Professor Marvel’s crystal ball probably didn’t predict that the Avengers could go on to star in The Wizard of Oz, but a deepfake called The Avengers of Oz, posted back in March by NextFace, manages to get the job done.
The clip, which re-imagines the classic 1939 musical fantasy film using deepfake tech, casts Tom Holland as Dorothy, Robert Downey Jr as Scarecrow, Chris Pratt as Tin-Man and Chris Hemsworth as the Cowardly Lion, roles that were originally played by Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr respectively.
You can watch The Avengers of Oz below, but it cannot be unseen.
A deepfake earlier this year that imagined Holland and Downey Jr as Marty and Doc Brown in Back to the Future instead of Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd initially provoked a negative response from the young actor, though he later found the fun in it.
“At first I was almost a little offended, like I need to get my lawyer right now and sue someone,” he told BBC Radio 1. “‘This is great, I’m gonna get paid today.’ But then I didn’t because I thought it was a great video. But yeah I think I’m going to speak to Robert and see if we can create something for deepfake.”
After the deepfake started doing the rounds, Holland also hinted that there had previously been some discussions about of remaking Back to the Future with his involvement.
“I’d be lying if I said there hadn’t been conversations in the past about doing some sort of remake, but that film is the most perfect film or one of the most perfect films,” he said. “One that couldn’t be made better. That said, if Downey and I could just shoot that one scene that they remade for fun, he could pay for it because he has loads of money, I would do it for my fee. And we could make that one scene. I think we owe it to deepfake because they did such a good job.”
Unlike Back to the Future, there have been plenty of fresh takes on L. Frank Baum’s Oz book series over the years, including 2005’s The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, Sam Raimi’s James Franco-led Oz the Great and Powerful, and the mid-80s childhood nightmare that was Return to Oz, along with myriad other TV projects.
Maybe Holland would be more willing to follow a well-trodden yellow brick road?