Depp Replacing Downey Jr. In “Oz”?

Robert Downey Jr. has dropped out of Disney’s prequel-style “Oz, the Great and Powerful” which Sam Raimi is due to direct reports Heat Vision.

The story follows a young illusionist with a grandiose attitude who is forced to flee a traveling circus. His hot air balloon is swept up by a tornado to the land of Oz, which is run by two magical wicked witches. He of course goes on to become the titular Wizard.

The studio is now apparently in discussions with Johnny Depp to slip into the great wizard’s robe. The Joe Roth-produced film aims to get into production in the second half of the year.

If Depp is locked onboard, it means the studio’s planned adaptation of “The Lone Ranger” would have to be pushed back or Depp’s role as Tonto will need to be recast.