Concept Art And Character Renderings From 'Dorothy From Oz'

While Sam Raimi is working on explaining how the Wizard got to Oz, there's another film in production that'll tell the story of what happens after Dorothy left. That film is called Dorothy of Oz and it's a 3D animated sequel to the 1939 original about Dorothy being transported back to help a new group of misfits find the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion in order to defeat an evil Jester who wants to take over Oz. Directed by Daniel St. Pierre, the film sports a start studded voice cast including Lea Michele, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Belushi, Oliver Platt and Patrick Stewart and is reportedly scheduled for release in April 2012. We've already seen some character sketches, but now a bunch of concept art has surfaced that gives us a good idea of what to expect from the film. We've got the photos and more after the jump.

Here are just a few of the photos that were posted today. Head over to The Hollywood Reporter for a whole bunch more. (Thanks to JoBlo too.)

For a movie that was announced this summer and is still in production, it sure has a huge presence online. There's an official website with links to Facebook and Twitter pages that both get updated pretty frequently. They even featured some of the above art months ago. So, if you are at all interested in this project, you should certainly check those. There are also links to articles written about the film so, for example, on their Facebook you can find a video of Lea Michele performing the voice of Dorothy.

All that press and the images above definitely show that the filmmakers are ready to present a gorgeous view of Oz, plus the voice cast is certainly top notch and exciting. What worries me, though, is the plot description:

In this story, Dorothy (Lea Michele) returns to Kansas to find it devastated by the tornado that had whisked her away to the magical Land of Oz. The home she had been so desperate to return to is no longer; the townspeople, with nowhere to turn, are packing up and moving out. However, before Dorothy can even begin to react to or resist this change, she is transported back to Oz by equally magical methods as her first trip. Oz is in trouble, and the people there need her help: Dorothy's old friends- the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) and Cowardly Lion (James Belushi)- have disappeared and the land is in a state of decay. As Dorothy journeys to find her friends, she encounters a number of new companions and problems, including a man of marshmallows (Hugh Dancy) who can't think for himself, a china doll princess (Megan Hilty) whose bossiness is a cover for her fragility, and a tugboat (Patrick Stewart) with as many personalities as he has pieces. Dorothy must help this odd group band together against a wicked new villain- a Jester who thinks all of Oz should be under his control.

So you cast Aykroyd, Grammer and Belushi as the famous Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion respectively and then push them to the side for a whole new trio of misfits? And didn't we see that Kansas was totally okay when Dorothy got back after the original film? What happened and why go off canon?

Answers to those questions will come, but either way it's very cool to see that Summertime Entertainment, the production company behind the film, is confident enough to really start pushing their film early. What do you think?