Character Design: Tin Man
The Tin Man is one of the most memorable characters brought to life by L. Frank Baum in his series of books starting with 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'. His image has been made iconic by the numerous adaptations for both stage and screen. By adapting the Tin Man I hoped to give his character more depth by drawing from his dark origins portrayed in the books while exploring new possibilities and extending his narrative beyond the scope of the existing stories.
Digging through the origins of the Tin Man's character, I discovered he was once a hard working woodsman of flesh and blood called Nick Chopper, who was in love with a munchkin girl, Nimmie Amee. The Wicked Witch of the East plotted to stop them from marrying so she put a curse on his axe. With his cursed axe he would miss with every swing and chop off a limb or body part, which were replaced one by one with tin parts engineered by a local tinsmith. By the end his entire body had been replaced with tin, and without a human heart was incapable of loving Nimmie Amee, and so they parted ways. This story speaks of the Tin Man's dehumanisation and his loss of self. He is a worker corrupted by industrial advancement, stripped of his sense of care and compassion, though these are the values he seeks the most to regain.
In my adaptation of his story I set out by imagining the Tin Man after the Wizard had granted him a mechanical heart (essentially just a pocket-watch) a symbol for his caring nature which he hadn't lost after all. He is known to be the most caring individual in all of Oz, though he still can't feel love without a human heart. The merry group have disbanded because Dorothy who brought them all together has returned to Kansas. The Tin Man has built a home for himself in the woods, part wood cabin, part greenhouse. He invests his care and compassion in botany and nature, researching and growing new types of plants. This is a new beginning for his character, reclaiming his sense of care and need to nurture.