The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical – Wicked – is getting a movie adaptation! Based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, it will have not one but two parts!
Wicked Movies Are Expected Soon!
For those who don’t know, Wicked features the untold backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, which inspired The Wizard of Oz movie. The book by Maguire, which was the first in a series of four about the world of Oz, was adapted for the stage in 2003.
Universal’s Wicked movie adaptation was announced back in 2016. In 2021, Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande were announced as the first — and so far, only — actresses to join the cast. They will lead the Wicked movies as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. Then, a year later, director Jon M. Chu shared more details about the upcoming release. At the time, Chu explained that the team didn’t want to cut down the musical. All songs and characters are meant to stay. So, the creative team decided to split what was expected to be one film into two! “With more space, we can tell the story of Wicked as it was meant to be told,” he stated.
After Erivo and Grande were announced for the movie, other actors approved of the choice. Kristin Chenoweth, who originally played Glinda on Broadway, wrote: “I’m not sure if I’ve ever been this proud. From the very first day I met you…you were destined for this role. Congratulations @arianagrande!…The best Glinda you will be with @cynthiaerivo by your side. I love you!!”
“Congrats to two amazing women,” wrote Idina Menzel, who was the original Elphaba on Broadway. “May it change your lives for the better forever and ever as it has for us. So much love.”
Who’s a Part of the Wicked Movie Adaptation?
What about other roles for the Wicked movies? Well, fans certainly have their picks when it comes to actors for the roles of Fiyero, Boq, and Nessarose. But they were also adamant about someone they didn’t want to see — James Corden. A whole petition appeared asking Universal not to cast him after his appearances in Cats and The Prom.
Other changes were also made along the way. Initially, Stephen Daldry was set to direct the Wicked movie. After his exit in 2020, Chu took up the project in 2021. Before Wicked, he worked on Crazy Rich Asians and the film adaptation of Broadway’s In the Heights. But he’s not the only one known to be a part of the project. Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman are also working on adapting the screenplay. On Broadway, they co-wrote the music and lyrics for the original Wicked. Marc Platt will be a producer for the movies as well.
Want another spoiler? The Wicked movies will be different from the original show. “I think it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” Erivo said. “I think we’re going to enjoy the magic of it. We’re going to try and put our own spin on what we know already and show you a story about two women [who] are sisters.” Viewers can also expect new sounds: “I can tell you that at least as of now there will be probably four new songs in the movie,” Schwartz teased.