Movie Songs

Everything we know about the ‘Wicked’ movie(s)

April 11, 202413 Mins Read

Ready to defy gravity?

Fans of Broadway musical Wicked (itself adapted from a Gregory Maguire novel) have been waiting years for the stage show to get its big-screen adaptation. We’ll call it wonderful that it’s finally happening. A Wicked movie was said to be in the works, with plenty of starts and stops, including a coronavirus delay, from the time it became a Broadway hit in 2003.

There were a lot of thoughts as to the right approach — pitches for an animated version, hopes that original Broadway stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth would reprise their roles. But now, 20 years after it first enchanted theater audiences, Wicked is ready to work its magic anew.

Universal Stage Productions; Leon Bennett/WireImage

Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, telling the “true story” of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, and her school days when she first befriended popular girl, G(a)linda. The musical follows their journey from mutually loathing roommates at Shiz University to unlikely friends to political enemies as the Wizard and his cronies vilify Elphaba and elevate Glinda. All the while, the two women fall for the same man, party boy Fiyero.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman, the musical became an instant classic. Schwartz and Holzman are adapting the script for the screen, and their original Broadway producer, Marc Platt, is also producing the film version.

Here’s everything we know about the Wicked film adaptation.

Who’s directing Wicked?

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Universal needed a musical wizard to helm their long-gestating adaptation. They found him in Jon M. Chu, the director of the big-screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and executive producer of Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration.

After original director Stephen Daldry (The Reader) bowed out, Chu stepped in to fill the role’s (decidedly not ruby) shoes.

How many Wicked movies will there be?

A tale of friendship, Wicked is a firm reminder that two is better than one. The filmmakers and Universal are taking that quite literally, dividing the musical into two movies.

“As we prepared the production over the last year, it became impossible to wrestle the story of Wicked into a single film without doing some real damage to it,” Chu wrote in a statement he shared on Twitter. “As we tried to cut songs or trim characters, those decisions began to feel like fatal compromises to the source material that has entertained us all for so many years. We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one Wicked movie but two! With more space, we can tell the story of Wicked as it was meant to be told while bringing even more depth and surprise to the journeys for these beloved characters.”

Stephen Schwartz has previously intimated that there will be new songs written for the film. The stage show boasts a standard two-hour and forty-five minute running time, while the Gregory Maguire novel on which it’s based is significantly denser.

Still, what exactly will fill the entirety of two whole movies remains unclear. One thing we can assume is that the first movie will follow its theatrical predecessor and end its first half with the show-stopping number “Defying Gravity.”

What is the Wicked release date?

The first entry of the Wicked films will debut on Nov. 27, 2024, moved up from a previous December release date. The second movie will follow suit, and is slated to hit theaters on November 26, 2025. Prepare for sing-alongs to take one not one, but two holiday weekends.

Will the SAG-AFTRA strike delay the release of Wicked?

As of right now, no. Wicked was only a few days away from wrapping production when the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike forced them to hit pause. But director Jon M. Chu wrote on Twitter that the “release date shouldn’t be affected.”

“Not done yet,” he wrote. “Just paused until the strike is over and we can finish the last pieces of the movie. We were only a few days away from being done so we were SO close. It’s been very painful to put a halt to it all but we will be back! And we will finish properly strong when the time is right. My heart goes out to our cast and crew who were cut short of what we came here to complete together. More to come but in the meantime I’m excited to excavate what we have shot for the past year here in Oz (release date shouldn’t be affected). It has been an extraordinary adventure… more to do. #WickedMovie”

Who will play Galinda and Elphaba?

‘Wicked’ stars Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande and its director, Jon M. Chu.
Rich Fury/Getty Images; John Lamparski/FilmMagic; Art Streiber/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Fan speculation over who would take on Elphaba’s green skincare routine and Galinda’s pink popularity raged for years. But in the end, Chu chose a Broadway chanteuse and a pop star to anchor his musical extravaganza.

Tony winner Cynthia Erivo (Widows, Harriet) will portray Elphaba, while Grammy winner Ariana Grande is going blonde to play Galinda. Erivo nabbed Tony gold for her breakthrough performance as Celie in the revival of The Color Purple, while Grande has been campaigning to play Glinda for over half of her life (she sang “The Wizard and I” on NBC’s 15th-anniversary special).

Grande even received the blessing of original Galinda, Kristin Chenoweth. Meanwhile, Erivo is already plotting how she’ll deliver Elphaba’s signature song, “Defying Gravity.” She previously told EW, “I’ve been listening to it, and I’ve sung it. I kind of just go with it, naturally. There’s the temptation to push and to do too much with it. I don’t know that that’s what my method will be. I think my method will be to communicate the meaning of the song as much as I can.”

In April 2023, Chu shared a first look at Erivo and Grande as Elphaba and Glinda. “You weren’t told the whole story,” he wrote on Twitter. “What happens when you veer off the Yellow Brick Road? Here is your very FIRST LOOK of #WickedMovie…currently in production in Oz.”

The images were criticized for their extreme darkness, punctuated only by a green landscape outside Elphaba’s window that matches her distinctive skin tone and the hot pink of Glinda’s dress.

Fans got to see a bit more of the two leads when Universal premiered footage of the film at this year’s CinemaCon. “They are born to play these roles,” said Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley on the CinemaCon stage. “They are brilliant and matched by an equally brilliant cast.”

Who else is in the cast?

The two witches aren’t the only actors who’ve had their lives changed for good. Chu has also announced his Fiyero(ooooooo), Madam Morrible, Boq, and Nessarose.

Jonathan Bailey is Fiyero

For the man who makes Elphaba feel wicked, Chu needed a true romantic hero, and he couldn’t do much better than Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey. Having made audiences swoon as the Netflix series’ Anthony Bridgerton, he’ll now put his musical theater credentials to use as the fixed point at the heart of the show’s love triangle.

Leaked images from the set have showcased Bailey in Fiyero’s captain of the guard uniform, which he wears opposite Grande’s Glinda during the musical number, “Thank Goodness.” But no official shots of Fiyero have been released yet.

Michelle Yeoh is Madam Morrible

Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) is attached to play Madam Morrible, the headmistress of Shiz University and a manipulative advisor to the Wizard.

Yeoh has described her role as a risky proposition, pivoting from her more dramatic and action-based work. “I’m trying something new right now — filming Jon Chu‘s Wicked movie, which will be my first musical,” Yeoh said. “It’s very exciting, and I can’t wait for you all to see it. It was a risk, but you will never know which doors will open for you unless you try them all.”

Jeff Goldblum is the Wizard

Then there’s the con man himself, the Kansas carnival huckster turned political leader, the Wizard, and he’ll be played by Jeff Goldblum, who we have no doubt will infuse him with the character’s requisite smarminess.

Goldblum told Jimmy Kimmel that working on Wicked is reviving his childhood fear of witches. “I shouldn’t talk about it, but I was shooting one day and I found myself tearing up in fear,” he said. “A childhood fear came back to me and I told Cynthia Erivo, I said, ‘You know, I’m remembering my first dream that I ever had.'”

“My first dream was that I was tied to a tree stump and a witch — because I’d seen Snow White, also with a very scary queen witch — had tied me to this tree stump and I thought was going to chop off my head,” he recalled. “I must’ve been four or something like that, and she went, ‘peaches, peaches.'”

He also noted that he’s still afraid to watch 1939’s The Wizard of Oz because of the Wicked Witch and even recently failed at showing it to his own children because he had to turn it off out of fear. “Witches scare me! And I showed them that movie and we didn’t get through it,” he concluded. “The Witch is terrifying. Margaret Hamilton. Terrifying. You should see our witches, Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande. Very good.”

Peter Dinklage is Dr. Dillamond

For months, speculation raged over the status of Dr. Dillamond in the movie — would the character be in the film or had he been cut? If so, who would play him? Was Kate Middleton secretly filming a cameo as the Shiz University goat?

But at 2024 CinemaCon, all was revealed — and Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage will be voicing the good doctor, a goat, who is also a history professor at dear old Shiz. In the stage show, the character sings, “Something Bad,” which is a warning to Elphaba about the dark forces afoot in Oz impacting the talking animals, including himself.

What about the other characters?

Newcomer Marissa Bode will portray Elphaba’s sister Nessarose, called Nessa for short. Like her character, Bode uses a wheelchair. She will feature opposite Ethan Slater, best known for his portrayal of SpongeBob in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, as Boq, a munchkin who dates Nessa.

SNL star Bowen Yang will also appear in a small role as Pfannee, a classmate of Galinda and Elphaba at Shiz.

Other announced cast include Bronwyn James (Harlots) and newcomer Aaron Teoh as Shiz students, with Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman) and Colin Michael Carmichael (Hot Fuzz) as Miss Coddle and Professor Nikidik. Adam James (The Buccaneers) will appear in a new role as Glinda’s father,

Is Wicked still filming?

Principal photography for Wicked wrapped in Jan. 2024, leaving a big handprint on the hearts of its stars. To mark the occasion, they each offered a shadowy glimpses at their characters while voicing their enthusiasm about the time spent on set together.

“Every single person that worked on these films was not only the absolute best at what they do, but made every single day for over a year feel so incredibly safe, kind, and thoughtful, and inspired every day as if it were always the first,” Grande wrote on Instagram. “How something so much bigger than all of us could feel so intimate and small and warm is beyond me, but it starts from the top.”

In her own message to fans, reflecting on the emotional end of production, Erivo shared a photo of a certain witch defying gravity.

“The universe will take things away to make space for the grand gifts it has waiting for us,” Erivo wrote. “THIS moment, this film, these people, this cast, this crew, this director, my Glinda were the Grandest gift I could ever have asked for, and I am eternally grateful for the chance to bring you This Elphie. I hope when you meet her, you’ll love her as much and as fiercely as I do.”

Bailey kept his message short, sweet and pegged to Fiyero, writing, “Danced on through.”

Director Chu also chimed in to thank everyone involved and bid production a final farewell with a carousel of photos.

“Most of the year my jaw has been on the floor and heart in the clouds,” he wrote. “Cameras began rolling here in London in November of 2022, and now in January 2024 our principal photography is officially wrapped. Whew. Exhale.”

In true Wicked fashion, Chu closed his post with a reference to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the magical tale that started it all. “Closing my eyes. And… click… click… click.”

When can I see a trailer?

Fans got their first look at the finished film on Super Bowl Sunday when the teaser trailer for Wicked dropped during the big game. The footage offered the first official looks at the star-studded ensemble, as well as a goosebump-inducing first listen at Erivo performing the show-stopping number “Defying Gravity.” The star’s powerful belt booms as her Elphaba makes a death-defying leap out a high-tower window, only to soar into the sky on her broomstick.

It was only a taste of what’s to come in Oz, but it was magical (after all, Wicked only wrapped filming back in January, meaning this teaser was cut in less than a month). A full trailer has yet to drop, but we have to assume it’s just a click of the heels away as the premiere date of Part One edges closer.

Some lucky audience members also got to see footage at CinemaCon. In April 2023, Universal debuted the very first glimpse of Wicked, screening roughly edited footage to a crowd of exhibitors and press.

The footage contained glimpses at most of the major players and opened with a bigger look at a white-haired Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible. She tells Elphaba, “Try again, eyes shut, and picture it,” as she tries to teach Elphaba how to harness her powers. Chu promised that Oscar-winner Yeoh “brings a whole new dynamic to Madame Morrible.”

Not only did attendees get a glimpse at the cast (and hear some incredible vocals from Erivo and Grande), but they were also introduced to the vast world of Emerald City, with Chu noting the movie did not include CGI or blue screen and that it’s “a fully immersive experience.” He says, “Emerald City is a world that can only be realized on film.”

While it will likely be ages before anyone else gets to see the world of Oz, the description of the footage alone is enchanting. “This movie has everything: giant musical numbers, big action pieces. And using a classic story you all know, the Wizard of Oz,” Chu teased, “and at the end of the day, it’s actually not about those things. It’s about change and [how] it’s necessary for things to get better.”

Want more movie news? Sign up for Entertainment Weekly‘s free newsletter to get the latest trailers, celebrity interviews, film reviews, and more.

Related content:

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Get our latest downloads and information first.
Complete the form below to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

No, thank you. I do not want.
100% secure your website.