Early character design artwork from the 3D cartoon sequel Dorothy of Oz has emerged online, and it offers a look at the inhabitants of Oz, both old and new.

Which Wizard of Oz project am I talking about again?  Well, not director Sam Raimi’s new prequel Oz, the Great and Powerful or Drew Barrymore’s sophomore directorial effort,  the Oz sequel Surrender Dorothy.  Oh yes, lest we forget, I’m not referring to Warner Bros. and their Oz project, Oz: Return to the Emerald City, either.  Originality, FTW! :-P

Have a look at the official synopsis for Dorothy of Oz and see how it “differs” from the other Wizard of Oz projects currently being developed:

There is trouble in Oz and Dorothy is needed!  With Glinda’s help, she and Toto return to Oz.  Joined by her old friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Lion as well as exciting new characters, Dorothy sets out on a perilous journey to stop the crafty Jester from using the power of the Wicked Witch of the West’s wand to turn the people of Oz into puppets.

That seems to be the least of Dorothy’s problems as her travels lead her straight into a treacherous maze, a cave full of very hungry dragons and an evil spell that could destroy the Yellow Brick Road.  Dorothy has the daunting knowledge that it is up to her to stop Jester’s terrible plan.

Audiences will welcome the return of the old Oz favorites and will love meeting new friends like Tugg, a gruff talking boat and Wiser, an owl with an unlucky attraction to molasses.

The plot of Dorothy of Oz sounds neither flat-out terrible nor particularly interesting (or remotely necessary, for that matter).  As for being yet another 3D CG flick – so long as the extra dimension actually heightens the viewing experience (like it did in How to Train Your Dragon) then I’m willing to to tolerate it – even if I’m still not on the 3D bandwagon myself.

Will this new animated adventure take a more stylized or unusual approach to creating Oz and its residents?  Well, based off the early character sketches (see below) that doesn’t look to be the case, but I kind of like their simple design.  Plus, the voice actor cast isn’t too shabby either.

So what do you think?  Does Dorothy of Oz sound like the new Wizard of Oz adventure for you?  Do you want to see any of these upcoming Oz projects?  Sound off in the comments section below.

Dorothy of Oz is tentatively scheduled for an April 2012 release in the U.S.

Source: Official Film Site (via /Film)