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Wicked




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Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Something wicked this way comes. Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo are taking on the iconic roles of Glinda and Elphaba in the upcoming movies. The first trailer was released on February 11 during the Super Bowl. The footage gave a first glimpse of Cynthia’s incredible transformation into Elphaba, as well as the the gorgeous sets and costumes. The final moments of the trailer give a snippet of Cynthia singing “Defying Gravity.”

Director Jon M. Chu shared photos from the Wicked set on his Instagram page in April 2023. The two photos include Cynthia feeling green in her Elphaba look, while Ariana’s Glinda is seen running up the stairs in a pink ball gown. “Green & Pink. It always starts with green and pink. #WickedMovie coming to you in 2024,” he captioned the photos.

Universal Studios has assembled an incredible director and all-star cast to lead the upcoming two-part film adaptations. The movies are based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway show, which is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. A Wicked movie was announced way back in 2016, but it took until 2021 for the process to really get going. Fans are so excited to see the story of Wicked come to life on the big screen this time. From the talented cast to the release dates, the expectations are very high for these two films. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming Wicked movies.

‘Wicked’ Movies Release Dates

The first Wicked movie, titled Wicked: Part One, will be released on November 27, 2024. The sequel, titled Wicked: Part Two, comes out exactly one year later on November 26, 2025.

Wicked
Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in the ‘Wicked’ poster. (Universal Pictures)

Jon explained why the project is being split into two movies back in April 2022. “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,” Jon wrote on Twitter. “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 surprise to the journeys of these beloved characters.”

‘Wicked’ Movies Cast & Crew

Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo were cast as Glinda and Elphaba, respectively, on November 4, 2021. Both actresses shared the news of their casting on Instagram. Ariana shared a photo of her hands over her face as she sat in front of an Apple MacBook after learning the news. The pop star also shared screenshots of a three-way call between herself, Cynthia, and Jon, followed by just a call between the ladies.

In Cynthia’s post, the British actress held her hands over her mouth and was in tears as she found out she got the role. Ariana and Cynthia also sent each other flowers with heartfelt notes where they congratulated each other on the new job.

Ariana is taking over the role of Glinda the Good Witch, which was originated by Kristen Chenoweth in the Broadway show. Cynthia is playing Elphaba, who was originally portrayed by Idina Menzel on Broadway. Both Kristen and Idina congratulated Ariana and Cynthia on snagging the iconic roles.

The rest of the cast for the Wicked movies is pretty epic. Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey is playing Fiyero, Elphaba’s love interest. Jon Chu confirmed Jonathan’s casting in September 2022. “He’s perfect, they’re perfect. They’d be perfect together. Born to be forever….. I am too excited to pretend this hasn’t been happening. We have a Fiyero!!!! #JonathanBailey #Wicked,” he wrote on Twitter. 

Jonathan Bailey
Jonathan Bailey is playing Fiyero in ‘Wicked’ movies (Photo: James Veysey/Shutterstock)

The role of Fiyero in the Wicked movies was a top role for musical actors. Nick Jonas confirmed in June 2023 that he did audition for the role of Fiyero. “Yes, it’s true. Joe and I both went out, and we didn’t get it. But that’s the life of an actor,” Nick told Variety.

He added, “I think it went really well. I was very happy coming out of the room. I’m a huge fan of the show, and that’s a role I always thought it would be fun to play. But I think Jonathan [Bailey] is going to do a great job, and I’m sure the movie is going to be great.”

Nick Joe Jonas
Nick and Joe Jonas went out for the role of Fiyero. (John Salangsang/Shutterstock)

Michelle Yeoh is playing Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Crage Hall at Shiz University. Jeff Goldblum is confirmed to be playing The Wizard. Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang is playing Pfannee, Elphaba and Glinda’s classmate at Shiz University. The Greatest Showman star Kaela Settle is playing Miss Coddle. The cast also consists of Ethan Slater as Boq, Marissa Bode as Nessarose (Elphaba’s sister), Bronwyn James as ShenShen, Aaron Teoh as Avaric, and Colin Michael Carmichael as Professor Nikdik.

Jon M. Chu is directing the Wicked movies from a screenplay written by Winnie Holzman and Stephen Schwartz. Stephen is also doing the music, which is set to include some of the musical’s most classic songs such as “Defying Gravity” and “Popular.” Marc Platt, who is Ben Platt‘s father, and David Stone are producing the films. Alice Brooks is the cinematographer, Nathan Crowley is the production designer, and Paul Tazewell is the costume designer.

Production Trivia

Rehearsals for Wicked: Part One began in August 2022. Both Ariana and Cynthia gave fans some behind-the-scenes glimpses into their rehearsals in October 2022. The duo posed for a cute mirror selfie during a break in the rehearsal studio. Ariana underwent a blonde hair makeover that month to play Glinda. Jon Chu confirmed on December 9 that filming had begun three days earlier, in London.

The cast and crew were supposed to shoot Wicked: Part One and Wicked: Part Two back to back. However, the SAG-AFTRA strike put production on hold in July 2023 when the cast and crew just had a few days left of filming. Once the strike was over, filming resumed and wrapped up in January 2024.

In March 2024, director Jon M. Chu revealed to Vanity Fair that Cynthia and Ariana insisted on singing live while filming. “When we were shooting it, those girls were like ‘F**k the pre-records. We’re going live,’” he said.

What We Know About the Plot Of the ‘Wicked’ Movies

Wizard of Oz
‘Wicked’ is a prequel to ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (Photo: everett collection)

The Wicked films are expected to closely follow the plot of the Broadway show, which is actually based on Gregory Maguire‘s 1995 novel. The story takes place before and after Dorothy Gale arrives in Oz from Kansas and explores the relationship between Elphaba and Glinda. The pair start off as unlikely friends but eventually, they become adversaries after The Wizard casts a spell on Elphaba which turns her into the Wicked Witch.

Cynthia previously teased how the films are going to be even better than the musical. “I think it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” Cynthia told Entertainment Tonight at the 2022 SAG Awards. “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,” she added.

Stephen Schwartz confirmed in a June 2022 newsletter that there will be new songs in the films. “There are two new songs in the second movie that are complete songs in themselves, and then there are new sections in some of the existing songs in both movies. All the new material, of course, is to meet the demands of the storytelling,” he said.



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