2021 just started, but it’s already proving to be a productive year for the public domain. In the past few weeks we’ve heard about a Great Gatsby TV series, a sci-fi Dracula, multiple Buck Rogers things, and now New Line is joining the “we don’t have to pay anyone for the rights” fun with a new adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. According to Deadline, this new take is coming from Emmy-winning director Nicole Kassell, who recently worked on HBO’s Watchmen, with the studio reportedly impressed with her talents as a “meticulous world-builder.”
Now, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz is in the public domain, but it’s worth noting that New Line is owned by WarnerMedia, which also owns the 1939 Judy Garland Wizard Of Oz, which means Kassell’s project won’t be limited to stuff that’s only in the book. That means stuff that’s only in the movie, like the Ruby Slippers, are fair game. Of course, Deadline’s story doesn’t say this is a remake, just that it’s another adaptation of the book, so it’s unclear just how it will differ from those other versions. Maybe Kassell will come up with some new gimmick that could only be possible today, much like how the Ruby Slippers were meant to show off the advances in color… but would could that be? It’s Warner Bros., so maybe Jared Leto’s Joker could join Dorothy’s party in place of the Cowardly Lion.