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Please treat this as a rumor until it is confirmed.

A source close to the production of Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” franchise claims that there are two films that will follow up the success of the current Oz film.  One film will be a spin-off/prequel, while the other will be a sequel.

The source states that two of the major roles will be recast for different reasons.  Director Sam Raimi has stated that he is not interested in returning for a second go around in the Land of Oz.  Although Disney would like him back, there are those who would rather keep him out.  Apparently, actor Robert Downey, Jr. was close to signing on as the Wizard a.k.a. Oscar Diggs, when there was a falling out between Raimi and Downey.  Studio heads were upset by Raimi’s decision to cast James Franco over Downey.  So, with Raimi stepping away from the director’s chair, this would be a clear invitation for Downey to take over the role as the Wizard.  In the process, Downey would be offered a sweetheart deal to not only act in the sequel, but in the Iron Man/Avengers’ films as well.

The other major role that is up in the air is that of the witch Theodora better known as the Wicked Witch of the West played by the beautiful Mila Kunis.  It seems none of the executives were taken with her performance and are thinking of recasting the part.  The good news is both Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams will return in their respective roles as Evanora and Glinda in both the spin-off and the sequel.  The spin-off film will focus on the origin of the three witches and the beginning of the rivalry between Evanora and Glinda.  This would be a perfect opportunity to introduce a new actress to replace Theodora, which will all depend on whether the sequel or spin-off is made first.

Finally, word is circulating that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) could be asked to step in and direct one or both of the follow-up films.

What are your thoughts on this news?

The action/adventure/fantasy film “Oz: The Great and Powerful” is now showing in theaters. It stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Abigail Spencer, Joey King, Bill Cobbs, Tony Cox, Martin Klebba, Tim Holmes, Mia Serafino, Toni Wynne, Bruce Campbell, Stephen R. Hart, Rob Crites, Ted Raimi, Dashiell Raimi, Oliver Raimi, and Emma Raimi. Mitchell Kapner, and David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the screenplay based on the works of L. Frank Baum. Sam Raimi directs.

Source: Nuke the Fridge