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. As such, the new Wicked movie musicals (yes, plural) will arrive in theaters with sky-high expectations.
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. The story argues that not only is the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, misunderstood, but also 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. So, the new film adaptation has a lot to live up to.
Here’s everything to know when something Wicked this way comes.
In November 2021, casting 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 will play the former, and Ariana Grande the latter.
On Sept. 21, 2022, Variety reported Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey was in talks to be the third significant name to join the cast, with rumors stating he was up for Fiyero Tigelaar, Elphaba’s love interest. In response to the report, director Jon M. Chu tweeted it was a done deal, confirming Bailey will play the man who steals Elphaba’s heart. Jeff Goldblum also joined the cast as the Wizard of Oz.
Variety’s next casting update came as the films began principal photography on Dec. 7, 2022, with Tony winner Ethan Slater boarding the project as Boq. After that, the casting news came fast, with Deadline adding another massive name to the Wicked cast on Dec. 8, confirming Michelle Yeoh had signed on to play Madame Morrible. Deadline then reported the musical had finished rounding out the cast on Dec. 9, bringing on board Marissa Bode as Elphaba’s sister Nessarose, and Bowen Yang and Bronwyn James as classmates Pfannee and ShenShen, respectively. The report also confirmed actors Keala Settle, Aaron Teoh, and Colin Michael Carmichael will have supporting roles in the films.
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 shutdown. 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 Wicked will be split into two parts to do the story justice, with plans for the films to be released on consecutive Christmases.
The first rehearsals for the film began in August 2022. Chu confirmed principal photography started on Dec. 7, 2022.
Although 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 rather a new adaptation stemming directly from the original novel by Gregory Maguire.
The 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. In an interview with Variety, Schwartz confirmed that although he is adding new songs, the Broadway hits will still be used.
He also confirmed where the two films will split plot-wise. “We found it very difficult to get past ‘Defying Gravity’ without a break,” Schwartz explained, so Part One will end there. “That song is written specifically to bring a curtain down, and whatever scene to follow it without a break just seemed hugely anti-climactic.”
Universal has yet to release any glimpses of the Wicked movies just yet. 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, perhaps debuting during the Super Bowl or the Oscars.
Wicked Release Dates
Wicked: Part One was originally planned to be released on Dec. 25, 2024, but that date got bumped up a bit. Now, the first movie will fly into theaters on Nov. 27, 2024, the day before Thanksgiving.
Wicked: Part Two is still planned to hit theaters on Dec. 25, 2025.
The post ‘Wicked’ Movie Musicals: Release Dates, Cast, Trailer, Updates appeared first on Elite Daily.