This Friday, NBC begins its epic journey over the rainbow with the premiere of Emerald City, a Wizard Of Oz adaptation that combines the familiar story of L. Frank Baum's classic novels with the gritty realism of Game Of Thrones into a sumptuous visual feast provided by filmmaker Tarsem Singh (The Cell), who directed all 10 Season 1 episodes. In this version, Dorothy Gale isn't an innocent farm girl with a yappy pet anymore… she's actually a capable nurse with a K-9 companion she discovers in a squad car shortly before they get swept up together in that fateful twister. But that's not the only difference audiences will find, as the cast of Emerald City takes on wildly revamped versions of the characters we've all come to know and love over the years.
Thankfully, these unfamiliar approaches to characters like the Scarecrow (now a handsome, amnesia-stricken man) and the Wicked Witch (now an unpredictable opium addict) will be grounded by familiar faces that many viewers will recognize from other television projects and movies, including Marvel villains and a particular Person Of Interest. So before you tune in to the series premiere of Emerald City, get to know the 12 performers who will be guiding you on this strange trip down the Yellow Brick Road…
1. Adria Arjona as Dorothy Gale
Emerald City has given us a refreshingly diverse lead in Arjona (born in Puerto Rico and raised in Mexico), who TV audiences may remember as an I.A. detective whose number came up on Person Of Interest Season 4, as well as the girlfriend of closeted, ill-fated Paul Woodrugh on True Detective Season 2. You'll be able to see her on the big screen in the 2018 sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising, alongside The Force Awakens' John Boyega.
2. Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Lucas
This handsome Englishman may be recognizable across the pond for his performances in the likes of popular British soap Hollyoaks, the miniseries World Without End, and the Jeremy Piven period drama Mr. Selfridge; but American audiences are likely most familiar with him from his role as the hitman known only as "Killer" in the 2010 Dwayne Johnson action movie Faster and his role as Jonathan Harker in another NBC literary adaptation, the short-lived Dracula.
3. Vincent D'Onofrio as The Wizard
On the small screen, audiences will undoubtedly know D'Onofrio from his recent role as the villainous Wilson Fisk on Marvel's Daredevil, or from his series regular role as Det. Robert Goren on all 10 seasons of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. But the actor is also known for his many and varied film roles, including Full Metal Jacket's Pvt. Gomer Pyle, Men In Black's Edgar, Jurassic World's Vic Hoskins, and the serial killer whose mind Jennifer Lopez enters in The Cell, the 2000 film by Emerald City director Tarsem Singh.
4. Joely Richardson as Glinda
Richardson is most famous for his role as Julia McNamara, the wife of Dylan Walsh's character on all six seasons of Ryan Murphy's Nip/Tuck. You may also have seen her in films like Event Horizon, The Patriot, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Snowden.
5. Ana Ularu as The Wicked Witch Of The West
This Romanian actress has a long list of credits in her home country, but she recently broke into American films with a role as the mother of Bradley Cooper's illegitimate child in the Jennifer Lawrence film Serena, and as an assassin in this summer's Tom Hanks action movie Inferno.
6. Florence Kasumba as The Wicked Witch Of The East
Kasumba may not have a lengthy resumé outside of her native Germany just yet, but she's well on her way to stardom with roles in two of the biggest franchises in Hollywood, the MCU and the DCEU. First she appeared as Black Panther's bodyguard Ayo in Captain America: Civil War — a role which she will reprise in the character's upcoming solo film — and then she was cast as Amazonian warrior Acantha in June's Wonder Woman.
7. Mido Hamada as Eamonn
The Wizard's most loyal servant is played by this Egyptian-born actor, who has made a name for himself playing bad guys on high-profile TV shows like 24 (on which he played the main villain of Season 8), Terra Nova (on which he played the head of security), and Homeland (on which he played a member of a terrorist cell).
8. Gerran Howell as Jack
This young Welsh actor rose to fame in the United Kingdom 10 years ago as the star of the series Young Dracula, playing a teenaged Vladimir, son of The Count, and later in the sci-fi series The Sparticle Mystery, in which everyone over the age of 15 has been banished to an alternate dimension thanks to an accident with a particle collider.
9. Jordan Loughran as Tip
Loughran's career may just be getting started, but young American audiences will recognize her from her role on the Disney Channel's bewitching series Evermoor as a magical being named Sorsha.
10. Isabel Lucas as Anna
This Australian actress made her American screen debut as a sexy Decepticon in Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. Since then, she has appeared in the vampire movie Daybreakers, the HBO miniseries The Pacific, the Chris Hemsworth action movie Red Dawn, and the Terrence Malick drama Knight Of Cups, among others.
11. Roxy Sternberg as Elizabeth
This English actress has put in her time acting in guest roles on a variety of British television series — including Law & Order: UK — and makes her American debut this year in both Emerald City and an upcoming episode of AMC's martial arts drama Into The Badlands.
12. Stefanie Martini as Lady Ev
Although Game Of Thrones fans might mistake her for the mysterious Quaithe, behind the mask lies a face some will recognize from her starring roles on British dramas like Doctor Thorne (from Downton Abbey's Julian Fellowes) and Prime Suspect 1973 (a prequel series in which Martini played the same role made famous by Dame Helen Mirren back in the '90s).
Catch all these actors in Oz-ian action when Emerald City premieres on NBC this Friday, Jan. 6, at 9:00 p.m. ET.