Wizard of Oz (character) - Adaptations


  • In the 1902 musical extravaganza, The Wizard is the usurper of the throne of King Pastoria II, who is returned to Oz by the same cyclone that brought Dorothy Gale. The Wizard was portrayed by a series of "ethnic" comedians. Once Pastoria regains his throne, anyone who sides with the Wizard, including those seeking his aid, are considered guilty of treason and ordered beheaded.
  • The extended network television version of the animated feature Journey Back to Oz (1964/1972) contains live-action segments with Bill Cosby as The Wizard (a character otherwise not seen in the original theatrical version) trying to bring two children back to Kansas for Christmas.
  • The Wizard of Oz appears in Off to See the Wizard voiced by Daws Butler. He serves as the host of the show where he presents the movie of the episode.
  • In the 1978 film The Wiz, the titular "Wiz" (played by Richard Pryor) is Herman Smith, a failed politician from Atlantic City, New Jersey. This "Wiz" is a pathetic "phony" through and through. He lives isolated from the world in terror (fearing that people will discover that he's a fraud). He has no friends or anyone to talk to because he lives all alone. He does not provide the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion with their brains, heart and courage. Instead, Dorothy shows the three that they already possess the qualities they seek.
  • In author Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (a 1995 revisionist novel based on the inhabitants of Oz) and in the 2003 Broadway musical Wicked (based on Maguire's novel), the Wizard is a tyrannical ruler who uses deceit and trickery to hide his own shortcomings. It also revealed, in both the book and musical, that the Wizard is in fact Elphaba's biological father. Unlike in earlier works, the Wizard is the villain of the story. The depictions of the character differ radically between the novel and the musical. In the book, it is revealed that on Earth the Wizard was an occultist, familiar with the works of Madame Blavatsky, who entered Oz by means of a ritual involving human sacrifice in search of the Grimmerie, a magic book secreted in Oz by an earlier Earth-based sorcerer. This version of the Wizard works to maintain his own position and prestige, regardless of the pain and grief it causes to others, and is not beyond subversion or mandated murder. It is revealed that he considers himself beyond morality, unable to be bound by a promise and considering murder a "silly convention of a naive civilization." The Wizard is portrayed in a better light in the musical, Wicked. Instead of being very amoral, he is carried away by the belief of the people of Oz that he is "wonderful." In the play the Wizard is also more of a figurehead controlled by Madame Morrible and though he is responsible for some of the things that happen in the play he is truly not made fully aware of how his actions affect others. When he learns that Elphaba is his daughter, he expresses visible sorrow when he learns of her (supposed) death, agreeing with Glinda to leave Oz in his balloon. In both versions it is revealed that the Wizard is indeed behind some of the most horrific and disastrous events in the story, with one of his cohorts being Madame Morrible. The Wizard is revealed the illegitimate father of Elphaba, seducing her mother with a magical green elixir, causing Elphaba's green tone. In the musical, this fact is revealed to the character Glinda, who accosts the Wizard with this information. In the novel, this fact is deduced by the Wizard when Dorothy presents her with the bottle of the green elixir that had found among Elphaba's personal effects. It is also under the Wizard's direction that the Animals of Oz — most notably the Goat teacher from Shiz University, Doctor Dillamond (except in the novel, where he is murdered) — are caged and placed under strict control. This cruelty causes the final split between Elphaba and the Wizard, leading to her transformation into the Wicked Witch of the West. In the original stage production, the Wizard was played by Cabaret star Joel Grey, who also played the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True, a 1995 concert staging of the 1939 film musical.
  • Caliber Comics' Oz comic book series, followed by Arrow Comics' Dark Oz and The Land of Oz featured the Wizard, affectionately known as "Oscar," particularly to Ozma, as a tall, bald, mustachioed man, brooding, powerful, and not at all bumbling.
  • The Wizard is featured in the 1990 The Wizard of Oz animated series voiced by Alan Oppenheimer. When the Wicked Witch of the West is resurrected, she casts a spell that gets the Wizard's balloon caught in the wind causing Dorothy and her friends to embark on a quest to save the Wizard and defeat the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005), the title character is portrayed by Jeffrey Tambor.
  • The 2006 comic book The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles features a Wizard who is closer to the benevolent figure in Baum's works. In issue #1, he saves Dorothy and Alice Liddell from a pack of Wheelers, and later accompanies them and Jack Pumpkinhead from Chicago to Kansas.
  • In the 2007 Sci Fi television miniseries Tin Man, a character called the "Mystic Man" (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is one of the former rulers of Central City, the capital of the Outer Zone (O.Z.), and like his counterpart from the book, uses technology to make himself seem more impressive. He is also referred to as "the wizard" and styles himself similarly to the Wizard of Oz, but has been relegated to the main performer of a Central City magic show rather than the "humbug" overlord of the Emerald City. Another character with similarities to the Wizard is D.G.'s father, Ahamo, a fairground worker from Earth who arrived in the Outer Zone via balloon and later gives D.G. transport in one.
  • In the VeggieTales episode The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's, the Wizard is portrayed by Archibald Asparagus as the "Wonderful Land of Ha's" amusement park owner who later reveals himself as a promotional showman to Darby (Junior Asparagus).
  • In June 2008 the Japanese video game publisher D3 Publisher announced The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road, a new video game adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, developed for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console. The game was developed by Media.Vision and shows a Japanese anime style for the graphics. "Riz-Zoawd" (the games name in Japan) is actually the anagram for "Wizard Oz". The game was published in Japan in late 2008 and North America in 2009 by Xseed Games.
  • The Wizard of Oz appears in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz portrayed by Christopher Lloyd.
  • In the 2011 direct-to-DVD animated film Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz, the Wizard is voiced by Joe Alaskey. This adaptation is a midquel/parallel of the classic 1939 film featuring Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse with Droopy.

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