Though he had previously said otherwise, Sam Raimi has accepted the offer to helm Disney‘s Oz, the Great and Powerful, the planned prequel to the original Wizard of Oz tale. Previously, directorial names like Adam Shankman, Timur Bekmambetov, and even Guillermo del Toro had been thrown around. This will be Raimi’s first official directorial project since exiting Spider-Man 4.
An origin story of sorts, the screenplay of Oz, the Great and Powerful was scribed by Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards). Robert Downey, Jr. has been tapped to play the wizard himself, who is in fact a circus trainer magically transported by a tornado to a mysterious land. Though the Iron Man actor hasn’t officially signed on, a Deadline source says the film will be developed as a vehicle for him, much like how Alice in Wonderland was developed for Johnny Depp. Reportedly, studio bosses Rich Ross and Sean Bailey are hoping Oz will succeed on the same level of the Burton film (shouldn’t be that the hope for every one of their movies?).
This likely means that Raimi will not be taking The Hobbit, as many have previously speculated. As for the World of Warcraft project he has been talking about for a while — we’ll probably not be seeing that any time soon, either.
With other similar Oz films floating toward production — such as the 3-D musical sequel Dorothy of Oz starring Kelsey Grammer, Dan Akroyd, Martin Short, Jim Belushi, Patrick Stewart, and Glee‘s Lea Michele as Dorothy — it’s likely Disney will want to get their version going sooner than later.
And of course, the film will be in 3-D. You didn’t even need to ask about that.