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Trivia / Return to Oz

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  • Big Name Fan: Harlan Ellison loved the film for its faithfulness to the original Oz novels.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: Some synopses of the film - such as the Halliwell's Film Guide - mistakenly list Dorothy as going back to Oz to fight the Wicked Witch's sister. See below for Mombi's actual background in the Oz books.
  • Deleted Scene: Several additional scenes filmed for the opening Kansas sequence, including a face-painting scene between Dorothy and Aunt Em, Billina running through the farmhouse kitchen and Uncle Henry reading newspaper clippings detailing Dorothy's disappearance after the cyclone, were cut from the final film.
  • Executive Meddling:
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    • The film was never intended to be a direct sequel to the MGM film, but rather a Truer to the Text version of the original books (while not re-adapting the first one). It was marketed as a straight-up sequel, which led to the disappointing performances with fans and critics.
    • When Dorothy describes how the Tin Man lost his legs, she said "hacked" but it was dubbed over with "cut" - because the former was deemed too severe for younger viewers.
  • No Stunt Double: Fairuza Balk did all her own stunts.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Walt Disney bought the rights to some of the Oz books, with the intent of making a movie musical starring the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club. Some of the songs actually aired on Walt Disney Presents before Walt pulled the plug.
    • In the books, the Nome King had a magic belt. The was reflected in the original script the Nome King had a magic belt made out of the Ruby Slippers; when he died it was going to turn back to the Slippers.
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    • Walter Murch was, and continues to be, a very well respected part of the industry, both as a sound designer and film editor. This film was supposed to start his career as a director, but instead swiftly ended it (as of this writing, the only other directing credit to his name is a single episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, decades later). This is tragic for fans of the film who can see past the Nightmare Fuel and Misaimed Marketing, as it only goes to show the amount of potential talent and creativity that was lost.
    • Drew Barrymore, Alanis Morissette and Juliette Lewis auditioned for Dorothy.
    • Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd were considered for the part of the Nome King, with Mary Steenburgen as a possible candidate for Mombi. They also considered Dick Van Dyke as the voice of Jack Pumpkinhead.
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    • Louise Fletcher and Mary Steenburgen were considered for Nurse Wilson/Mombi.
    • Originally the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion were to have more prominent roles in this film, however, budget cuts forced their appearances to be reduced to mere cameos.
    • The Scarecrow was originally supposed to have a fully articulated animatronic face, akin to that of the Gump, however budget cuts forced the puppeteers to reduce his face to a series of masks with fixed expressions.
  • Word of Dante: Some synopses of the film falsely say Mombi was the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West. In the Ruth Plumly Thompson Oz books Mombi was actually the former Wicked Witch of the North before being overthrown by the Good Witch of the North. In The Marvelous Land of Oz, Mombi was a minor witch, who momentarily developed delusions of grandeur.

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