<i>Oz: The Great and Powerful</i> Debuts Nine Gorgeous New Images

Nine new images from Sam Raimi's gorgeous Oz: The Great and Powerful have now hit the web, showing us new looks at James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams.

The stills come courtesy of USA Today, which also snagged an interview with Raimi to explain what they show. Franco, for instance, plays "Kansas huckster Oscar Diggs," who accidentally gets blown off to Oz in his hot air balloon and is there "mistaken for Oz the Great and Powerful, destined to be the next king of Emerald City."

"He's only to receive that title if he can defeat the Wicked Witch," Raimi explained.

Along his journey, Diggs comes across the land of Chinatown that has been destroyed in the wake of the Wicked Witch. We already saw China Girl in the new Oz poster that came out last week, but the new image, below, shows us Diggs' first encounter with her.

"Everything in the land, the houses and people made of china, have been broken by the Wicked Witch and her army. Oscar find the pieces of this china doll and puts them together, and hence the China Girl (voiced by Joey King) is saved," Raimi explained. "He’s telling her she has to go back to the Emerald City, where she’ll be well taken care of. But she won’t have any of it. He’s going to learn by the end of this scene that he’s not the only huckster in the bunch."

Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful opens March 8, 2013. Here's the official synopsis:

Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great and powerful Wizard—and just maybe into a better man as well.

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