After a few years away from the small screen, former Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Vincent D’Onofrio returned to serialized storytelling in a huge way as Wilson Fisk in Netflix’s Daredevil. The actor is now upping his villain game, as he signed on to play the ruthless Wizard of Oz in Emerald City, NBC’s fantastical reimagining of, well, The Wizard of Oz. We’re not in Kansas or Hell’s Kitchen anymore.
The often intimidating D’Onofrio will play a Wizard that is not hiding behind any curtains, but is instead the leader of Emerald City and apparently many other kingdoms. Even though everything around him is full of magic and other reality-stretching beings, this Wizard is a proponent of science, and he has actually outlawed magic. (Sorry, those hoping for a David Copperfield cameo.) According to Deadline, he rules the roost by inciting both inspiration and fear within his underlings. It certainly helps that he has a working relationship with some grand witches, and they will almost certainly be helping him in whatever nefarious plans he’s got going.
You can probably forget everything you know about The Wizard of Oz proper, as Emerald City will be a dark remake that aims to draw comparisons to Game of Thrones, which should give you an idea on the scope of this setting. The story will center on the 20-year-old Dorothy Gale, who will be played by Adria Arjona, as she gets swept up in a tornado and flung into a new world. There will be deadly warriors making their presence known, a gaggle of witches being as wicked as possible, and presumably other threats. It’s up to Dorothy to save everything, as there is a Beast coming, although it’s not quite clear how that’s supposed to be done at this point.
There are, of course, others populating this world. Jackson Cohen’s handsome and mysterious Lucas will join Dorothy’s cause after she finds him beaten and bloodied, the apparent survivor of a mass crucifixion with no memory of his past. Ana Ularu will play West, a darkly comedic brothel madam who is in an illicit partnership with the Wizard – as you might have imagined, she’s the main Wicked Witch here. Then we have Gerran Howell as the positivity-spewing Jack, Jordan Longhran as Tip and Mido Hamada as Eamonn.
Emerald City began life back in 2014 when NBC signed up for a full series order, though the network later reneged on that and dropped it from their plans. Then, as if by outlawed magic, it was picked up to series again earlier this year, with new showrunner David Schulner and director Tarsem Singh, who will helm all 10 episodes of Season 1.
We still don’t know if D’Onofrio, who was last seen in Jurassic World, will make his way back to Daredevil for Season 2. But we do know he’ll be starring in the big screen remake of CHiPs, the biopic Pelé: Birth of a Legend, and the remake of The Magnificent Seven.
Emerald City currently doesn’t have a release date planned, but we can probably expect it at some point in 2016.