Todd McFarlane Gives an Update on His Dark Wizard of Oz

September 1, 2009
Source: Empire

Todd McFarlane's Tin Woodman

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane has been pitching a "darker" take on The Wizard of Oz for years now. We first wrote about it back in 2007, where McFarlane said he wanted to create a film with "a 2007 wow factor." Everyone forgot about it until last week, when a rumor hit courtesy of the UK's Daily Express saying that Dakota Fanning might be playing Dorothy. Empire caught up with McFarlane recently, who not only debunked that rumor ("I haven't heard that. If we just do a sugary, sweet Dorothy that everybody has seen over and over for 50 years, as far as I'm concerned, that's too obvious.") but updated them on its status.

Warner Brothers, who is re-releasing the original Wizard of Oz musical on Blu-Ray this month, licensed McFarlane's Twisted Land of Oz series of action figures (more details here). A script was written by Josh Olson (A History of Violence) back in 2007 and has been in development ever since, without any major progress. "I'm sure the higher-ups at Warner Bros. would like to have it on their schedule, and they're probably moving in that direction. But we've seen in our lifetime thousands of cases where things don't go according to plan, right?" That doesn't sound too good, at least for the time being, but it might just pop up.

As for the script: "They're on their second iteration right now, trying to get it into a zone that makes sense. Josh Olson wrote a draft that didn't quite strike Warners fancy. Everyone was a little lukewarm. They wanted it more sexy! So they were going to do a rewrite and get some fresh eyes on it." Really? I mean, I have a crush on Judy Garland in the original Wizard of Oz, but sexier? Now this is getting pretty interesting. Originally, McFarlane's idea was to have it be about Dorothy's granddaughter, but maybe not anymore. "The first draft had those elements. Will they remain? Can't be sure." It sounds like this is almost hopeless.

McFarlane goes to talk about why he thinks Warner Brothers isn't too excited about his version yet. "I think my 'Twisted' version is a little scary for Warners to embrace. I essentially pitched Lord of the Rings. It was big, it was bold and it wasn't a very pretty place. It was badass! There's no Baum in it at all. When they bought it from me, my thing was, turn off the MGM mindset. It's a public domain property, let's go invent some cool new ideas, which basically will surprise people. What's going to get a new generation to go look at Oz is if you reinvent it on some level." Only time will tell if this project will ever get to see the light of day.

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I've had this idea for years myself about a couple of things...unfortunately, Tim Burton screwed up what could have been a truly dark gothic work with a new Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, the other story I'd like to get this treatment... But Oz could do with this treatment and be very cool...Imagine a clan of witches at war over Oz, and an aging Wizard and a handful of good witches trying to hold on to power, in their last bastion of hope the Emerald City....all this would set up the story...then when things are their darkest one of the second in command witches sister dies by accident when the Dorothy arrives...with the power of the slippers she and her ragtag group of misfits fights their way to the Wizards side and help make one last stand to free Oz of the tyranny of the witch clan...

Kamiish on Sep 1, 2009


Loves the figures, love the idea, the game was freakin' awesome. A movie will ruin it. lol

Tra la la la la di da on Sep 1, 2009


it's already been done... Return to Oz (1985)

Greedo on Sep 1, 2009


Oops, I meant...Alice. The game was awesome and Burton's movie will ruin it. This...yeah, it won't do good unless McFarlane has full control.

Tra la la la la di da on Sep 1, 2009


I think WB is gonna wait to see how Burton's Alice in Wonderland is gonna do before they set anything in stone for McFarlene's Wizard of Oz.

teyhtr on Sep 1, 2009


The figures are pretty pornographic, right? Or at least feature a lot of bondage and D/s that I recall. I'd be surprise if they made a movie reflective of that level of sexiness.

ebbie on Sep 1, 2009


Midget porn bestiality and steampunk fetish aesthetics? The only figure from those toys that looked any good was the Wizard. Instead of making a feature film he should just make a porn film with a big budget, from looking at those figures that's really where he should go, horror-porn. I'm sure there's a market for that somewhere. I doubt this film will be any good whatever the outcome.

Crapola on Sep 1, 2009


he should just stick to action figures for movies that don't do jack at the box-office. or more dumb ass sports action figures. nolan ryan 'action figure' anyone??? yea, thats what i thought. no new spawn figures in ages, run out of ideas todd? or was "Dry-Clean Span with extra starch" the last of them??

don on Sep 1, 2009


McSellout is a fool he has got to be one of the biggest sellouts in comics of all time.. yes years ago his art was top and his figures at one time started the great change in figs.. but he is a jerk always has been and became everything he said he always hated about comics and the industry

ray on Sep 1, 2009


@2 Your story is great, but how bout you flip it? The bad witches (Fyrmacrs) are tryin to hold on to the control over Oz. This control they can only keep by using the knowledge that flows in the right brain of the conscious, but now brain-damaged Wizard. They are perplexed. They don't understand the concept of Alzheimers. The man is just old! LOL!. Still, they continue to tap into his temporal lobe to gain access to this living "akashic" record. That knowledge has a living element of power that can be accessed as long as the "holder" is alive in his/her physical body. The "good" witches don't even actually know this. They are "waiting", along with the citizens, for the person of the legends who will reveal him/herself and do things that will make life for the Underlanders a little less insufferable. Yes Dorothy comes along with her "crew" being a damn rabble rouser for her own issues. Someone has attached the third and fourth (last) segments of her trust fund, illegally, to a charitable trust in Oz which funds the efforts of the bad witches. So Dorothy is on a "witch hunt" in this strange place of the Underlands (the inhabited areas just under the top crust of Mother Gaia). Of course the "Quelle Joia Breathers" (the good witches who are considered scary because the have to breathe the air that flows outside of the top crust - they use reverse bioluminescent rebreathers over their noses and mouths) just assume she is that person. But, duh, she REEEELLY isn't the one. Why? Because there is NO special person. Dorothy goes along with the Quellas because they are causing beneficial, revealing, healing actions to occur for the various members of her "crew" AND the Quellas are moving in on the Fyrmacrs. The crew has no idea, but Dorothy actually knows the name of who is responsible for the theft of her property and it's not any of the Fyrmacrs or their assigns... it's actually a Quella who has passed on. As a career financier and a student of multi-levels of habitation this particular person who initiated the Quella Project took "advantage" of certain funds that had been sitting at her job's institution - inactive and forgotten... locked away and subsequently forgotten because D's Aunt thought it was the safest thing to do after D's parents committed suicide. How did the Fyrmacrs get it? Because they watch the life streams, they discovered the connection bwtween the founding Quella and the immense sums. After they forced her to sign over the trust to them, she "passed on" when one of the Fyrmacrs absorbed her - leaving her lifeless body for the Investigator who would show up quite a bit later. ~~There is more but I'm tired. You finish it. Oh yeah. Don't forget the water element. The secret knowledge in the right brain of the "Wizard" is a "How To" to combine the heat in the liquid fire lakes with the heavily humid "air" the Undelanders breathe. The combination will transmute the Underlanders to the next cycle in their evolution. This evolutionary "upgrade"will not change the Fyrmacrs and of course they don't want to be "left behind". Blah, blah, blah. LOL! Go from there...

Cell on Sep 1, 2009


PinkSushi is a tool. He wants every movie to be a romantic comedy. He wants George Lucas to add romantic elements to every movie ever made. weak.

Jimbone on Sep 1, 2009


SciFi channel actually touched on this with their mini-series "Tin-Man". Dorothy's decents fight over control of OZ after one is posessed by a wicked witch.

KCullen on Sep 2, 2009


#13 hit it on the spot. This was done.

S on Sep 2, 2009


to do a straight up remake would be a disaster but this sounds kinky enough to be make it work it will have to be REALLY DARK ,SEXY, AND SCARY....I like it....I hope they do it right...

moldybread on Sep 2, 2009


ah... this sounds like the graphic novel "Return to wonderland" but instead of Alice in wonderland its The wizard of Oz.... cool.. can't wait to see this in the big screen and wait a minute.. is there a graphic novel of this somewhere all already?

paige on Sep 13, 2009

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