Elphaba and Glinda are coming to the big screen in a two part Wicked film

The Wicked Trailer Is Here & It's Pure Magic

Something has changed within me...

by Ani Bundel
Originally Published: 
Universal Pictures

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 of course, the 2003 stage musical based on the 1995 novel. As such, the new Wicked movie musicals (yes, plural) will fly into theaters with sky-high expectations.

Wicked takes the story of The Wizard of Oz and flips 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 for everything people thought she did.

The Broadway musical adaptation, originally starring Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, won three Tony awards and a Grammy when it first hit the stage in 2003. Two decades later, it is the fifth-longest-running Broadway show in history. So yeah, the new film adaptation has a lot to live up to.

Here’s everything to know when something Wicked this way comes.

Wicked Will Be Split Into Two Films

Wicked has been a long time coming. There had 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. When it all finally came together, it had a release date in 2019. Unfortunately, more delays ran the film’s production directly into the 2020 Hollywood shutdown, and Stephen Daldry, who was attached to direct, stepped down from the project in October of that year.

But then, things started looking up in 2021, when Universal hired Crazy Rich Asians and In The Heights director 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.


The first rehearsals for the film began in August 2022. Chu confirmed principal photography started on Dec. 7, 2022.

By Jan. 28, 2024, filming finally wrapped after over a year of production. Stars Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo confirmed the milestone by sharing moving tributes to their characters and castmates on Instagram.

It’s Coming Sooner Than Expected

Wicked Parts 1 and 2 were originally set to arrive on Christmas of 2024 and 2025, respectively. However, both films were moved to Thanksgiving weekend of their respective years: Nov. 27, 2024, for Part One and Nov. 26, 2025, for Part Two.

The Cast Is Absolutely Stacked

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

Casting got underway for Wicked in November 2021, with two significant stars known for their vocal chops were announced in the roles of Elphaba and Glinda: Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo will play the former, and Ariana Grande the latter.

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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 (yes, Broadway’s SpongeBob, whose recent BTS drama with Grande has made the film even buzzier than it already was) boarding the project as Boq.

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After that, the casting news came fast, with Deadline adding another massive name to the Wicked cast on Dec. 8, 2022, confirming Michelle Yeoh had signed on to play Madame Morrible. Deadline then reported the musical had finished rounding out the cast the following day, 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.

The Story & Music Will Have Some Surprises


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.

“I think it's going to be unlike anything you've ever seen before,” Erivo told Entertainment Tonight in 2022. “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.”

The new version was 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 included.

Schwartz 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.”

In December 2023, he followed up those tidbits of info with the confirmation that there will be two brand-new songs in Wicked: Part 2.

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The First Photos Tease A Dark Turn

Universal shared a first look at the movies in April 2023. The two photos show Erivo’s Elpheba looking out of a window, and Grande’s Glinda ascending a staircase.

Universal Pictures

The photos faced backlash from fans for being too dark to really see anything, but Chu responded to the complaints by promising the movies would be much brighter and more colorful than these pics.

Both Trailers Are Pure Magic

Sure enough, the first trailer showed a brighter side of Oz. The footage dropped during the 2024 Super Bowl on Feb. 11, focusing on Elphaba and Glinda first meeting and forming their complicated bond.

Universal Pictures

The trailer ended with Cynthia Erivo belting the iconic final note in “Defying Gravity.”

But that first trailer was just a taste of Oz’s colorful splendor. On May 15, Universal Pictures released a second, longer trailer providing a wider look at the fairytale setting and much more story details and music.

Universal Pictures

Wicked will fly into theaters on Nov. 27.

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