Wicked Movie Musical: Cast, Release Date, Trailer, Director, More
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(Eric Liebowitz/NBC)

What is this feeling? Isn’t it wonderful? After nearly a decade of starts and stalls, progress is finally underway for the mega-“Popular” Broadway musical Wicked to make the magical leap to the silver screen, and we couldn’t be happier!

The yellow brick road from Broadway to Hollywood has been a bit bumpy for this project, but with the movie’s major lead roles finally being filled by a pair of acting and singing powerhouses, all we can say is, “Thank Goodness!” Keep reading to find out everything we know about the Wicked movie musical, including release date, cast and so much more!

When is the Wicked movie coming out?

Production isn’t slated to begin until June 2022, so don’t expect to hear about a definite premiere date for some time. Fans of the musical are used to being patient, though, as talk about bringing the popular musical to the big screen started all the way back in 2004 (a year after the show debuted on the Great White Way). Universal Studios then came aboard to produce in 2012, and for a while, a movie version was expected to arrive in December 2019. Obviously, the movie has experienced multiple delays and conflicts since then, which ultimately forced Universal to put production on hold in 2018. 

The long wait is sure to be rewarded, however, as Wicked songwriter Stephen Schwartz promised back in 2017 that the screen adaptation would feature “at least” two new songs. “There are things that work on stage but won’t work on film,” Schwartz told Variety. “In order to do something that will work on its own merits, you have to do something different.”

Who is in the Wicked movie cast?

It was announced on Nov. 4, 2021, that Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande would respectively star in the Wicked feature film as lead characters Elphaba (the misunderstood, green-skinned girl modeled, ultimately known as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz) and Galinda (a.k.a. Glinda the Good). The two actresses each shared a deliriously happy post on Instagram to share the news.

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Erivo, a 34-year-old Tony Award winner for The Color Purple and Oscar nominee for Harriet, revealed on IG that Grande sent her flowers to celebrate their casting news, writing on the accompanying card, “Dear Cynthia, Honored doesn’t even begin to cover it. I cannot wait to hug you. See you in Oz. All my love, Ari.”

 

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A post shared by Cynthia Erivo (@cynthiaerivo)


Grande likewise showed off the gorgeous bouquet she received from Erivo, with a note that read, “Congratulations, Miss A. The part was made for you. I look forward to sharing this musical journey with you. Love, Cynthia.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande)


Although Grande’s one of the world’s biggest pop stars, she’s no stranger to musicals; she got her big break in the 2008 musical 13, which is to date the only Broadway musical with a cast made up entirely of teenagers.

No other Wicked casting news has been announced so far, which means there are some plum roles up for grabs, including Elphaba’s love interest, Fiyero (a character that’s been portrayed onstage by Taye Diggs, among other actors) and the Wizard of Oz himself (played in the original Broadway cast by Oscar winner Joel Grey).

Wait, Galinda? Don’t you mean Glinda?

Nope! Wicked is adapted from Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which re-imagines the green-skinned antagonist of L. Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a misunderstood outcast. In Maguire’s version, the witch we know as Glinda the Good Witch was born Galinda, but later changed it for reasons we won’t spoil here. 

What is Wicked about?

The musical, with songs by Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman (who is also writing the screenplay for the feature film adaptation) focuses on the relationship between Elphaba and Galinda from the time they are roommates at Shiz University. Elphaba is an awkward nerd, while Galinda veers more into classic “mean girl” territory. As you might expect, the two don’t always get along, but their friendship is beautifully nuanced as they eventually find common ground, if only for a time. As the musical also draws its inspiration from Baum’s novel and its beloved 1939 film adaptation starring Judy Garland, expect to see other familiar characters.

Related: Top 10 Must-See Movie Musicals 

Who is directing the Wicked movie?

Jon M. Chu was tapped as director in February 2021, after Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) left the project. While Chu might be best known for 2018’s smash hit Crazy Rich Asians, his experience directing live concert films (Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never), and this past summer’s spectacular big-screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights makes him an ideal choice to take the helm.

Back in June 2021, Chu told Collider about directing movie musicals, “What really has hit me is the power of music and why musicals exist in the first place when words aren’t sufficient. Nowadays, words really aren’t sufficient for what we’re going through. So for me, it’s finding the truth of each song and working our way inside out of why that exists.”

As for what Wicked fans can expect in the movie version, he continued, “Of course, we’re going to have Oz, and you’re going to be in this crazy world, and you’re going to revisit this innocent place and you’re going to see that it’s not as innocent as it had been in the past. But you’re also going to see that the relationship between [Elphaba and Glinda] is more real than ever, that we’re going to be that close to them. We’re going to root for them to try to get into that school or when one crosses the other. You’re going to hate the other one at some point. You’re going to want them to make up at another point, and you’re going to feel when they separate. That’s the most important thing. The spectacle? That’s the easy part, we can hire a lot of people to do that. It’s those little moments… that’s what’s going to make that.”

How long has Wicked been on Broadway?

Wicked debuted on Broadway in late October 2003, with Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth in the two witchy lead roles. The show won three Tony Awards, including a Best Actress for Menzel, while the original cast recording won a Grammy. The show is still going strong at Manhattan’s Gershwin Theatre, and currently sits at the #5 spot in the list of longest-running Broadway musicals (less than 600 shows to go before it overtakes Cats!).

Is there a trailer for the Wicked movie?

Not yet (and there probably won’t be for a while), but you can watch something akin to a sneak peek in two clips featuring the stars with their roles reversed: Grande singing Elphaba’s “The Wizard and I” from the Wicked 15th anniversary TV special, and Erivo singing Glinda’s “I Couldn’t Be Happier” (taken from the ensemble piece “Thank Goodness”) from the PBS special Wicked in Concert, which aired earlier this year. 

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