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Unavoidable sequel to Raimi’s ‘Oz’ planned; two studios finance ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Galactica’ writer sells series to Syfy

The love affair Hollywood currently has with churning out origin stories to other studios previous hits continue, as Disney is ramping up a sequel to Oz: The Great and Powerful, which of course is a prequel to the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz. And while L. Frank Baum’s original novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is in the public domain, the imagery created for the Warner Bros. original film cannot be used by the House of Mouse, which basically means, Disney will need to stick to adventures set before Dorothy arrives (because no one wants to do a sequel, as memories of 1985’s Return to Oz are still too close to the surface). Mitchell Kapner, who penned the original with David Lindsay-Abaire, will write the follow-up.

In an all too rare move, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros will co-finance Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, set for release on November 7, 2014. Nolan is set to write (based on an original script by his brother, Jonathan) and direct the film which will depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding. Paramount will release the film domestically, while WB will handle the international release.

Ron Moore, who re-imaged Battlestar Galactica, yet failed to get anyone interested in its prequels, the more cerebral Caprica and the more action-packed, but empty of life Blood and Chrome, has a 13 episode commitment from the stupidly named Syfy Channel for Helix, “a thriller about a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control who travel to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak. There, they find themselves in a terrifying life-and-death struggle that holds the key to mankind’s salvation or total annihilation.” Moore, who has attempted to produce a few other TV series since -the Western themed Hangtown, the Harry Potter like procedural 17th Prescient and the reboot of the classic late 1960’s series Wild Wild West to no avail- did sell his adaptation of Outland, based on the over-long (though it does have a huge female fanbase) Diana Gabaldon novels, to Sony. Meanwhile, the aggravating Syfy Channel ordered this straight to series, which is not unusual, and there maybe something good in it. Although, since some are already comparing this premise to The Walking Dead set in the arctic (and, ironically, AMC is developing a series set in the arctic, based on the supernatural novel The Terror), as someone else pointed out, the premise really resembles The Thing (and I’m assuming not the original, but the gory to max two remakes). And really, its not a question of how many similar themed shows the cable and broadcast networks air, but really its about who’s doing it cash in on a trend and who’s doing it because there is a good story to tell.


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