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Headscratchers: Oz: The Great and Powerful
  • Why do the people at the carnival expect Oz to make the wheelchair-bound walk just because he performed some magic tricks? Cutting the wires and the like are standard elements of a magic show. I've been to magic shows and I have no idea how they do some of those tricks, but I don't expect them to make a scar on my wrist disappear.
    • Good question. Back then, people had less experience with magic shows.
    • But not that much less experience with magic shows. It does stretch Willing Suspension of Disbelief a little there, but it's Rule of Drama and Foreshadowing of fixing the porcelain girl's legs.
    • If traveling "medicine shows" could rip off people's money back then by promising miracle cures from bottles of sugar water, it's not unreasonable to expect them to ask for similarly-impossible miracles from a guy who's showing off his "magic".

  • When Oz questions how Theodora does not have men back home interested in her, she says, "You don't know much about witches, do you?" What exactly does this mean? Are they required to take vows of celibacy? If that is the case, why does Theodora expect Oz to make her his Queen, or Oz being with Glinda at the end?
    • It's likely that folk in Oz are rather fearful of witches, given that they can throw around bolts of energy, fly, and at least one is currently busy terrorizing the countryside. It looked like it was more to explain Theodora's naivety about faux romantic overtures, and corresponding anger once she discovered Oz's true nature, rather than a physical aspect of the setting
    • This was the impression I got as well; Theodora isn't required to be celibate because she's a witch, but the fact that she is a witch scares most guys who would otherwise be interested away.
    • On the other hand, if witches are so feared that men avoid her, that raises the question of why one witch is the head adviser to the king, one is trusted by the people to have driven out the Wicked Witch, and one was the king's own daughter, who was obviously adored by her people.
      • Not really. Witches in those three roles are quite powerful even without the magic. It's the Celebrity Paradox: Loved by all and lonely at the top.
    • Most likely, witches simply aren't supposed to be overly concerned with their own personal lives, given their other responsibilities. They're professionals fulfilling an important duty for their communities, so having a bunch of men chasing after them would be a distraction.
    • Given the reactions of the crowd in the scene where Evanora and Theodora are torturing Glinda (they shout things like "We know the truth!") it's possible Evanora's murder of the King is an Open Secret that the general populace is aware of but keeps quiet about due to fear of Evanora's magic. Theodora herself was oblivious to it due to her naivety and Evanora's sheltering, but the people of Oz believe her to have been complicit in the plot and so are afraid of her as well.

  • How was China Girl able to run through the poppy fields with Glinda's wand without dying?
    • She is not made of flesh. It is the same reason the Scarecrow and the Tin Man were not affected, and this is flat out stated in Baum's book. Also, they do not die, just sleep.
    • You have to have lungs to inhale poppy vapors.
      • Lungs that transfer oxygen to the blood, that is. I'll wager hers were just used for talking.
      • Her legs were hollow, so she probably doesn't have blood or internal organs.

  • Is death by water only applicable to certain witches? It's not that only wicked witches are vulnerable, as Theodora got scarred when she cried before she was corrupted. And it's not that only good witches are vulnerable, as Glinda didn't get scarred when she cried after getting shackled by the two wicked witches. Is Theodora the only witch prone to this?
    • This movie seems to suggest Theodora is vulnerable to water due to being a fire witch.
    • It's always been unique to the Wicked Witch of the West. The first movie didn't touch on it, but the books claimed that her lifetime of evil had dried her blood. Obviously, that doesn't apply here, so elemental typing seems the best explanation. Maybe Glinda should have tried fighting her?
    • Kind of gross but on a related note — if crying is enough to hurt Theodora... how does she go to the bathroom?

  • How does Professor Marvel fit into this movie's universe? We're led to believe that all of the major characters in Oz have duplicates in the real world, just like in the original film — but what about Oz himself, who seems to exist in both worlds? Is there another fortune teller running around who looks like James Franco, but never got around to traveling to Oz?
    • It's possible but unlikely. As is mentioned on the head scratchers for the Wizard of Oz, Oz seems to function based on whatever rules it feels like at any given moment. There don't seem to be duplicates for Glinda in the original and unless we're accepting the it was all a dream answer (in which case Oz might simply be made up of some combination of all the people who ever made an impression on the visitor. It would even explain why Oz seems to retcon with each new telling, the world literally warps itself around the visitor and their state of mind.) Though I guess if you take this as prequel to the original MGM movie it's entirely possible that when you go to Oz you get a duplicate of some sort. It would explain why Professor Marvel is in Kansas to get caught up in what is presumably a second tornado along with Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. Honestly it's probably best not to think about it too much. Oz, much like Wonderland effectively does what it wants, because it wants, how it wants.
    • I wouldn't read too much into the And You Were There thing. OTGAP is a bit confused about which continuity it wants to follow. It clearly is set up to evoke the 1939 movie thematically, in terms of the aesthetics and overall feel, but continuity-wise it is more faithful to the books and is based on (however inconsistent) backstory Baum gave in the books for the Wizard's first arrival to Oz. In the 1939 movie, And You Were There is a element of the All Just a Dream ending, while in this movie the Land of Oz is clearly real. The duplicating actors are a thematic Shout-Out, nothing more.
      • Are you certain of that? Oz seems to believe that Glinda is Annie, for a moment.
    • Possibly Professor Marvel is Frank, who took up snake-oil selling after his old boss disappeared in the storm, and copied Oscar's style to do so.
      • That's my thought exactly. It's my headcanon.

  • In the beginning, when Oz and Theodora where hiding in that cave, where did that dove come from? I get that his jacket has hidden pockets, so I'm not questioning the trick, but he has two in the cage during the Kansas scene, puts one in his jacket but not the other, and we see it fly away. Also, even if the other one was there, how did it not die in the tornado?
    • Possibly he already had a dove in his pocket when the Kansas scene started. As for why it didn't die in the tornado, an even better question is why it didn't drown or at least break loose out of panic when he fell in the water.
    • Maybe he's just that good of a stage magician.

  • Is there any truth to what Evanora tells Theodora about what she did with Oscar, or was it a complete lie designed to push her idealistic sister over the Despair Event Horizon using Iago tactics? If the latter is the case, then did Oscar really intend to remain faithful to Theodora, was he really The Casanova?
    • I think it's clear that he treated Theodora as the same kind of disposable love interest as May, though he may have been true about making her his queen — but only if that's what it took to get his desired gold. Regretting it later is part of his Character Development.
    • It was a cruel lie to manipulate Theodora, which is why Evanora conjured her own music box. It is not necessarily clear how he viewed Theodora as a love interest. He was clearly attracted to her, but was offset by how quickly she wanted the relationship to go; she expected some guy she met a few seconds ago to make her his Queen, which would come off as strange to Oz, even if it is normal for Theodora.
    • I got the impression that witches are so powerful in Oz that all the men are simply to intimidated to talk to them. Which explains why two witches practically trip over themselves to get him and the third might very well have had she not made prior arrangements to eliminate him.

  • If Evanora has a crystal ball that can see what Oz is doing at all times, why didn't they check to see what he was planning? Even if they were confident that it would have been a Curb-Stomp Battle they could have at least checked to see if they were even going to send troops at all.
    • You don't double check on a Curb-Stomp Battle. She had basically banished Glinda by herself and now she's heading into a two on one battle because she believes the Great and Power Oz to be nothing at all. There is no evidence that she was watching much of them earlier certainly not enough to know that he's a trickster not just a liar.
    • Here's a theory: the bubble shield is resistant to her magic.
    • But Evanora was able to show Theodora an image of Oscar and Glinda together in Munchkinland, if memory serves. That was in the bubble. However, most of the tinkering/workshopping was done indoors and underground, maybe the crystal has limits of where it can look? Perhaps not checking on Glinda and Oscar, because the Winkie Army was so powerful, is another sign of Evanora's arrogance.
      • Except she's really not overly arrogant. She got tricked and it could have happened to anybody but she was absolutely correct that her army was more powerful, better trained and larger and the Wizard is no wizard at all. Her one mistake was not knowing anything of stage magic (why would she, she lives in a world with REAL magic) that when Oscar starts bringing in the tricks she's absolutely convinced that it's the real thing. If she'd so much as suspected that he was a trickster, and not liar taking advantage of her naive sister the movie would have had a much different ending.
    • We have no idea what the limitations on the scrying magic is. It might be very taxing, or can only be done for so much time. So why waste a limited resource on an easily won battle?

  • The invasion over the poppy fields. Did the witches just completely forget that there was an impenetrable field of sleep-flowers on that side of the city walls?
    • It doesn't really make sense, but given how magic works in Oz it's entirely possible that the witches saw an army on the march and figured that the fog or some other magic was repressing the magical poppies. As is mentioned several times both here and on The Wizardof OZ page Oz seems to do whatever the heck it feels like and it's probably not a good idea to get comfortable with the idea that it's going to behave the same way today as it did yesterday. If you see something unusual investigate.
    • Not to mention that the "soldiers" being used were running on a sort of technology never before seen in Oz. Given how little the witches thought of Oz, there were more likely to think that the poppy field somehow wasn't working, rather than that he actually got his shit together and invented a convenient fake army to trick them.
    • I may not be recalling the original Wizard of Oz film correctly, but doesn't Glinda use the same fog in that movie to wake Dorothy and Co. when they make the trip through the poppies? If that's the case, which I'm pretty sure it is, then Glinda's sister's would probably know her fog could counteract the poppy sleep effect.
      • What sisters? Theodora and Evanora aren't her sisters.
    • Maybe the witches could control the poppies properties! They activated it because the invasion was coming over it, and then the effect was still lingering when the monkeys invaded. After all, the poppies are still there 30 years later, and get activated for Dorothy.

  • At the end, Oz has Glinda read a decree that concludes with "and the people of Oz shall be free" (or something of the sort). Free in what sense? Oz is going to rule over them as a seemingly omnipotent, invulnerable, absolute god-king. And he's going to keep his true nature secret from his subjects. What sort of freedom is he promising these people?
    • I don't see the people of Oz complaining about his leadership by the time Dorothy shows up. So that's the kind of freedom he's offering.
    • Slavery and servitude (in the sense of "serving" a king) are two different things. The implication is that they were in slavery to the witches, but have more personal freedom while in Oz's power.
    • Oscar seems to have set himself up as more of a guardian of Oz, rather than a true leader. The people of Oz appear to be quite able to run the Emerald city and the other kingdoms without anybody bossing them about, which is perfect for Oscar because he doesn't have to manifest his presence at all in their lives to keep things running smoothly. By Dorothy's time, few people in Oz have ever even seen his "true form", implying that he is simply revered as an all-powerful force that watches over the people of Oz, but lets them be free to go about their daily business unoppressed. The only time the great and powerful Oz really needs to exercise his authority and/or use his "power" is when the kingdom is threatened by an outside force. Also, the audience should be reassured by the fact that while Oscar loves fame, fortune, and adoration, he is never cruel or tyrannical; he wants to dazzle people with a show, not make them wallow in servitude and torment. Finally, Glinda would have perceived if Oscar had intended to set himself up as a tyrant and would never have believed in him or helped him if he had been that kind of person.
      • Further evidence of the "guardian" thing: notice how when they set up the Wizard's audiences with the people, the throne remains vacant, with the smoke and Oscar's head hovering over it. There is definitely an implication there that he doesn't "rule" the land, he just "watches over" it.
      • Even if Glinda had perceived that he was going try to be a tyrant she might still have helped him. I'd much rather fight one man who's super power is being sneaky and thinking ahead a little than two witches who can actually throw energy bolts about. It's definitely a trade in the right direction. Still in practice Oscar doesn't seem to do much of anything in Oz aside from sit in the Emerald City doling out advice to folks and occasionally sending them to murder witches.
      • Glinda's fundamental nature is goodness. She would not have compromised her principles and her very nature by helping one tyrant replace another. Philosophies of expedience like "enemy of my enemy is my friend" are not the tools of good characters who live in black and white worlds with black and white moral codes. If Glinda could tell that Oscar was going to be a tyrant, she wouldn't help him unless she could first convince him to be a good man.
    • Saying "you are free" after a successful rebellion never means "free from governmental authority", there is always going to be a government. It means "free to live and be governed according to your own customs". The customary government of Oz is some form of monarchy. With the witches gone, Oz can be king and everything can go back to the way it is supposed to be. It looks to me as though each group will, in practice, govern themselves, but everyone will ultimately owe allegiance to a king who doesn't really do anything except keep the peace. I think that is exactly the kind of freedom anyone in Oz would want.

  • This is more of a headscratcher for the book, but how do the china people grow and reproduce?
    • Who's to say that they grow and reproduce? Scarecrows and Tinmen (depending on who's mythology you're using) don't grow or reproduce they are made and remain unchanging. It wouldn't shock me to find out that China People are made and remain the same way they were made their entire lives.
    • I think China Girl's parents were probably just "made" to be mother and father dolls rather having actually conceived her.
    • Depending on how much of the book version is being used, Oz might have a static population, lacking both deaths and newborns. Reproduction is a non factor for everyone.
      • Even in the Oz books, people can be killed — they just don't die of old age. The china population would need to be replenished somehow between the ruin we see in this movie and the time Dorothy sees them in Wonderful Wizard.
      • The denizens of Oz can survive such things as being chopped to pieces. That's why Nick Chopper lived to become the Tin Woodsman. Being eaten might actually be fatal, but just being smashed can be fixed, with enough time. Some of the china people might be too badly smashed to be fixed, but there are probably others that can still be fixed.
    • There comes a time in every porcelain boy or girls life when their parents sit them down and tell them about the facts of the kiln...

  • Where the heck is the Good Witch of the North?
    • I choose to believe she is busy fighting Mombi in, well, the North, which the movie characters don't visit. Though the likely out-of-universe reason she isn't in this movie is because it would be confusing for viewers of the 1939 movie, not to mention add nothing to the story.
    • Wait, Glinda wasn't the good Witch of the North? (I just assumed she changed turf for whatever reason between films)
      • Not in the book. In the book, the Good Witch of the North is a separate character, an elderly woman who greets Dorothy upon landing and directs her to the Emerald City. In the 1939 movie she was merged with Glinda. OTGAP changes Glinda to her book title, the Good Witch of the South.

  • The Wicked Witch of the East has lost her power at the end of the film due to Glinda taking off her necklace. How does she get it back enough to become such a menace that her death 20 years later results in celebration of being freed from her power?
    • The silver shoes (or ruby slippers for movie fans). She doesn't have them in this movie — perhaps she found them later.
    • In the Oz books, magic users made magic items because actual spell casting was a pain in the ass. They generally had a bunch of magic items of varying power lying around that gave them most of their power. In other words, Evanora lost a charm, but kept her knowledge, and could still make a new charm assuming that she didn't already have a spare hidden away. Heck, her loss to Oz and Glinda is probably what made her decide to find or create the shoes in the first place.

  • Didn't Dorothy meet Oz before the tornado hit her? Wouldn't that mean Oz would have to have left the Emerald City and returned to Kansas in between the end of this film and the start of The Wizard of Oz?
    • I don't remember anything like that mentioned either in the books or in the 1939 film. Where is this from?
    • The black-and-white And You Were There segments from the first movie had Oz's actor meet Dorothy. I wouldn't take those seriously, unless you're also claiming that the Cowardly Lion was originally a human from Kansas, along with a bunch of other unlikely bits of travel.

  • When Evanora captures Glinda for a public execution, how does the crowd know that Evanora is the wicked witch and not Glinda?
    • Maybe the Emerald City Underground already knew, but were unable until then to convince enough people (or unwilling to risk saying so until their hands were forced). Alternatively, seeing Evanora commanding an army of evil flying monkeys was probably a bit of a giveaway.

  • Couldn't all the china people be glued back together? Since this is Oz, they wouldn't be dead.
    • Oz in the movie seems to function differently from Oz in the later books (the ones written after Baum decided on the "no death" rule). Like in the earlier books, people can and do die in it.

  • Why the heck did Evanora not poison Theodora with the apple long ago? She could have used simple trickery ("Sister, I picked a truly flawless apple in the orchard today. You must try it!"). Then she would have had nobody to interfere with her plans and could have used Theodora to obliterate Glinda outright. Oz would never have had a chance if he had entered a world ruled by two evil witches and nobody to aid him. Perhaps the magic apple would only work if used on a person with an already broken heart?
    • Better yet, why didn't Evanora distribute such apples over the entire kingdom, like Chester A. Bum suggested?
    • In the moment she bites the fruit Theodora realizes that her sister has trick her, I think that the only reason she didn't notice before was because she was to upset because of her broken heart and with a cold head she would have notice the trick before.
    • Some magic in fiction only works on a subject who uses it willingly. Simply leaving such an apple sitting around for an unsuspecting person to nosh on might nullify its effect.

  • Why is wicked-Theodora OK with being on Evanora's side after realizing she's tricked her? A normal person would be upset and betrayed, but shouldn't an especially Wicked one want revenge or something? She seems angry at first, then kind of lets it go and stays with Evanora.
    • After rewatching her transformation scene, I'm not sure Theodora ever realized Evanora had lied about her relationship with Oz. She does say "You're the wicked one... Not Glinda!" but that could just be her realizing Evanora was the one who killed the King. Since she seems to hold Oz solely responsible for her broken heart it's possible she still believes Evanora was just another "victim" of his womanizing.
    • Also didn't she just realize this AFTER she had already eaten the evil brainwashing-apple?
    • Alternatively, this could translate to Fridge Brilliance. Evanora took from her sister her heart...and conscience. Given that Theodora is now incapable of goodness, it makes sense that she can't punish Evanora, why? Because if she were to punish or even kill Evanora, considering what an evil person Evanora is, it wouldn't be considered spiteful revenge so much as fitting justice.
    • Evanora's not stupid, and wants her sister to turn evil so they can conquer Oz together. Possibly she included a "hate-everyone-except-me" safety clause in the apple to ensure wicked-Theodora wouldn't turn on her.

  • Theodora. A witch who was once good-hearted, innocent and beautiful is screwed over by the other characters, has her heart broken by the protagonist, and has an enchantment put on her to destroy her beauty and her heart. She has never been depicted as choosing evil; she has been tricked into it, and has done nothing of her own free will that would justify losing audience sympathy (even Oz's offer of redemption is a hollow gesture, as she has had the capacity for the feelings required to choose redemption taken from her by trickery.) Yet she is Doomed by Canon to be treated by the plot of The Wizard of Oz as pure evil (even though she is apparently throughout that film not herself but acting under an evil enchantment) who not only dies without redemption but whose death results in an unambiguous celebration ("Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!") and not a single tear for the good woman she once was. The Woobie, Butt Monkey and Chew Toy seem like understatements. Values Dissonance much?

  • Who was the big guy chasing Oz when he got on the balloon that eventually took him to the Emerald City?
    • Each time Oz was trying to sweep a girl off her feet, he gave her that music box (he evidently had more than one). Evidently he gave one to the strongman's sweetheart.

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