As Broadway’s fifth-longest running show, Wicked has nearly two-decades worth of fans who can recite every word of the musical. When it debuted in 2003 with Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth as the original Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, it was an overnight sensation. So naturally, when it was announced that director Jon M. Chu would be adapting the Tony-award winning musical for the big screen with not one, but two films, there was a collective rush of excitement among both theater and movie buffs alike. The Hollywood version will see Ariana Grande stepping into the part of the “good witch” while Cynthia Erivo will presumably go fully green as Elphaba. The vocals will no doubt be stellar and the production value—after nearly a decade of planning—top notch. Here, everything you need to know about the upcoming movie musical.
Will the plot of the Wicked movie be different from the Broadway musical?
Wicked is expected to follow more or less the plot as the original show, which is based on Gregory Maguire’s bestselling novel of the same name. The story is a prequel of sorts to the Wizard of Oz, and tells the story of how Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West (Elphaba) became unlikely friends at Shiz University. It also includes origin stories for other Oz characters, and spawned the famous hit “Defying Gravity.”
Per an official description of the film: Wicked, the untold story of the witches of Oz, stars Erivo as Elphaba, a young woman, misunderstood because of her unusual green skin, who has yet to discover her true power, and Grande as Glinda, a popular young woman, gilded by privilege and ambition, who has yet to discover her true heart.
The two meet as students at Shiz University in the fantastical Land of Oz and forge an unlikely but profound friendship. Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power, while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences on her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfill their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
Who else is in the Wicked cast?
As noted, Erivo will portray Elphaba (the Wicked Witch), a role originally and famously played by Idina Menzel on Broadway, while Grande will star opposite her as Glinda (the Good Witch), which was originally played by Kristin Chenoweth.
A true vocal powerhouse, Erivo has won a Grammy, Emmy, and Tony for her role as Celie in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. She also received an Oscar-nomination for her role in the film Harriet. Grande is of course a pop star and child actress, but she also has musical theater roots; she got her start in the 2008 Broadway musical 13. Grande is an avowed theater lover, and performed “The Wizard and I” from Wicked during an NBC live special in 2018, foreshadowing her casting.
In addition to the two stars, Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey will play the roguish prince Fiyero, Oscar-winner Michelle Yeoh will portray Shiz University’s headmistress Madame Morrible, and Jeff Goldblum plays the Wizard of Oz himself. Tony nominee Ethan Slater (Broadway’s Spongebob Squarepants, and Ariana Grande’s boyfriend) plays Boq, an altruistic Munchkin student, while SNL’s Bowen Yang and Harlots’ Bronwyn James play Glinda’s lackey’s, Pfannee and ShenShen.
Is there a Wicked: Part One trailer yet?
The first official trailer for Wicked: Part One dropped on February 11. The clip shows Grande and Erivo first meeting at Shiz University, with Grande’s Glinda gasping along with the rest of her classmates at the sight of Erivo’s Elphaba, saying, “You’re green!” The rest of the minute-long trailer shows the pair engaged in fantastical adventures with plenty of CGI along the way. Goldblum, as the Wizard of Oz, ominously growls, “Bring her to me,” and we see a shot of Glinda in her iconic bubble, as in the original 1939 film. “Don’t be afraid,” she tells Elphaba, who responds, “I’m not afraid. It’s the Wizard who should be afraid of me.” Watch below:
Why are there two parts of Wicked?
In April 2022, Chu announced on Instagram that instead of cutting down all the material Wicked has to work with into one film, he’d simply be making two Wicked movies:
“Here’s what happened: as we prepared this production over the last year, it became increasingly clear that it would be impossible to wrestle the story of Wicked into a single film without doing some real damage to it,” he shared on Instagram. “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. So 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 surprises to the journeys of these beloved characters.”
Is there a release date for Wicked: Part One?
Wicked: Part One will first hit theaters on Wednesday, November 27, 2024. Part Two will be released one year later, on November 28, 2025.
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