Do you know what this year is? It's the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, more commonly known as Alice in Wonderland. Why is this such a big deal? Well Alice in Wonderland is arguably the most influential story of all time, more so than any other piece of literature in existence, with more film adaptations, in-direct sequels/prequels, reimagining than any other book. Alice in Wonderland is so rooted in our culture that it has influenced clothing, music and theatre in a way that can't be duplicated and the novel's titular character is one of the greats in literacy characters. If you could get the top characters in literacy you would be sure to find such classic characters as Dorothy Gale, Peter Pan and Frodo with the more modern greats such as Harry Potter, but at the top you will always find Alice sitting on her much deserved throne.
But why is the story and its character so influential when it's not actually about anything?! Most people tend to forget that Alice in Wonderland is literacy nonsense. There is no overarching plot and no real character development. It focuses on a little girl walking from place to place and meeting strange characters on her way. The sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There follows the same formula. In fact the stories are so similar that most adaptions will take characters from the sequel and include them in Wonderland. Tweedledum and Tweedledee, although being used many times in Alice in Wonderland films, originally appeared as characters in Through the Looking-Glass. So why do we find Alice and her story so endearing?
Maybe it is because it is so easy to adapt. Alice, although a polite and inquisitive child, is mostly a blank slate. We never find out that much about her so it allows us to come up with our own ideas of what she should be. Tim Burton imagined Alice as a young woman who is ahead of her time while American McGee imagined her as a deeply troubled young lady suffering from insanity. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland portrayed Alice as a brave warrior. While other characters have been interpreted differently from their original source material, like Dorothy in her short appearance in Wicked or Peter Pan in the Starcatchers series and Steven Spielberg's Hook, but none of them to the extent of the different interpretations of Alice's character.
Wonderland, a world of limitless possibilities, is a goldmine of ideas. Anyone can create their own version of Wonderland and, as long as it is filled with illogical nonsense, it will fit. This is why Tim Burton's Wonderland felt very out of place and uninspired. The Mad Hatter was a freedom fighter and there was a prophecy story involved? It's very Hollywood and uninspired, but there was still some creativity in the world's design...even though it was typical Tim Burton but at least it still had an identity.
Alice in Wonderland belong to us all. That's why this anniversary is so important. This is a grand celebration for what is already the most celebrated story of all. So how will I be celebrating this special anniversary? By releasing two Alice books on the 26th of November, the day of the 150th anniversary.
Alice (in Wonderland) will be a reimagining. It will focus on Alice Westfield, a young woman who grew up reading Lewis Carroll's original stories. She will enter her own Wonderland to escape her own personal demons, only to find that Wonderland has been corrupted and only she can save it. Alice (in Wonderland) originally started as a concept for a short film, back then simply titled Alice before the title was changed.
Alice in Dreamland is intended to be a direct sequel to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and will star the original Alice in a brand new adventure.
It's a big anniversary. Why not celebrate in style?