Ever since Sam Mendes told Disney he wouldn't direct the Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz, the Great and Powerful, a number of filmmakers have been linked to the project as possible substitutes. Even Guillermo del Toro was rumored to be considered. But now Vulture reports that Sam Raimi has been officially offered the gig, as of Friday morning. If he accepts, the Spider-Man trilogy director would team up with Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr., who has long been set to play the titular "wizard" for the origin story, which has been scripted by Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards). Disney apparently wants to get this going soon, which makes sense given there are about a billion other Oz-based films in the works at various studios, so it would likely be his next film.
He hasn't signed on yet, but if Raimi heads to Oz, perhaps he won't end up doing The Hobbit, for which he was thought next in line after Del Toro's departure from that prequel. And perhaps he won't end up doing a World of Warcraft movie either. Fine with me, as I'd rather see what a Raimi-directed Oz movie looks like than let the project fall into the hands of other less visionary directors like Adam Shankman and Timur Bekmambetov, both of whom have been candidates. I'd still prefer del Toro, but this could be the next best option. As a fan of the darker sort of L. Frank Baum adaptations, such as Disney's own Return to Oz, I look forward to something along the tone of the Evil Dead movies. And who wouldn't like to see Bruce Campbell as any number of Oz characters?