San Diego Comic Con 2012 – Walt Disney Panel: Oz The Great and Powerful

This movie works to expand on what we all know about the Wizard in the Land of Oz. Sam Raimi, director of the “Evil Dead” and “Spider-Man” Trilogies. He was there to tell us about the story inside “Oz: The Great and Powerful”. First though he explained some of what was gathered from the books.

In the second book we learn that the Wizard was part of a carnival and was a stage magician. The story begins in Kansas. In the books he was described a very selfish man in these times (and an adulterer). In the movie he is a brilliant stage magician but he lacks many social skills He took off in a hot air balloon when things were starting to go very wrong for him and he gets chased out. He is blown away in a tornado that takes him to Oz. Much of the movie stays to what is known in the book. Much of the character was built from what people could gather on the Wizard across the books numbers 2-4.

The Wizard, Oz, is never directly talked about in the books. This meant that it took a lot of research to dig up anything on him. The past of the Wizard was only indirectly talked about, through mentions and brief snippits. It was through pouring over the books that this movie's story was built. That was what Raimi told us. It gives us the story that was never told in the books or in the movies, merely alluded to.

The hard part is they could not get the rights to the well known characters as seen inside the original “Wizard of Oz” movie. This did mean no real cameos from those figures. Still, even without the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, there are plenty of characters that we will recognize, like Glenda, the Good Witch of the North. The Evil Witch of the South will also play a role with her Flying Monkeys.

Emerald City plays a great role in it. Many described it as unbelievable to be standing in. Raimi insisted on building as many sets as possible to give the performers something more solid to work with.  When some of the performers were called in later, they call commented on how it helped them a lot to have the real sets opposed to Green and Blue screen. There was still use of Green and Blue screen used at times. But most everything the performers are using is real.

Many see Oz as the land of second chances. It gives them a chance to grow as a person and become something more than who they start as. This will be one of the few chances that people have had to truly return to Oz and see the changes that the mystical world can bring to people.