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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

‘Wicked Part One’ – Everything We Know so Far About the Movie Musical

Since its publication, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has seen more than a few adaptations in the century. Easily the most popular version is the 1939 film starring Judy Garland, and since then, there have been so many different screen versions of the classic fairytale from L. Frank Baum, both in film and television. The story has even had more than a few stage adaptations, with one of the earliest examples being The Wiz – the soul-inspired remaining and one of the few musical versions of the story to match the quality of the 1939 film. As great as projects like The Wiz are, there is a more modern example that swept the world by storm upon its release.




Wicked could very easily be called the Hamilton of the early 2000s. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire titled Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the musical was an absolute phenomenon in the world of musical theater, being a refreshingly unique take on an established concept. Instead of focusing on a little girl from Kansas who enters the magical world of Oz, this new story explores the origins of the Wicked Witch of the West. How she became the iconic villain, and how she connects to the rest of the beloved characters we all know and love. The show went on to win three Tony Awards, and since its premiere on Broadway, fans have patiently awaited a movie version of the famous play.


Thankfully, the wait will soon be over, as Wicked: Part One is set to finally hit the big screen relatively soon, bringing with it an experienced director of Broadway adaptations and a star-studded cast of some of the biggest names in acting and music working today. Though it’s still over a year away from release, Wicked: Part One has already become one of the most anticipated films of 2024, with years of attempts to adapt the show finally yielding tangible results. To find out everything we know so far about this return to the wonderful land of Oz, read below to discover the current status of the cast, crew, release date, and more.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on May 16, 2024.

Wicked poster

Wicked: Part One

The story of how a green-skinned woman framed by the Wizard of Oz becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. The first of a two-part feature film adaptation of the Broadway musical.

Release Date
November 27, 2024


What Is the Release Date for ‘Wicked: Part One’?

Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba pushing her hands out while wearing glasses in Wicked.
Image via Universal Pictures


Wicked: Part One was previously set to release on December 25, 2024, but the film was recently moved up by nearly a month! Broadway and Wizard of Oz fans alike will finally get to see Wicked: Part Onemakes its way onto the big screen on Wednesday, November 27, 2024. Fans will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with what’s sure to be a terrific musical. The movie will be opening on the same day as another highly anticipated musical movie: Moana 2 and it will be opening a week after another major tentpole in the form of Ridley Scott‘s Gladiator 2.

Will ‘Wicked: Part One’ be Released on Streaming or in Theaters?

wicked-part-1-ariana-grande
Image via Universal


Wicked: Part One will more than likely be making its way into theaters rather than streaming, given how massive an IP the show is and how highly anticipated an adaptation has been. We’re a long way from hearing any news on a streaming release but given that Wicked: Part One is being produced by Universal Pictures, it’s possible we’ll see the film make a streaming release on Peacock in early 2025.

Is There a Trailer for ‘Wicked: Part One’?

The first look at Wicked was released on February 11, 2024. This was during Super Bowl LVIII, and while it’s not a full trailer, it gives us a glimpse of what the film will look like once it releases in November.


A behind-the-scenes look at the movie was released on May 13, 2024, detailing the production of the movie and how Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande were cast in the lead roles.

The full trailer for Wicked was released by Universal on May 15. Running at over three minutes, the trailer reveals a lot of new information about the movie and teases some of the movie’s musical numbers.

Additional footage for Wicked was shown during Univesal’s 2024 CinemaCon panel. Collider’s Britta DeVore was in attendance and described the footage in a piece for the site.


Before exiting the stage, the duo introduced the latest clip to come from
Wicked
. Although it used some previously seen footage, it was filled out, better following the relationship between Elphaba (Erivo) and Glinda (Grande).

It teased iconic moments

like the gifting of Elphaba’s hat and her character’s demonization — with plenty of magic and shades of green and pink throughout, as well as the introduction of

Peter Dinklage as the voice of Dr. Dillamond

.

What Is the Plot of ‘Wicked: Part One’?

wicked-part-1-cynthia-erivo
Image via Universal


Obviously, Wicked is expected to follow more or less the same plot as the original show, but in case you’re unfamiliar with the story, here’s a general and brief rundown with no major spoilers. Here, the Wicked Witch of the West is given the name of Elphaba in the story (named after original Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum), who has faced a difficult upbringing for her entire life after coming out of her mother’s womb with green skin without any explanation. Having green skin in a magical world filled with talking animals and flowers that make you fall asleep may not seem like a major development, but this story’s version of Oz is a bit more complex and modern than what we’ve seen before. Years later, Elphaba is accepted into Shiz University, where she will meet a peppy rival in Glinda the Good Witch, a pompous and unlikely love interest with Prince Fiyero, and even the all-powerful Wizard of Oz himself. All these characters and more shape Elphaba into the villain she’ll ultimately become, almost all in entirely unexpected ways.


The official synopsis for Wicked reads:

After two decades as one of the most beloved and enduring musicals on the stage, Wicked makes its long-awaited journey to the big screen as a spectacular, generation-defining cinematic event this holiday season. Wicked, the untold story of the witches of Oz, stars Emmy, Grammy and Tony winning powerhouse Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, Broadway’s The Color Purple) as Elphaba, a young woman, misunderstood because of her unusual green skin, who has yet to discover her true power, and Grammy-winning, multi-platinum recording artist and global superstar Ariana 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 Is Starring in ‘Wicked: Part One’?

After being played by Broadway royalty with Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, the roles of Elphaba the Wicked Witch and Glinda the Good Witch will be filled by Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande. Menzel and Chenoweth both expressed interest in reprising their iconic roles in the film version, but given that both of the actresses are in their fifties and the characters are supposed to be college students, the roles were recast, but it’s quite possible that the two will have a cameo appearance somewhere in the film. That being said, going with Erivo and Grande is certainly a wise choice, given that they’re easily two of the best musical talents of the modern generation.


Also part of the cast is Academy Award-winner Michelle Yeoh, cast in the role of Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Shiz University and a major antagonist in the film. Also, a part of the cast is Jeff Goldblum, who will be bringing to life the namesake of this magical land, The Wizard of Oz. The cast is then rounded out by Jonathan Bailey (Bridgerton) as Prince Fiyero, Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as Dr. Dillamond, Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman) as Miss Coddle, Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live) as Pfannee, Bronwyn James (The Dig) as ShenShen, Colin Michael Carmichael (Hot Fuzz) as Nikidik, Ethan Slater (Fosse/Verdon) as Boq, Marissa Bode as Nessarose, and Aaron Teoh Guan Ti as Avaric.

Who is Making ‘Wicked: Part One’?

jon-m-chu-wicked social


Quite a few A-list directors have been considered to helm Wicked over the years, with just a few names including James Mangold, J.J. Abrams, and even Steven Spielberg. Now, directing duties will be handled by filmmaker John M. Chu, best known for the acclaimed adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and for bringing another Tony Award-winning Broadway musical to the big screen with In the Heights (2021). The film will also be keeping things close to home with a screenplay written by Winnie Holzman, who also wrote the original stage show. Producing the project are Marc Platt (La La Land), Brian Popkin (Requiem: If the Walls Could Talk), and David Stone (Swallow).

The rest of the crew consists of cinematographer Alice Brooks (In the Heights), production designer Nathan Crowley (The Greatest Showman), and costume designer Paul Tazewell (West Side Story).


When and Where Did ‘Wicked: Part One’ Film?

wicked-part-1-bubble-ariana-grande
Image via Universal

Filming for Wicked: Part One was initially set to kick off in June 2022. However, this was later delayed after it was announced that the adaptation would be split into two parts. In early December 2022, Jon M. Chu announced on Twitter that filming was underway in London.

While the movie was initially set to wrap production on July 25, 2023, filming was halted due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. Chu, stressed to fans not to worry, as the film was only days away from wrapping.


In January 2024, Ariana Grande announced on her Instagram, that she had wrapped filming for Wicked.

Will ‘Wicked’ be Getting a Sequel?

Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba clutching a staff in Wicked.
Image via Universal


The Broadway play itself never received a continuation, nor does the ending really necessitate one. However, despite the movie being just called Wicked, the adaptation will be a two-part event, with the second half of the epic saga currently scheduled for November 26, 2025.

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