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It's not fair to blame Linda Woolverton entirely for the story problems in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, but she probably didn't help much. And it's not fair to assume that Burton's take on the iconic villain Maleficent will be as lame and incomprehensible as Alice, but it's a pretty logical conclusion. So the news at THR that Woolverton has signed on to write the screenplay for Maleficent fills me with nothing but dread-- we have to deal with another one of these already?

It's not yet official that Burton will take on the project next, and hiring Woolverton is the first official step the movie had made toward actually greenlighting the thing. But Maleficent, the dark-as-pitch villain from Sleeping Beauty, seems like a logical character to add to the Burton stable, and Disney seems willing to do anything to keep him on board thanks to Alice's ridiculous box office success. Either they've brought Woolverton board as a kind of lure for Burton-- look, we've got your favorite writer!-- or he's requested they hire her in advance of signing on himself. Either way, Maleficent is looking like an obvious next step for Burton-- and, unless we're given reason to believe otherwise, more frustration for Burton's fans. It's not Woolverton's fault; it's just where his career seems irrevocably headed.

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