alice in wonderland wizard of oz crossover

When you’ve run out of toy franchises to adapt or remakes to greenlight, where else to turn to but the public domain — a veritable playground of decades-old characters ripe for the big or small screen? It’s why we’ve had a million Robin Hood reboots and why we’ll keep seeing the Wicked Witch’s story retold on Broadway. But when doing a straight adaptation has become old-hat, what else is there to do? Throw two characters together in a wacky crossover that sound like it came out of a Disney fan-fiction.

Dorothy & Alice is one such crossover, now that Netflix has discovered that it can mine the public domain for its endless stream of content. The Alice in Wonderland Wizard of Oz crossover would team the two heroines of the stories together in a “fantasy adventure epic.” And it has a new screenwriter.

Collider reports that Netflix has hired Anna Klassen, who landed on Hollywood’s radar with a 2017 Black List script for a J.K. Rowling biopic called When Lightning Strikes, to pen Dorothy & Alice, which follows Dorothy as she’s sent to a home for girls experiencing troubling nightmares, where she meets Alice.

Klassen confirmed the news on Twitter. “The Cheshire Cat is out of the bag,” she wrote. “I’m writing DOROTHY & ALICE for @Netflix, a fantasy adventure epic. I grew up reading these books & this project has been endlessly fun to craft – to reinvent treasured characters and explore the worlds I wanted to inhabit as a kid.”

Klassen will be rehauling a script penned by Justin Merz (Disney’s Rose Red), who wrote the initial draft of the script on spec as a schoolteacher in Santa Monica. Netflix acquired the project in 2017 with plans for it to kickstart a franchise, with Bryan Unkeless (I, Tonya) is producing via his Clubhouse Pictures banner.

Here is the synopsis of the original script, according to Collider:

The original script found Dorothy Gale haunted by nightmares of Oz’s impending destruction. Sent to a home for others like her who experience troubling, vivid dreams, she soon befriends Alice, a mysterious girl who involves her in a perilous quest to not only save the worlds of imagination, but the world as we know it.

However, Collider reports that the plot has changed since the initial spec script sale, with Netflix and Unkeless tasking Klassen with taking the project in a “different direction.” Whether that is something darker or a more lighthearted, family-friendly take, remains to be seen. Honestly, ABC’s Once Upon a Time had the right idea — dedicating an entire season to public domain characters that grew increasingly wackier and more absurd with each episode. With crossovers like this, I’m not sure taking it so seriously would do the separate worlds justice.

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