EXCLUSIVE: ‘Oz: The Return To Emerald City’ Does Indeed Originate From Josh Olson’s Script

We’ve known for awhile now that some sort of “Wizard of Oz” follow-up was percolating in the Warner Bros offices. Todd McFarlane told us a little bit about a film adaptation of his Twisted Land of Oz toy line back in September. In that same interview, McFarlane also mentioned a pitch from “A History of Violence” screenwriter Josh Olson. As the writer later clarified for us, this was a more family-friendly sequel idea, something more suitable to the legacy of L. Frank Baum’s classic story than the (admittedly cool) S&M madness seen in McFarlane’s Twisted line.

Now, Pajiba has the logline for a movie called “Oz: The Return to the Emerald City.” It is a modern day tale that follows lawyer Dorothy Neil, granddaughter of former Oz visitor Dorothy Gale. As the story goes, Neil and a young child — the daughter of her boss — end up in the magical land, where they team up with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion to bring down a new evil witch. We decided to go straight to the source and ask Olson if this sounded anything like what he wrote. And it does. Hit the jump to read it in Olson’s own words, and to see the word-for-word logline that Pajiba has.

Here’s what Olson had to say:

Yup, that’s a pretty accurate description of the project I pitched and sold to Warners. The only thing they got wrong in the piece is when they wrote, “So, according to Olson, there were two different Wizard of Oz movies in development.” Nope. There was only ever one.

He also told us this is the first he’s heard of any new forward movement on the script. Pajiba reports that the script is out for rewrites — not uncommon in this game — so it’s possible that the newly revealed logline might change some. There’s even the possibility that this is an old plot description that was recently unearthed, and that it’s sudden appearance on the Internet is creating the impression that the project’s wheels are turning. Here’s the logline that Pajiba’s got:

It’s a modern-day sequel. The story centers on Dorothy Neil, a bright and ambitious young lawyer for a prestigious law firm in Chicago. Neil is the grand-daughter of Dorothy Gale, who is now an old woman living in Kansas and telling her tales about her time in the land of Oz to a new generation of kids. However, trouble is afoot in Oz, as a new witch is destroying the magic that keeps the entire place running. While babysitting her boss’ kid, the kid and Dorothy Neil are brought back to Oz and united with the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow and tasked with killing an evil witch and restoring order in Oz.

So that’s where things stand for now. As a fan of both “Wizard of Oz” and “Return to Oz,” I have an appreciation for both light-hearted family fare and creepier not-quite-horror stories set in Oz. I think Olson’s idea falls closer to the spirit of the original, so I’m pleased by the possibility that WB seems to be moving ahead with his pitch. I want to hear from you readers though.

Are you a fan of “The Wizard of Oz”? “Return to Oz”? What do you think of the sequel idea presented here?