Submitted by ilovemychickens t3_zwypoc in movies

I just made my husband watch this for the first time, and despite googling, we can't figure out why some of the character models look completely different to the first film.

The main actress being so much younger is understandable, but the scarecrow, cowardly lion, tin man, all look like dollar store knock offs. I assume the rights stayed in the same hands, so why the huge change? Anyone know what happened?



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edrenfro t1_j1xkb77 wrote

From what I understand, Disney had the rights to the characters in the book but not the rights to the characters in the MGM movie. So Disney can make "The Tinman" but if it looked like the MGM design, they'd be risking a lawsuit. There is one exception: the book has the slippers as silver but the movie has them as Ruby Slippers and Disney paid a lot of money to include Ruby Slippers in the movie because they're so iconic.


ilovemychickens OP t1_j1xkost wrote

That is extremely interesting, I didn't even think about the characters from the books and movies having different rights, but that makes sense


Ground2ChairMissile t1_j1xrad0 wrote

The witch - any witch in pop culture, in fact - wasn't even green until MGM wanted to show off their color film.


psymunn t1_j1xwqoa wrote

It's a great movie to showcase color too. While the book doesn't explicitly have Kansas be black and white, they make a lot of mention of how grey everything is, and all the lands Dorothy visits are very focused on color; the Emerald city especially. They didn't call it out as explicitly in the movie but it's definitely a great inspiration


luuummoooxdadwarf t1_j1yy3jv wrote

Fun fact, and as a Kansan I can confirm, back then the film was all filmed in color, in Oz and in Kansas, but the state just sucked the color out of everyone that entered.


TheJonnieP t1_j21627x wrote

As someone who grew up in Kansas I can concur...


bigdipper80 t1_j217nhc wrote

Wichita is pretty great. I've always enjoyed my time there.


TheJonnieP t1_j21hski wrote

My kids like to go to Wichita to the zoo and science center.

I grew up in the SE corner in a small town called Mulberry. It was a nice place to grow up back in the 70's and 80's.


Corno4825 t1_j1zngko wrote

That means that Kansas in the black hole of the US, which means that the Rocky and Appalachian Mountain ranges are the butt bones of America.


Awdayshus t1_j1yzs2w wrote

In the original movie, when Dorothy first opens the door and sees everything in color, the whole shot is done on color film. They painted everything inside the house to match how it looked on black and white film so the camera can slowly move through the doorway and reveal the colors.

Even Dorothy transitions to color in this scene. Her double crosses in front of the camera in a black and white gingham dress, and then Judy Garland steps out of the house in her iconic blue dress.

Edit: could be Judy in sepia and her double stepping out in color. The point is that they filmed it that way. It's not a trick they did in post-production.


VT_Squire t1_j21salz wrote

I don't know if it's written in stone anywhere, but a quick review of the scene looks like it's the inverse of what you're saying.

To me, it looks as follows:

Shot 1: Judy was in Sepia. Part of her face was showing in that shot (albeit with a creative use of bad lighting), her double in color stepped out, but as a view from behind, obscuring her face.

Shot 2: A head-shot of Judy as Dorothy from the reverse angle was spliced in to show that it was her. But... oh look, her hands moved. Clearly, this was a distinct shot. I would expect a multiple-camera setup for a shot like this to preserve continuity, which begs the question of why a whole separate take with continuity errors was leaned on in order to accomplish the effect if that was actually Judy who stepped out in color.

Shot 3: A continuation of shot 1 (the hand placement and camera position are exactly where you'd project them to be with approx 1/2 second of missing film in between) but the face of the "color" version of Dorothy is again obscured. There is a creative use of foreground and a long-drawn out take (misdirection) until Judy's double is sufficiently far from the lens so as to be obscured via good old-fashioned limitations of focal length.

Shot 4: As before, definitely not from a continuous take, begging the same question as before.


Awdayshus t1_j21tch1 wrote

I am talking about the single shot from 0:50-1:01 in this clip:

Everything before that is shot in black and white/sepia. At 0:50, it's in color, but the inside of the house is painted sepia. Her extra opens the door dressed in sepia and leaves the frame. Then Garland walks through the door in color. The camera doesn't cut until the reverse angle at 1:01.

Edit: Now I realize you're just saying Judy opens the door and her double steps out. That could be. My point is that the very first shot with color out the door was shot practically. It's not two shots spliced together or color added or subtracted in post-production. They made the transition from sepia to color with some tricks while they were filming.


VT_Squire t1_j23bzwi wrote

Holy crud... Her body double is still alive at 103 yrs old.


BitchStewie_ t1_j207lns wrote

Can confirm, I've driven through Kansas and it gets black and white as soon as you hit the border. It was a weird transition driving west, you get color in Missouri, black and white in Kansas, then back to color once you hit OK or CO.


DavefromKS t1_j20qemn wrote

Also can confirm. As a Kansan i am rendered in black and white.


Witetrashman t1_j1zxga1 wrote

The book actually does describe Kansas as a grey place. Here’s an interesting article exploring the use of color in the book: “Within the first chapter of the novel, the reader is exposed to the very dull and gray depiction of Kansas. On one page alone, the author describes the gray prairies of Kansas and the gray house where Dorothy resides. He continues on to state that even the sky and grass, which are universally known to be colorful symbols of life, are gray in Kansas.”


psymunn t1_j203qp3 wrote

Yep. Also when she returns at the end of the book, things are imbued with color


Keeble64 t1_j1xu614 wrote

Yeah, not sure how a one-eyed, 3 pigtailed witch that looks like James Cagney would have worked in the 39 movie.


Random_Sime t1_j1ypb1t wrote

That colour... as big of a deal at the time, (if not bigger than) the computer animation of "living" creatures in Jurassic Park was back in the 90s.


dittybopper_05H t1_j1zehd6 wrote

Most of the dinosaur scenes in Jurassic Park were done with practical effects. The CGI used in Jurassic Park only totals about 4 minutes.


Random_Sime t1_j228ewt wrote

Yeah the practical effects really helped sell the digital effects, but the shots that really created awe in the audience were the wide shots like the brachiosaur reaching for the treetops at the start, the t-rex chasing the jeep, and the finale with the raptors and the t-rex. Those would have looked real janky with practical, but digital fx made us believe it could be real.


Davrosdaleks t1_j21buuo wrote

Plus the book version of the witch only had one eye.


thetoog91 t1_j21cqmu wrote

Didn't MGM trademark that particular shade of green too, IIRC?

I think to the point that when Disney made Oz the Great and Powerful and the Wicked Witch appeared, they had to use a shade very similar but not so much that they infringed copyright


Rolemodel247 t1_j1xoctr wrote

I think the book doesn’t have any “rights” as their copyright expired


Salarian_American t1_j1xumwg wrote

Some of the books were public domain at this point, and Disney owned the movie rights to the ones that weren't. The last of the books didn't lose its copyright until 1996.


DrRexMorman t1_j1xwjv4 wrote

> Disney owned the movie rights to the ones that weren

It didn't.

It paid MGM to use movie-specific stuff.


Scottland83 t1_j1ymozs wrote

Disney had the rights to The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz, on which the movie was based. They had to make a movie before those books became public domain.


Salarian_American t1_j1zf00h wrote

Right I was unclear. Disney had optioned the remaining Oz books, the ones that weren't already public domain and the ones that MGM didn't hold the movie rights to.


LatinaMermaid t1_j1xtg44 wrote

You need to look up the feud with Walt Disney and MGM! Constantly taunted Disney with the Wizard of Oz rights. The old studio guys were so petty!


Keeble64 t1_j1xv72c wrote

1930's Hollywood Movie Producer Voice "Hey there, ol' Walt! That's a mighty fine drawing of a some dwarves ya got there! Too bad you can't make a movie with real ones! Aww I'm just cueballin' ya! Don't be a sourpuss now! You go work on your castle amusement park. Just don't make the castle green or we'll take the mouse!" aggressive elbow nudges


BlueHero45 t1_j1yezlt wrote

Disney clutches his fist "One day I will own everything"


GriffinFlash t1_j1ykc6s wrote

Everything but heathy lungs. *puffs 40 cigarettes at once


Qorhat t1_j1yi5dg wrote

“Now you listen here Mervyn, you can use all the asbestos as you like in your little picture but Snow White will be just aces I tell ya, people are just going to flip their wig”


Scottland83 t1_j1ymtpx wrote

They made that dumb James Franco movie just to get around the copywriter claims. There’s this weird workaround through the book of Wicked and making the witch green, it’s complicated.


MulciberTenebras t1_j2114fq wrote

And yet 60 years later they'd join forces for a theme park at Disney World (the MGM, now Hollywood Studios)


RainMonkey9000 t1_j1yopjw wrote

Disney has one of these happen just yesterday. Winnie the Pooh books just entered public domain but not Disneys version. Basically Pooh’s red shirt was a Disney addition so if you don’t have that then go for your life.


Roook36 t1_j1yz0n3 wrote

Yeah there're been a few adaptions of the novels. Both live action and animated, and they usually base their look off of descriptions in the book.

The costumes for the characters for the 1939 musical were made to allow the cast to sing and dance so were heavily influenced by just practicality.

The same characters in Return to Oz were based off the book descriptions and made to look more like the actual things they are. An actual lion, an actual scarecrow, etc rather than a human actor in a costume.

I always found the scarecrow in Return to Oz terrifying but appreciated a less "stage musical" look to them.

If you want true nightmare fuel though, look up the characters in The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969). It has the Return to Oz story in it and it's a much lower budget version.


hawkwings t1_j1z3rzk wrote

That was an issue with the Addams family movies. The movie producers paid the comic strip artist who created the characters, but they didn't pay the people who produced the TV show. There was a bunch of stuff in the TV show that was not in the comic strip, so the TV show people sued the movie producers and got some money. Gomez had no name in the comic strip; that name was invented by the TV people.


Extensxv t1_j1z72n6 wrote

They made that dumb James Franco movie just to get around the copywriter claims.


ofBlufftonTown t1_j1zbmfp wrote

Dorothy is young in the books, and was cast much older in the original movie.


RawbM07 t1_j1zhdkw wrote

This reminds me a bit of Sherlock Holmes. I might be a little sketchy on the details, but some of Sherlock is under public domain, and some of him from later stories is still under the original copyright protection and belongs to Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate.

Apparently the early Sherlock in which he’s more wooden and emotionless is public domain, but a kinder and gentler Sherlock was in the stories that are still copyrighted, which is why you don’t see that version of Sherlock in the current iterations.

They sued the new Netflix version with his little sister Enola because of this and it was dismissed but I believe they settled.


boooooshdingo t1_j1zng4c wrote

This whole movie was nightmare fuel. From the dudes on Rollerblades, to the sand, the the creepy 80s clsymation of thr mountain king and his death from chicken egg. Christ on a was Def a trip lol. Loved it as a kid. Rewatched it randomly in my 30s and was fucking shocked lol


[deleted] t1_j20ft62 wrote

Legally I can make a Frankenstein movie as often as I want, but I can’t have my monster look like the Karloff version because universal owns that likeness.


missanthropocenex t1_j20893j wrote

The characters in RTO were much more Book accurate to the illustrations.


croninsiglos t1_j1xiz1q wrote

It’s closer to the actual books.


lumpthefoff t1_j1y0x0n wrote

This. The Tinman is very close to the original illustrations.


SG420123 t1_j1xlg4h wrote

The Wheelers were nightmare fuel for years for me as a child, glad Tik Tok got to beat the shit out of a few of them.


wingthing666 t1_j1yfczf wrote

I remember between the Wheelers and the Deadly Desert and the Goddamn HOSPITAL I couldn't watch most of the 1st act as a kid!

Mombi and her swappable heads however looked awesome!

There's a great video on YouTube about how Return to Oz was basically written to trigger as many common childhood fears as possible.


joey0live t1_j1yxxjn wrote

It was never the wheelers who did me nightmares. It was all the heads in the glass cases that scares the fcuk out of me.


southdakotagirl t1_j1yzzw9 wrote

Me too. That scene creeped me out and no one ever seem to remember the movie. I thought I had imagined it.


ilovemychickens OP t1_j1xlqa3 wrote

We cracked up when he started going to town on them with the lunch pail lmao Scared the hell out of me as a youngun though


King_Buliwyf t1_j1yhyjm wrote

The wheelers stopped being scary the second they show their faces, and you see they're just regular guys in hats.


-Ok-Perception- t1_j1zogr7 wrote

Tik Tok himself was nightmare fuel..... everything in the whole damn movie was.

That's the magic of it. It's truly the most horrific horror movie made for kids, it's far more terrifying than horror movies for adults too.


Skeeter724 t1_j20bdn2 wrote

Yes! My mom took me to see this at the theater as a kid thinking it would be like the original. I was 4. I still remember scenes close to 40 years later. I rewatched it a year or two ago to see if my little kid mind had just blown it out of proportion. Nope! That movie is definitely not kid friendly.


trashbagbody t1_j1xkqis wrote

Original film was MGM, Return to Oz was Disney. Pretty sure the MGM character designs were copyright even if the source material (Wizard of oz) is in the public domain. (Not sure if the book was actually in the public domain at the time Return to Oz was filmed). I think MGM might even have a monopoly on the Ruby slippers too. (Original slippers were silver, but red looked better in technicolor)


Keeble64 t1_j1xubol wrote

They do. The 'Wicked' musical has to use silver slippers.


iveseenthelight t1_j1yi20s wrote

That's interesting considering Wicked is based on its own book. I guess they didn't even want to risk a lawsuit.


ootchang t1_j1yzuai wrote

Of course they would have gotten sued by MGM. MGM invented the ruby slippers (or at least the idea of the magic slippers being ruby), so they have exclusive rights to that idea. The only source material that Wicked pulls from is the original books, and only what is public domain.


iveseenthelight t1_j20ltdv wrote

Do you think if Wicked or Disney changed them to the garnet shoes or some other red gemstone they'd be able to get away with it? Or would that be skirting too close to the IP?


ootchang t1_j20p36t wrote

I have a feeling MGM also trademarked the shoe design as well, which would likely make the red color too close. Many times with IP they do both, trademark and copyright, to cover their bases. Trademark does not expire as long as you continue to use it and continue to defend it.

So for example, eventually, inevitably, the copyright for Superman will expire, at least the portions of the character present in Action Comics #1. But since the S shield is trademarked, it will not be in the public domain. So you could technically adapt that original comic, but could never show the shield. I bet DC comics trademarked elements of the character design itself too.

I’m sure Disney holds some trademarks for visual elements of Mickey Mouse’s design as well.

Now I know some people will come at this and claim “that’s not how trademark works”, but it totally is. It’s not what it was originally intended to do, but that is what it does in modern America.

Three real world examples that show what you can do using trademark to its fullest:

I’m sure many people are familiar with those baby bottles that have the hole in them, which are supposed to be easier for baby to hold and prevent gas bubbles. So the original idea for that was patented, of course. And what was patented was the idea of a hole in a bottle. I saw the original drawings in class — it looked like a donut. Not at all what we think of. And that patent gave the inventor 20 years before it became available to everyone.

So then the inventor took the shape that actually worked the best and trademarked it, as a silhouette. And really it’s the only shape that gets all the benefits. And trademarks never expire, so every bottle in that classic shape is licensed from this guy.

Second example, sticking with bottles. The shape of the Coke bottle is trademarked. So even if they had patented the formula and now it was public (they never did so they never had to reveal it) you would never be able to bottle coke in the classic coke bottle. In fact, that trademark technically means you can’t re-sell those bottles either. Like you couldn’t refill them with homemade coke and sell them.

And last example I feel like giving: the Empire State Building is trademarked. Not just the name (of course that is) but the shape of the building. And some of the architectural details too I think. Because of that, if you want to use the ESB in a movie or tV show, you have to get permission and/or pay them. And any movie that features it will have at the end a little “used with permission statement”.

Trademark can be used to cover a LOT of things. It can make things really murky as some of these stories enter the public domain in the coming decades.


Jake_reeves123 t1_j21q9gd wrote

It uses silver slippers to start. There’s a point in the show where they turn ruby - they used that as a way to bridge the silver of the books and the ruby of the movies.


ilovemychickens OP t1_j1xlbw2 wrote

This is very interesting, that totally makes sense! Thank you


Tradman86 t1_j1xko04 wrote

Because it was a different production company and they didn't actually get the rights to make a sequel to the original film.

They used public domain material from the books. The only thing from the original film they paid to use was the ruby slippers, which cost them a pretty penny.


Ralinor t1_j1xmp1r wrote

In the book the slippers were silver. MGM did red to take advantage of technicolor


GryphonHall t1_j1xnqi4 wrote

Dorothy is played by the same actress that played Vicki valencourt in the Waterboy. Fairuza Balk.


hapcat1999 t1_j1y0nmj wrote

I remember her from The Worst Witch! Tim Curry was exceptional in this.


FamousOrphan t1_j1xo8w6 wrote

Return to Oz is a favorite of mine because it’s so similar to the books. The books, as you have learned in the comments, are much, much more of a fever dream than the Wizard of Oz movie.


t53ix35 t1_j1xmg2w wrote

We are talking about the 1939 MGM film and the 1985 Disney version of a subsequent book from the original series which had a lot of installments. For me they are a completely different ventures into two different stories from the source material. Separated by a lifetime’s worth of cinematic expression. The are separate experiences. Related but separate. I like each of them for themselves.


Wh00ster t1_j1xl3sm wrote

I love that movie for nightmares it gave me. My first intro to horror movies


ilovemychickens OP t1_j1xlk5v wrote

I had nightmares about the wheelers and Mombis hall of heads forever lol


Suggesterfy t1_j1yfi4r wrote

Mombi’s heads, wheelers, and Dorothy almost being given a lobotomy gave me bad dreams well into adulthood!!! Disney be evil!!!


RockItGuyDC t1_j20v87u wrote

The Nome King was no joke, too. His game that he makes Dorothy play is a version of hell to me.


Satanicapanica t1_j1zgbr4 wrote

I just watched it again with my son and the wheelers were the only thing in a movie so far that made him cover his eyes. The kid loves zombies/monsters/etc...but yep, this movie scared him! I loved it! He did too...


DrRexMorman t1_j1xwhtd wrote

>we can't figure out why some of the character models look completely different to the first film.

  1. The films' costumes and effects were designed by two different teams working ~50 years apart.

  2. Return to Oz wasn't pitched or sold as a sequel to the original film. It was specifically conceived as an entirely distinct story to dodge MGM's copyrights:,1500411&hl=en

  1. If we ignore Disney's posturing and decide that the films are connected, we have to remember that Oz's material and social quality reflects Dorothy's life experiences. Oz was lovely and (mostly) friendly during her first visit because she was innocent, happy, and had support from people around her. Like - her biggest life challenge was a neighbor who was mad at her dog. Oz is a desolate wasteland when Dorothy returns because she's just escaped an institution where she was being tortured for expressing belief in it.

Ralinor t1_j1xmkps wrote

I’m fairly certain that the sequel version of the characters is more book accurate.

Incidentally, that movie combined the second and third books (out of fourteen) of the OZ series.


huggyscolex t1_j1xmis9 wrote

I once watched Return to Oz coming off 16 hits of acid. Life altering experience, highly recommend


trashbagbody t1_j1xnfmi wrote

I can't imagine what the Hall of Heads scene was like for you lmao


SaulsAll t1_j1xsdcb wrote

I cant make any concrete connections, but I swear the TMBG song is a reference to that scene.


Sufficient_Engine880 t1_j1zgh61 wrote

Holy shit that's a terrible song. Was that meant to be serious?


SaulsAll t1_j1zwnfq wrote

As much as any TMBG song. Linnell takes a very "experimental jazz" approach to college rock. I prefer Flansburgh's more standard approach to the music, keeping the silliness more in the lyrics.

Have you never heard of They Might Be Giants?


Sufficient_Engine880 t1_j2cxhwj wrote

Kind of, I had friends be really into them growing up, but was never my thing. The Malcolm song is kinda fun, but I don't really irony. I'm trying to think of similar bands I do like and I guess flaming lips, but I love their sincerity when it's there


_PukyLover_ t1_j1xsbmy wrote

Actually, it's closer to the drawings in the original books, just Google it!


Salarian_American t1_j1xv0gl wrote

Here's something fun I learned today: the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie that everyone knows is the fourth time Wizard of Oz was made into a movie. There were silent films made in 1910 and 1925 and an animated adaptation in 1935.


Only_Self_5209 t1_j1xn2jk wrote

Closer to the books, the original 1930s movie while one of the best examples of a perfect fantasy movie is not very close to the books and Hollywoodises how dark and shocking some parts of the book are


SaulsAll t1_j1xjq27 wrote

Like any "entering a fantasy world" plot, I always assume how it appears is heavily influenced by the mind of the person entering.

Dorothy is at a very different mental state in Return to Oz.

As for why in regards to making the movie, I would assume some desire from the art department to be original and add their own take. Either as other person said to be more accurate to book illustrations, or to closer match the darker tone of the movie.


joescott2176 t1_j1xjqn8 wrote

Different production and costume designers.


harrygato t1_j1xtqhu wrote

it was more faithful to the books than the first one.


Keeble64 t1_j1xteew wrote

Wait... You think the Return to Oz characters look like the cheap dollar store knockoffs when the 1939 characters were just in lead makeup?!


Telkorenar t1_j1y26cm wrote

The scene where dorothy steals the powder of life and wakes up the mombi head was terrifying.

“Dorrrrrthyyyy gaaaaaale!”


gfoltz78 t1_j1y1hlk wrote

This was one of my favorite “original” Disney movies from my childhood.
Fun Fact: Tim Burton based Jack Skellington off of Jack Pumpkinhead from this movie. Here’s a link.


decker12 t1_j1y80w5 wrote

If you're in the mood for more nightmare fuel, check out The Wiz. The Broadway musical was decent, the film adaptation was not.

Dorothy, supposed to be 16 years old, is played by a then 34 year old Diana Ross. Nobody wanted her in this role until strings were pulled and even so, the original director quit based on that decision. Joel Schumacher was the writer for the movie and it was a critical and commercial bomb. Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor's performances are the only things decent about this dumpster fire of an adaptation.

I watched it again recently and was shocked at how off kilter the whole thing was. It had no audience in mind - kids would be terrified by the visuals and confused by the urbanization of the Wizard of Oz plot. Adults would recognize the stars but the music, even though it had that Motown sound, was written for children.

Fun fact, Michael Jackson's performance and work ethic in this movie impressed Quincy Jones enough that he decided to help Michael produce a few solo albums... just some minor little albums called Off The Wall, Thriller, and Bad.


AmericanMuscle4Ever t1_j2091o0 wrote

I loved the wiz... you buggin for the musical performances alone movie was legendary...


beauhemianone t1_j1yzux2 wrote

Return to Oz is more accurate to Frank L Baum’s original series. Dorothy is supposed to be younger than Hollywood portrayed her when Garland did in 1939. Overall, the books are supposed to symbolize the working class struggle against the Industrial Revolution that was rapidly changing social constructions (like farmers needing land to farm and teachers teaching small groups instead of dozens.) Return to Oz not only portrays cannon accurately, but it also taps into the fear that Baum intended to create over society’s restructuring. —sincerely, an Oz nerd


banananutnightmare t1_j200wfp wrote

The books aren't supposed to symbolize anything. The first book has a preface by Baum explicitly saying so.


AnonymousSplash t1_j1ye311 wrote

I have no idea if there were also legal issues involved, but as a big fan of the original books I can tell you that the characters look almost 100% book accurate and Dorothy was an 8-year old girl in the books. The movie itself is based on the 2nd and 3rd books in the series.

Also, if you're into whimsical children's novels from the early 1900s, I highly recommend reading the original book series. The original MGM movie butchered them pretty badly. There are 14 books written by Frank Baum, they're a lot of fun!


Doomer_Prep_2022 t1_j1z6y5d wrote

It's an adaptation of several of the original books, but not a direct sequel to the movie.


-Ok-Perception- t1_j1znw67 wrote

Because it was not canon with the original film.


Also, Return to Oz is a great fucking movie. I'd like to see more of the Baum formula adapted with that same nightmarish vibe.

This is the best "kids movie" of the 80s, I put that in quotation marks because it gave me nightmares, but it's still a fucking awesome movie.


fart-debris t1_j1ygocu wrote

MGM owns the copyright to everything that’s unique to the Judy Garland film, from the character designs to the songs & music to the ruby slippers, so anyone making their adaptation of The Wizard of Oz can’t use that stuff without striking a deal with whoever owns the rights to MGM library now.

Return to Oz avoided most of that by just defaulting to W.W. Denslow’ s original book designs for the characters, though the Disney company was so hellbent on making that shitty Sam Raimi OZ movie from a few years ago seem like an official prequel to the Judy Garland movie that they paid for the rights to be able to use the ruby slippers and a few other elements from the Garland film, though supposedly they tried to go out of their way to make the Sam Raimi Wicked Witch of the West as close to the same shade of green as the Judy Garland version without duplicating exactly so they wouldn’t have to pay for that, too.


arashi256 t1_j1z13ed wrote

Doesn't Disney own MGM now?


fart-debris t1_j1zw82u wrote

According to Wikipedia, everything distributed by MGM prior to 1986 is now owned by Warner Brothers.


arashi256 t1_j1zx38w wrote

Ah, okay - I felt sure it was Disney. My bad.


JennaLS t1_j1zey8a wrote

I watched this as a kid and thought it was some sort of fever dream it was so wild. It wasn't until after I was in my 30s I found out it was actually a real movie.

With Fairuza Ball as Dorothy from The Craft & Waterboy fame , that was a shock to learn


KBAR1942 t1_j1xokt2 wrote

I'm old enough to remember watching the movie when I was a kid. I really need to go back and give this another watch to see what I think about it. As for the designs I do remember them being much better than the original. I like the darker look for Oz.


NickandTalon t1_j1xvrcb wrote

Wizard of Oz rights are held by MGM and Return to Oz was Disney. Besides it being closer to the books, you got to remember that MGM certainly wasn't going to give any more rights to the images than they did. Disney barely got the rights to even use the ruby slippers. And that's all they gave up the rights to.

Wizard of Oz books might be in the public domain but the imagery of the movies is still copyright protected, down to the shade and color of the ruby slippers.


Crixxxxxx1 t1_j1y53ap wrote

Because MGM owned the likenesses of the 1939 characters. Disney had to pay MGM just to have Dorothy wear ruby slippers, as they were a detail of the ‘39 film.


isecore t1_j1yfare wrote

Return To Oz has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I first watched it as a youngling and thought it was completely weird (which it is) and then every few years I rewatch it and enjoy how funky it is.

There's a lot to like about it such as the goofy production-design, the way more scary antagonists, young Fairuza Balk and not to forget Tik-Tok, also the dark undertones of the whole dang thing.

Wonderful 80s weirdness.


electricbamboogaloo t1_j1yix90 wrote

Return to Oz visually was pretty accurate to John Tenniel’s illustrations for many Oz books. Even Scarecrow’s look was more like the books later on.


Setting-Conscious t1_j1yr69o wrote

Different people made the movies. And they were made like 40 years apart. That’s like asking why Godzilla in the current films look different from the ones made 40 years ago.


77slevin t1_j1z53dy wrote

>In Return to Oz (1985) the nightmare fueled sequel to the Wizard of Oz, why do so many of the characters look completely different from the first film?

Mountains of cocaine.


Brilliant-Apple5008 t1_j1z81da wrote

I just assumed it was a choice to make the movie that much more terrifying by portraying the characters we know in a very unfamiliar fashion


Seahearn4 t1_j208yin wrote

One thing worth mentioning is the creatives at Disney were very much into darker subjects in the 80s. Tim Burton was part of that group. (They had begun developing Nightmare Before Christmas during this time.)

The Black Cauldron was the tipping point where they overhauled their animation department, and moved toward lighter, more kid-accessible movies like Oliver & Co., Little Mermaid, etc.


The_Funkhouse t1_j20aut3 wrote

Because it’s a different film with a different director.


fan_of_will t1_j20crwa wrote

When people ask me what is the scariest movie, I say this one. Truly fucked with my head when I was a kid.


Bender3455 t1_j20pjjx wrote

I remember when we were kids, me and my sister couldn't figure out why Dorothy was so young and pouty. With the rest of the characters, our parents told us that the magic of Oz changed them as they got older. But yeah...nightmare fuel indeed, lol.


Donald_J_Putin t1_j20x1xp wrote

It was closer to the Frank Baum stories.


Mork59 t1_j213w1m wrote

I’m 30 years old and TIL there is a sequel to the Wizard of Oz.


thunder2132 t1_j222t9p wrote

I saw it as a kid and until just a few years ago thought my memory was a nightmare.


Lolrandomusername3 t1_j21zlwz wrote

I can't stand the scarecrow calling the 10 year old girl "Mom"


thebeginingisnear t1_j1xl6s4 wrote

TIL there was a sequel to wiZard of Oz


ilovemychickens OP t1_j1xlh1f wrote

Go watch it, it is a great movie, but definitely a fever dream lol


OddAstronaut2305 t1_j1y2inr wrote

It’s not a sequel though. It is an adaptation of a different book in the series by another studio many years later. It is like saying that Pan 2015 is a sequel to Hook 1991, it is not.


Gaerfast t1_j1xmgxp wrote

Decades of screen technology. The original film it would have been nearly impossible to make the characters look like they do in the books. By the 80’s animatronics and sfx had come light years.


Eikelbijter t1_j1xrrq3 wrote

Or maybe it's deeper than that since the movie is about drugs and psychedelics, maybe that's why they look different.


qwertycantread t1_j1yf3pt wrote

My guess is that the studio did not want anyone to think it was connected to ‘The Wiz’ made seven years earlier. That movie was a massive flop both critically and commercially.


westraz t1_j1ygzz5 wrote

this is due to a lot of things, the movie had more than one director, c/p issues, made to be more like the books and ohh boy the books, and the shot time they had to film this movie, they were just like we need this movie dune now

ps I saw this movie as a kid in the movie theater gave me a nightmare


Chen_Geller t1_j1yhfma wrote

Books get adapted multiple times with different visuals: just look at Oliver Twist.

The only outlier is the recent The Rings of Power, which is a separate adaptation (like this film) but tries to pass for a prequel to The Lord of the Rings films.


MrDuck0409 t1_j1zfap5 wrote

Anything having to do with the original movie and MGM is outrageously expensive.

Back in the '70's our high-school drama club wanted to do TWOO, and of course do it as the musical that it's known for.

However, just to RENT the sheet music, and this was in the 70's, was stupidly expensive, something like $3000 for 3 months.

I was a junior then, and I offered to arrange the music if I could just get the conductor's score. That only cost the drama club $150 for six months. I spent the first 3 months arranging and transcribing individual parts for the "orchestra" we assembled to perform the music for the play.

Now most of TWOO music is on Musecore and downloadable (subscription).


Beautybabe09 t1_j1zphrr wrote

I didn’t mind the difference. I’m a huge fan of the film.


Doobledorf t1_j1zps8r wrote

Gay horror classic, right here.


bettinafairchild t1_j215m7q wrote

Back then, they had different attitudes than we do today about intellectual property. Nowadays, the nerds are in the office and want authenticity and faithfulness to the original. Back then, "auteurs" wanted to put their own stamp on things, to be different and unique and not respect the source material at all. Hence you get Jan Peters (Barbra Streisand's hairdresser), who wanted to do a Superman movie where Superman never wears his uniform, doesn't use his powers, and is angry and destroys things. Basically, completely nothing like actual Superman. (watch this for an entertaining account of this:

That's one explanation. The other one is that they wanted to make the movie based on the book, not based on the 1939 movie.

I think both thoughts went into their decisions.


anthony_is_ t1_j21agcd wrote

By ‘the first film’, you mean the “5th” film, right? Because MGM’s 1939 musical was far from the first Oz film.


Iyellkhan t1_j21lxzx wrote

They probably didnt want to pay MGM a licensing fee for the derivative work that is the 1939 movie. They may also have wanted to do their own thing. Or both (my guess is both)


GodsGiftToNothing t1_j222g98 wrote

Return to Oz is heavily influenced by the actual books, as well as the original illustrations by Neill illustrations. The original Wizard of Oz, actually has very little to do with the books.


stuminus3 t1_j1xovuu wrote

You didn't notice, among other things, that these movies were made around 50 years apart?


ilovemychickens OP t1_j1xq63p wrote

I mean, all of the characters changed from recognizable humans with prosthetics, to very stiff looking puppets almost. Cowardly lion changed from a guy dressed like a lion, to an actual lion. I'm not mad at it, they're just extremely different design choices and I wondered if there was a reason besides the obvious


IMTrick t1_j1y161p wrote

As someone who read all the Oz books as a kid (but hasn't seen Return to Oz), what you're describing sounds... well, a lot more like the illustrations from the books than what was in the MGM movie.

My guess would be that Return to Oz is simply an adaptation of another of the Oz books, and not a sequel to the movie we're familiar with.


Putrid-Conclusion-93 t1_j1ysnus wrote

I didn't know it existed, and I'm a movie guy.

I'll speculate it has a lot to do with all the time elapsed between original and (sounds awful) sequel - the person who designed those costumes might have died 20 years before the sequel, and the old ones would be unlikely to fit even the same actors after all that time, not to mention someone else entirely.

That kind of gap between productions would be disasterous.


Sufficient_Engine880 t1_j1zja7b wrote

No. you're totally wrong and the movie is delightful


Putrid-Conclusion-93 t1_j20qzwn wrote

Said it "sounds awful" not is awful.

I didn't insult something I haven't seen - I said the production aspect would be disasterous. Read the op or don't comment.


jenumba t1_j1xj14m wrote

They're not the same characters, they're completely different characters. Did you watch the movie with the sound off?

Edit: Its been a while since I've watched the movie, forgot the original characters do show up. Their designs are closer to the original illustrations in the books.


JPumpkinhead1991 t1_j1xkewb wrote

People focus on the most unimportant details.


therlwl t1_j1xl5q7 wrote

Yeah, I mean why would two movies from different everything look the same?