By now, it shouldn’t really be a surprise. When you’re spending $325 million on a movie, you’re hoping for a franchise, especially if you’re Disney. Remember before “John Carter” came out how there was already tentative plans for a followup, “John Carter: The Gods Of Mars“? Perhaps learning not to count their chickens before they hatch, Disney has until now remained mum on any further travels down the yellow brick road after this weekend’s “Oz The Great And Powerful” (our review). But with a massive opening weekend in the forecast, a small bit of their plans have been revealed.
Variety reports that Mitchell Kapner — who co-wrote ‘Powerful’ with David Lindsay-Abaire — has been tapped to write the sequel. But the more interesting morsel is that Kapner was hired “several months ago to work” on the followup, and you can probably bet that if the movie were projecting to tank, we wouldn’t be hearing anything about this. You gotta play your cards right. And while the studio isn’t officially commenting, that means there’s no word on where the story will go next, but there are some things to consider.
As we outlined in our feature on the history of Disney and Oz, the rights are complicated, and basically the filmmakers still can’t reference any of the iconic imagery from the classic MGM movie (the ruby slippers for instance). Basically anything on screen in ‘Powerful’ is fair game, but anything hewing closer to the 1939 film is probably off limits. So our guess? If there is a “Oz The Great And Powerful 2” we could see it deviate even further from the works of L. Frank Baum, but keep the same spirit.
Of course, if/when the ‘Powerful’ sequel gets made is anyone’s guess. Disney has already commissioned a followup for Tim Burton‘s billion dollar “Alice In Wonderland” and that doesn’t seem any closer to reality in the foreseeable future, so who knows. But anyone buying a ticket this weekend has pretty ensure the Wicked Witch won’t be gone for long.