sequel, with Dorothy’s granddaughter going to Oz and battling evil. So it’s like Buffy with flying monkeys.
But a second version has been slowly grinding through preliminary development hell for the last year, with a script written by Darren Lemke, one of several writers of Shrek Forever After. Temple Hill, the company behind the Twilight films, is producing this version. So it’s got those three strikes against it. Maybe they can land Kristen Stewart as Dorothy!
The Los Angeles Times (a paper that’s printed, how quaint!) is reporting that Warner Pictures is looking at both takes and trying undoubtedly to imagine which has the best chance of replacing the Hogwarts gravy train.
Of course, there’s also the film adaptation of Wicked that Universal has been working on for the last year, which throws a third potential adaptation in the mix. Poor old Baum’s been resting easy for decades and now you have to take a number just to get in line to bugger his corpse. Here’s hoping that whichever remake makes it through the gauntlet actually goes back to the source material, because Baum’s novels? Fairly fucked up and terrifying for children’s novels.