A new animated sequel to The Wizard of Oz is in production, with Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Patrick Stewart voicing one of the new characters.
Stewart will voice Tugg, a “talking tree turned talking tugboat,” who is a “humorous old soul” as well as being “adventure-seeking.”
This new Oz story is the first in a anticipated series of animated feature films based on the writings of Roger S. Baum, great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, who wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series of books.
In Dorothy of Oz, Dorothy has returned to Kansas, but founds it devastated by the same tornado that had taken her to Oz. As a result of the damage, townspeople are moving away. But before Dorothy has time to react to this, she is whisked back to Oz, where the people need her help. Her old friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion have vanished, and the land is in a state of decay.
As Dorothy seeks her lost friends, she finds new friends, including “a man made of marshmallows who can’t think for himself, a china doll princess whose bossiness covers her fragility, and a tugboat (Stewart), with as many personalities as he has pieces.” Dorothy and her new-found friends must band together against a new villain, a Jester who wants to control all of Oz.
Stewart joins Lea Michele (Dorothy), Oliver Platt (Wiser the Owl), Megan Hilty (China Princess), Hugh Dancy (Marshall Mallow), Martin Short (Jester), Jim Belushi (the Lion), Dan Aykroyd (the Scarecrow) and Kelsey Grammer (Tin Man). Dorothy of Oz will be helmed by veteran animation producer Bonne Radford and directed by Dan St. Pierre.
“We could not be more thrilled to have this new cast in place,” said Radford. “Each of these amazing actors and singers will immensely help with our constant goal: to pay homage to this indelible and beloved franchise while updating it for a brand new generation, and in the exciting medium of 3D animation , perfectly suited to this magical land.”