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Having just watched Oz The Great and Powerful, and having read all of Baum's works and many of the related Oz works by other authors, I was struck by the number of subtle and not-so-subtle minor nods to his original work, and to other related works.

As outlined the answer to the question Are there any references about the magical red/silver shoes in Oz the Great and Powerful? there are some places you just could not expect the movie to go. But on the whole I found the movie to be an exceptionally probable prequel to Baum’s works and most (all?) of the related works.

Was there anything in the movie that is counter to Baum’s canon?

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    I assume 'Wicked' is not considered part of the cannon? – Jeremy French Jul 29 '13 at 13:58
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    @JeremyFrench correct. As Baum died in 1919, and anything published before 1923 is public domain in the US, all of his work can be leveraged on at will. Any of the new works like Wicked, belong to a new author. So legal niceties essentially require a universe split for each new author. – James Jenkins Jul 29 '13 at 14:52
  • I had no idea the books were that old. I'll Gutenberg them, thanks. – Jeremy French Jul 29 '13 at 15:37
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    @JeremyFrench many are also on Wikisource en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:Lyman_Frank_Baum – James Jenkins Jul 30 '13 at 0:04
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I just now got around to watching the movie, so I didn't have the ability to comment on this before now. Yes, there are many points counter to canon in the movie. To name just a few big ones:

There is no mention of Ozma, the daughter of the king of Oz in the books. Instead, the movie names Glinda as the kings daughter.

In the books, the Wizard built the emerald city, it did not exist before his arrival.

There are quite a few more details that make the movie non-canon, but those two are huge holes that break from the canon found in the books.

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As stated above, the Wizard built the Emerald City in the books, the King of Oz had a daughter named Ozma (not Glinda), the Witches of the East and West ruled the Munchkin and Winkie countries when the Wizard arrived.

The Winged Monkeys served the Witch of the West because of a Golden Cap and could only serve her three times. There is never mention of them serving the Witch of the East. The original story happened sometime before 1900 and this, which is a prequel takes place in 1905, which makes zero sense until you realize that Disney is making this a Frankenstein's monster that is impossible to reconcile with either the Oz books or the MGM musical.

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The king of Oz (Pastoria in the books) was the father of Glinda, true heir to the throne of Oz. When Oz the man arrived he hid the girl as she was a threat to his rule, as the people of Oz worshipped him as a "wizard". In the film this is reversed, with the Wicked Witches claiming to be the King's daughters and tricking him. (Also the Wicked Witch didn't use her Golden Cap when summoning the monkeys.)

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The movie Oz The Great and Powerful is, like most novels, stories, TV episodes, and movies, almost totally consistent with itself, with very few contradictions. If two parts of a work of fiction seem to contradict themselves, fans can try to find ways to reconcile them and show that they are not really inconsistent.

But if the fans fail and the two story elements seen to be totally inconsistent, then the fans may have to admit that those two parts of the story are not canonical with each other, and thus that the story is not 100 percent canonical with itself.

Thus we can say that Oz The Great and Powerful is almost, but not exactly, 100 percent canonical with itself. But is Oz The Great and Powerful canonical with any other books, movies, etc.?

L. Frank Baum wrote 14 OZ books and many other books set in the same fictional universe. And his official successors wrote many other OZ books over decades. All the OZ books are supposed to be in the same canon. But because of Baum and other OZ writers not making much of an effort for consistency, the various OZ books are not very consistent with other OZ books.

Thus some persons might say that most OZ books are almost 100 percent canonical with themselves, but are of lesser degrees of canonicity with other OZ books. For example book A might be 95 percent conistent and canonical with book B, Book C might be 75 percent consistent and canonical with book D, and so on.

And the same may be said about many other novel and movies series.

Many of the early OZ books have now become public domain in many jurisdictions. It is legal to reprint them and to make movies and TV shows based on them without paying royalties to the heirs of L. Frank Baum.

If the creators of Oz, The Great and Powerful had made a strong effort to make it consistent with early OZ books like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), The Marvelous Land of OZ (1904), Ozma of OZ (1907), etc. etc., they could have created a one way link of canon. Those early OZ books would have become canon in the fictional universe of Oz, The Great and Powerful, but Oz, The Great and Powerful would not have become canon in the fictional universe of those early OZ books.

But the creators of Oz, The Great and Powerful didn't make such an effort and Oz, The Great and Powerful is not consistent with those early OZ books. Thus those early OZ books are not canon in the fictional universe of Oz, The Great and Powerful and Oz, The Great and Powerful is all alone in its own fictional universe and no other OZ books, or movies are canonical with it. At least until and unless some hypothetical sequel to it is made.

  • There are a lot of words here, but no specific examples. – James Jenkins Jan 9 '18 at 11:07

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