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A teaser poster for the film.

Oz the Great and Powerful is a 2013 fantasy film that is intended to be a prequel to the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, however this is not made clear in the film, due to copyright matters. It is directed by Sam Raimi, with a script written by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire.


The story takes place about 20-30 years before Dorothy's story.

In 1905, Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away in a tornado from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. He thinks he’s hit the jackpot — fame and fortune are his for the taking — that is until he meets three witches, Theodora, Evanora and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must figure out who is good and who is evil, before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity, and even a bit of wizardry, Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, but also into a much better man as well.[1]


Cameo Roles

  • Ted Raimi as a small-town skeptic at a magic show who yells, "I see a wire!"
  • Jim Moll & Jim Bird as Emerald City townspeople
  • Ellen SandweissBetsy Baker & Theresa Tilly as Quadling townspeople

Differences from the Books

  • The Wicked Witch of the West & the Wicked Witch of the East are portrayed as being sisters while in the books this is not stated. The 1939 movie also portrayed them as sisters.
  • Glinda is the daughter of the former King of Oz.
  • Ozma, the canonical daughter of the former King of Oz, is never mentioned.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West is portrayed as originally being a Good Witch but has no stated territory claim in the film. She develops romantic feelings for the Wizard who uses her. Part of her downfall is her quick temper and naivety. It is also shown that she was transformed into the evil witch after eating a cursed green apple given to her by her evil sister. In the books she appears to have always been an evil hag with none of the character traits shown in the film.
  • The China Girl is shown to be able to travel outside of China Country. In the books, if the inhabitants of China Country leave the town they become stiff and immobile like dolls.
  • Glinda has red hair in the books, but she has blonde hair in this movie.
  • Neither the Quadlings nor Quadling Country show any signs of the color red in either their clothing, architecture or landscape, while in the books, the color red is very prominent in their land and personal appearance.
  • The Wizard comes from Kansas instead of Omaha.
  • In the books, the Wizard had the Emerald City built after his arrival. In this movie, the Emerald City already exists prior to his coming to Oz. (The later books do retcon this, having the Emerald City already in existence before Oz arrived.)
  • In the books, the Yellow Brick Road leads to the Wizard, but in the movie, the Yellow Brick Road leads to China Country, the Dark Forest, and the Emerald City.
  • At no time is it mentioned or hinted at that everyone in Oz is immortal, as the books clearly say. People seem quite afraid of dying and mourn the loss of the Wizard when his balloon explodes, signifying that they are very familiar with death. Though it could be that no one in Oz can die from natural causes.

Production Notes

  • Before Sam Raimi signed on to make the film, directors Sam Mendes and Adam Shankman were also reported to be top candidates.
  • In June 2011, Danny Elfman was chosen to compose the music for the film, a surprising choice considering that he and Raimi had a falling out over Spider-Man 2 and vowed to never work with each other again.
  • According to a reporter for Deadline Hollywood, the film's distributor wanted to reduce the film's production budget to about $200 million.
  • Robert Downey, Jr. was Raimi's first choice for the part of Oz. When Downey declined, Johnny Depp was linked to the role. By the end of February 2011, James Franco was in final negotiations to star in this film.
  • Principal photography for Oz: The Great and Powerful began July 2011 in Pontiac, Michigan. Casting calls were put out for locals looking to be extras.
  • Sam Raimi has revealed that Bruce Campbell (Ash from the Evil Dead series) makes a small, but humorous cameo. Sam's younger brother Ted also has a small role, these two actors have been something of a staple in Raimi's previous films.[2]
  • Raimi promises that this movie would be a departure from his usual horror-filled flicks, instead calling it a "family movie" with an uplifting feel.[3]


Oz the Great and Powerful/Gallery


  1. First Synopsis for Sam Raimi’s OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL Starring James Franco
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named io9 comic-con
  3. name="io9 comic-con"
OzIcon.png Films and Television OzIcon.png
Live-action adaptations
Silent films Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908) • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) • His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914) • The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914) • The Magic Cloak of Oz (1914) •

The Wizard of Oz (1925)

Modern films

The Wizard of Oz (1939) • The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969) • 20th Century Oz (1976) • The Wiz (1978) • Return to Oz (1985) • The Wizard of Oz (1994) • The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005) • After the Wizard (2011) • Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) • The Wiz Live! (2015)

Spin-off films Flying Monkeys (2013)
Guest Appearances Inkheart (2008) • Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
TV Series

Adventures in Oz with Cheryl (1999) • Lost in Oz (2002) • Tin Man (2007) • La Maga (2008) • Dorothy and the Witches of Oz (2011) • Emerald City (2017)

Guest Appearances Shirley Temple's Storybook (1960) • Once Upon a Time (2011-2018) • Supernatural (2013-2015)
Animated adaptations

Return to Oz (1964) • Journey Back to Oz (1974) • The Wizard of Oz (1982) • The Wizard of Oz (1983) • The Wizard of Oz (1991) • Lion of Oz (2000) • Tom and Jerry & the Wizard of Oz (2011) • Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2014) • Guardians of Oz (2015) • Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz (2016) • Urfin Jus and His Wooden Soldiers (2017) • The Steam Engines of Oz (2018)

Guest Appearances The LEGO Movie (2014) • The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Series and Specials

Tales of the Wizard of Oz (1961) • Dorothy in the Land of Oz (1980) • In the Magical Land of Oz (1983) • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1986) • Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz (1987) • The Wonderful Galaxy of Oz (1990) • The Wizard of Oz (1990) • The Oz Kids (1996) • Adventures in the Emerald City (1999) • Marchen Awakens Romance (2007) • Lost in Oz (2015-2018) • Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz (2017-2020)

Guest Appearances Superfriends (1980)
Upcoming adaptations Wicked (2022?) • Dorothy & Alice (?) • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (film) (?) • Toto (film)(?)
Pastiches, parodies, etc Rugrats (1999) • MadTV (2000-2004) • That's So Raven (2003-2006) • Victorious (2012) • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2013) • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn (2017)
Reality TV Project Runway (2004) • Face Off (2011)
Shorts and others Beef Ravioli commercials (2006) • After Oz (2007) • OzLand (2015) • The Land of Oz (short film) (2015) • Dorothy in the Land of Stars (2017) • Unknown, Lost, or non-English Adaptations