Monsters2 Dorothy Photo 02 DpOh boy! Move over Heroes for Hire! Down in the back, Supergirl! There’s a new lass is town, and she’s going to make all of you look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Variety is reporting that Todd McFarlane and screenwriter Josh Olson are teaming for a “revisionist” take on THE WIZARD OF OZ. Olson, who wrote the script for A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, fleshed out an idea by McFarlane, who will produce. How revisionist?

McFarlane has a vision of Oz that is a dark, edgy and muscular PG-13, without a singing Munchkin in sight. That was clear with a toy line he launched several years ago that featured a buxom Dorothy and Toto reimagined as an oversized snarling warthog.

Bearing in mind that these toys look something like the picture on the right, one wonders if the world is ready for a pornstar-proportioned Dorothy with cigarette burns on her hip. Luckily, Olson is wondering the same thing.

Olson has something a little tamer, and PG, in mind. “I saw those toys, and Dorothy as some bondage queen isn’t something I want to do,” Olson told Daily Variety. “The appealing thing about the Baum books to me is how wildly imaginative they are. There are crazy characters from amazing places. I want this to be ‘Harry Potter’ dark, not ‘Seven’ dark.”

Todd has his own ideas.

“I want to create (an interpretation) that has a 2007 wow factor. You’ve still got Dorothy trapped in an odd place, but she’s much closer to the Ripley from ‘Alien’ than a helpless singing girl.”

Now being a bit of an OZ fan ourselves — we’re not Eric Shanower level scholars, but we read all 14 L. Frank Baum books many times — we can say with certainty that there is indeed a pretty dark thread in the books if you want to go there. In the original origin of the Tin Woodman, for instance, he kept shopping off bits of his body until he was all tin replacement parts. There are plenty of cannibals, evil slave drivers and other disturbing elements in the original books. In other words…FAIRUZA BALK!

However we in no way condone bondage queen Dorothy. That very much goes against Baum’s vision of a world of innocent yet spunky and heroic young American girls.


  1. McFarlane is well within his rights to create that product.

    However, I fail to see ANY connection between that image and The Wizard of Oz. Or worse, the PMITA-prison series from HBO.

    That figure looks like something I’d see on a hardcore BDSM’ers mantle. Right before I left their apartment very rapidly.


  2. Thanks for starting my day with that image Heidi. :(

    The least you could have done is make up for it with Fairuza photos.

  3. Aren’t the 90’s over? I’d assume people would be bored by darkER/Goth/S&M versions of kids stories already. I guess it’s time to cash in on a Winnie the Poo beastiality franchise.

  4. Didn’t he used to draw things?

    I remember seeing these figures on the massive clearance heap at my local EB. That of course was back when they used to sell McFarlane figures.

    It’s a shame that he just cannot go back to Marvel and draw (not write) Spider-Man for a living. I loved his art back in the day.

  5. I look at this and wonder what the target audience is. Is there really a lot of crossover between L. Frank Baum fans, BSM enthusiasts, and toy/statue collectors?

  6. Hmm, Gregory Maguire’s Wicked is a good dark take on the land of Oz.

    The “helpless singing girl” line bugged me, though. Yes, the movie’s a classic, but in a way it’s sad that most people only know Oz as a musical.

  7. You know, if MacFarlane wants to:

    “I want to create (an interpretation) that has a 2007 wow factor. You’ve still got Dorothy trapped in an odd place, but she’s much closer to the Ripley from ‘Alien’ than a helpless singing girl.”

    Then why not just create something NEW. Why take another proerty and bastardize it to fit some bizarre interpetation?

    Of course, that would mean that Todd MacFarlane would actually have to create something totally NEW and ORIGINAL.

    I guess I answered my own question.

  8. Well I guess no one here was a fan of Alan Moore’s and Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls. huh? That’s a shame…it’s a beautiful book.

  9. “Then why not just create something NEW. Why take another proerty and bastardize it to fit some bizarre interpetation?”

    That’s a good question, and I’m glad I’m not the only one around here who spells things wrong from time to time. The thing is, is that something entirely new is always a tough sell. McF is in this to make money first and foremost, so he’s got to go with something that people already know (and love) to increase shock value and sales. Heidi, I’m afraid you’ve plaid right into his hands with this one. Stuff like this thrives on outrage and negative press, just like Marilyn (everyone loves sweat Monro) Manson. Todd’s better at making money then anything else he does.

  10. “The thing is, is that something entirely new is always a tough sell. McF is in this to make money first and foremost, so he’s got to go with something that people already know (and love) to increase shock value and sales.”

    Maybe (though of all the people out there who could start a new concept/character and build it up through name recognition, MacFarlane would be one of those.)

    But the cynic in me tends to think that MacFarlane, who’s created, what…… Spawn? and, uh…………………. isn’t really a fountain of ideas.

  11. With all due respect to Heidi, she’s misread what I admit is a somewhat vaguely worded article to begin with. While it was Todd’s idea to bring back Oz, and that idea sparked this whole process, I’ve never met him, never heard his take, and am not writing this script with anyone else. I love the Baum books, and leapt at the chance to bring those amazing stories and characters to a new audience.

    The story I pitched to Warners – and that they hired me to write – is, I believe, faithful to the spirit and tone of those amazing books. I think even Todd would be happy to tell you, this movie has no connection whatsoever to those action figures, and when I say it will be darker, do not expect it to go beyond Harry Potter dark.

    You’ll be seeing many of your favorite characters return from the classic film, as well as meeting loads of Baum’s other great characters. While I’ve created my own distinct plot, it’s all built around Baum’s characters, Baum’s world, and Baum’s vision. I think Oz fans will recognize my love for the source material, and will be very happy with the finished result.

    Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this.

  12. I saw these line of figures a while back and I nearly bought all of them (except they’re too damned expensive, and I have a tendency to not like shit as much once I get it on my shelf). I thought they were cool looking, but that’s just me.

  13. I thought it was pretty clear from the article that the film version was NOT going to be based on the figure. There have so many versions of OZ in a darker vein that I can’t keep track including the OZ comic series that was published at Caliber and ran about 30 issues before adding another 7-8 at Arrow Comics. It was a very successful series and although took liberties, it kept the Baum books in view throughout.

    That one made the rounds through Hollywood and even had directors and script writers attached. Just goes to show that everything old is everything new again.

  14. It would have to be a strong, clear, and unique vision of Oz at this point to make it interesting at this point. As stated, there have been a number of takes on Oz and the audience is so vast, you’d really need to do something amazing for it to be of merit. I’m just not sure where Todd McFarlane would factor into something like that.

  15. Whenever a customer buys Wicked, I ask them if they have read the original book. Most give me a blank stare, not realizing there was a book before the movie.
    As a movie and musical, it’s enjoyable. As an adaptation, it’s horrible, turning Dorothy into a nutjob and Oz into an hallucination. So, someone else has twisted the original story? It’s happened so often with literature that nobody cares so long as the interpretation is interesting.
    Yes it is a little creepy when a children’s book is used, but Oz can be found shelved with adult fiction (the Modern Library offers a nice trade paperback).
    I hope Warner Brothers revives the series.

  16. Furthermore, will this include 1890’s Populist political allegory as some have claimed is in the original texts?

  17. I was fairly shocked to be in a taxi yesterday in London to catch the train to Heathrow to hear coming over the radio a whole blurb about this movie, followed with quotes from the director Todd McFarlane. If nothing else, this is generating interest in places outside the US.

  18. I think you should actually do a movie of Lost in Oz, a new novel by Joshua Dudley. It has quite a cult following and is gaining more and more interest in the media. I think it’s the perfect blend of the Oz books, but still giving them an amazing, modern-day twist. Mr. Olson — I’d take this seriously and contact the people at Lost In Oz.

    hope I helped.

  19. I agree with Mr. Avante. The series Lost In Oz by Joshua Dudley is the best modern take on Oz I’ve seen in years. “The Wizard of Oz.” I think people will expect to see a modern MGM musical, the only way around this is to produce a film that is a direct connect to the story of the wizard of oz, but updated with new stories and protagonists. Dorothy is played out. Let’s bring new blood to Oz!


  20. Because, you stupid asshole, there is a petition on the Lost In Oz site for people to come and sign up. So his family signed up, this is his grandmother.

    I don’t understand you, Mr. Bell. I’ve read nothing but negative comments from you on any messageboard that I have ever discovered you on. I think you need an ego check.

    Sincerely, an old woman who can kick your ass.

  21. I’ve looked into this whole “Lost in Oz” thing, and I doubt a book with that much sales would even grab the attention of a low-scale video game company. The whole thing looks like it was written by some fame-hungry teenager.

    I am also not very interested in anything McFarlane would write, but Olson’s idea sounds very fascinating.

  22. I’d like to make a retraction to my previous post. I’ve now read and enjoy the Lost in Oz series and am ashamed I spoke ill of both the author and his work.

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