With news of a new television series based on the beloved world originated in The Wizard of Oz on its way, it’s got our imaginations going about the wild new kingdoms and characters that viewers could experience, in what could be a family friendly Game of Thrones type series.
When L. Frank Baum published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, it became en enormous best seller, spawning 13 canonical novels, essentially the Harry Potter of its day. Long in the public domain, the original Oz books have been adapted and deconstructed in all sorts of ways since, like Gregory Maguire’s Wicked novels, Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful, and the short-lived TV series Emerald City.
But few adaptations, with the exception of the cult 1985 film Return to Oz, have really gone back to the original source and just adapted the Baum series faithfully. Many of the more popular Oz characters have never seen any live-action adaptation. This new Oz television series has the potential to finally bring some of those wonderful and bizarre characters to life, and here are six we’d really love to see make the cut.
First appearing in the Marvelous Land of Oz as the young male protagonist named Tip, the end of that novel reveals that he was born a girl and magically changed into a boy as an infant to hide his true identity, that of the Princess Ozma. At the end, Tip embraces her true female self and becomes the ruler of Oz. Essentially a trans hero, making Ozma a main character on the show would be revolutionary. Ozma appeared in Return to Oz, but none of her interesting backstory was addressed.
Eureka the Cat
Everyone knows that Dorothy has a dog named Toto, but did you know she also has a cat named Eureka? A sassy and sarcastic talking house cat who changes colors, Eureka first appeared in the fourth novel, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, and eventually she becomes a main character, living in the land of Purrrville with the Cowardly Lion. A sardonic talking cat could be the show’s breakaway character. It worked for Sabrina!
The Hungry Tiger
The Cowardly Lion isn’t the only big cat in the world of Oz; his friend the Hungry Tiger becomes a staple of the series, even getting his own book at one point. This perpetually hungry beast wants nothing more than to eat a “fat baby,” but this dandy of a beast simply never would because he finds it morally reprehensible. Nevertheless, he’s always talking about it, which could be a funny running gag on the show.
The Good Witch of the North
In the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Good Witch of the North who greeted Dorothy in Munchkinland was actually Locasta Tattypoo, not Glinda, the Good Witch of the South who helped Dorothy at the end of the book (the 1939 film famously conflated the two witches). Having Locasta would establish the four ruling witches of the North, South, East and West, and give the series a lot to play with.
A literal carpenter’s Sawhorse brought to life by magic powder, this little guy is the fastest creature in Oz, because he simply never gets tired. Along with characters like Jack Pumpkinhead and Tick-Tock, the Sawhorse was introduced in the second novel The Marvelous Land of Oz, but unlike them, he was not included in Return to Oz. We think a TV series could finally give this character a moment to shine.
The Patchwork Girl
Introduced in one of Baum’s later novels, The Patchwork Girl, aka Scraps, is a human sized rag doll like being brought who was created using the Powder of Life to be a servant, but rebels. Her so-called “brain furniture” wasn’t arranged properly, making her exceptionally weird. She becomes the paramour of the Scarecrow, and is probably also the inspiration behind Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Could be one of the more fun characters on the show.
Images: W.W. Denslow/George M. Hill Company