What Happened to ‘Toto,’ WB’s Animated Take on ‘The Wizard of Oz’?

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The history and journey of Warner Bros.’ attempts to explore and expand upon “The Wizard of Oz” universe through various film projects, including the potential movie centered around Toto, the canine companion in the original story, have indeed encountered a series of challenges and setbacks.

The studio’s efforts to create new narratives or sequels based on the rich Oz universe, beyond the original 1939 film adaptation of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” have been fraught with struggles. Despite the vast lore established in L. Frank Baum’s series, Hollywood has primarily stuck to adaptations and reimaginings rooted in the first Oz story. Ventures into exploring other aspects of the Oz world, such as the proposed “Surrender Dorothy” and the animated feature focusing on Toto, have encountered hurdles.

Warner Bros. faced complexities due to rights issues surrounding the Oz material. While the original books are in the public domain, the specific elements and trademarks associated with the 1939 film, like the iconic Ruby Slippers and the distinct visual portrayal of characters, are owned by the studio. This led to attempts to create sequels or alternative perspectives on the Oz story through projects like “Surrender Dorothy” with Drew Barrymore and the animated “Toto” movie.

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However, despite initial progress, the production of the “Toto” movie faced challenges. Changes within the Warner Bros. animation division after the merger with Discovery brought about uncertainties regarding the fate of the project. Additionally, the resurgence of interest and progress on the highly anticipated “Wicked” movie at Universal Studios might have impacted the trajectory of the “Toto” film.

With the studio undergoing restructuring and reshaping its animation arm under new leadership, projects like “Toto” appear to have been affected. The decision to pull “Toto” from the release schedule and the silence surrounding its development could imply its shelving, joining other unrealized attempts by Warner Bros. to expand the Wizard of Oz cinematic universe beyond the original classic.

As of now, it seems “Toto” might not see the light of day, aligning with the studio’s historical challenges in materializing projects that diverge from the quintessential “Wizard of Oz” narrative. External factors, studio mergers, and potential competition from other Oz-related films like “Wicked” have likely contributed to the uncertain fate of “Toto,” leaving audiences curious but uncertain about its future.