Tim Burton’s big screen adaptation of Alice in Wonderland may have received mixed reviews when it was released in 2010, but the box office offered a much brighter outlook for Disney. After grossing over $1 billion worldwide, Alice in Wonderland is now getting a sequel with leads Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp returning for Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Like the previous film, Alice Through the Looking Glass will be based on a Lewis Carroll children’s book, “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There,” in which young Alice once again finds herself straying into a strange alternate world. Alice in Wonderland took a few liberties with the plot (such as it is) of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” as well as including several characters that didn’t appear until the second book, and Alice Through the Looking Glass will also make some changes from the source material, with the story previously summed up as “an all-new tale that travels back to Underland – and back in Time.”
One of the common criticisms leveled at Alice in Wonderland was that the movie eliminated too much of the nonsense from the original book and instead shaped it to fit into a more traditional ‘Hero’s Journey’ narrative. Perhaps in response to that, the first teaser posters for Alice Through the Looking feature a very on-the-nose homage to surrealism with Wasikowska’s Alice and Depp’s Mad Hatter walking precariously across a sea of distorted clock faces.
Since Burton was busy making Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Alice Through the Looking Glass was directed by James Bobin, whose first two feature films were The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted. The screenplay was written by Linda Woolverton, who also scripted last year’s highly successful live-action Disney film Maleficent. These character posters were unveiled during D23, a bi-annual convention during which Disney presents teases for the studio’s biggest upcoming movies.
One of the best things about Alice in Wonderland was the movie’s costumes, for which costume designer Colleen Atwood won an Academy Award. Atwood returned for Alice Through the Looking Glass, and the show floor of D23 included a sneak peek at some of the sumptuous clothes that the cast will be wearing, including “Iracebeth’s Organic Armor” and “Hatter Adventure Hero Look.” Check out a full gallery of photos over at SlashFilm.
Even for those who were unimpressed by Alice in Wonderland, it may still be worth checking out Alice Through the Looking Glass when it releases next summer. Speaking in an interview with ComingSoon, Wasikowska described the sequel as being directed in a “very different” way to Burton’s film, with a lot more practical sets rather than CGI. “The first ‘Alice’ was 90% green screen,” the actress explained. “So it was quite fun to be part of a world.”
Wasikowska and Depp will be joined by returning cast members Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, as well as new additions Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans and Andrew Scott. It will be interesting to see another big-budget take on Carroll’s beloved books, this time with a different director at the helm, but will Bobin be able to top Burton’s box office hit?
Alice Through the Looking Glass arrives in theaters on May 27th, 2016.