The Wizard of Oz is a story that has not just stood the test of time but one whose adaptations have as well. Not only is the original book a classic, but so are the 1939 movie, the 1970s reimagined musical The Wiz, the 1995 book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and the 2003 stage musical based on the 1995 novel. Obviously, the Wicked movie musical will arrive in theaters with sky-high expectations, so large that the release date now covers two Christmases.
Wicked takes the story of The Wizard of Oz and turns it a full 180 degrees. The villain, the Wicked Witch of the West, is the hero, and the heroes — the Wizard, Glinda the Good, and Dorothy Gale of Kansas — are con artists, traitors, and murderers. It argues that not only is the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, misunderstood but that the Wizard of Oz framed her.
The Broadway musical adaptation won three Tony awards and a Grammy when it first hit the stage in 2003, starring Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda. Two decades later, it is the fifth-longest running Broadway show in history, with a movie musical version slated for the big screen.
Here’s everything to know when something Wicked this way comes.
Wicked Filming Updates
There have been rumors of a Wicked movie musical stemming back to 2004. In 2010, Universal (whose live theater producing arm was responsible for the 2003 stage show) was reportedly in talks with some of the hottest directors of the moment, including J.J. Abrams and Ryan Murphy. The success of Les Misérables at the box office in 2012 and the Oscars in 2013 finally put the film on the production schedule, with an original rumored release date of 2016. It took another two years before Universal finally confirmed everything was in place, putting a release date in 2019.
Unfortunately, more delays ran the film’s production directly into the 2020 Hollywood shut down, losing the director to scheduling conflicts. With Hamilton hitting high ratings on streaming, Universal hired In The Heights’ Jon M. Chu to take over the production. In 2022, as rehearsals were readying for summer, Chu revealed that to do the story justice, Wicked would be split into two parts, released on consecutive Christmases.
In November 2021, casting officially got underway for the Wicked movie, with two significant stars known for their vocal chops cast in the roles of Elphaba and Glinda. Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo would play the former, and Ariana Grande the latter.
No other cast members for Wicked have been announced yet, though, notably, fans of the musical are particularly adamant they do not want to see James Cordon cast as Oz.
Though there is no official synopsis for the Wicked movie musical, all reports confirm the new version is not a direct stage-to-film transfer but a new adaptation stemming directly from the original novel by Gregory Maguire.
That being said, this new version will be written by the 2003 stage production’s book writer Winne Holzman, with Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz contributing new music.
Wicked Trailer & Release Date
With rehearsals for filming not yet underway, there’s no footage for a trailer and probably won’t be until sometime in mid-2023, at the earliest. Considering the scale and two-part nature of the film, it would not be surprising if the first trailer didn’t arrive until early 2024, debuting during the Superbowl or the Oscars.
Wicked will be released in two parts on consecutive Christmas Days, the first arriving on Dec. 25, 2024, and Part Two on Dec. 25, 2025.