The musical film adaptation of Wicked won’t be in the original form as expected. Jon M. Chu’s version for Universal Pictures will be split into two films: the first to be released on Christmas Day 2024, and the second to debut exactly one year later in 2025. “Thank U Next” singer Ariana Grande and Broadway and singing sensation Cynthia Erivo are starring in the lead roles as Glinda and Elphaba, respectively. Wicked, the prequel to The Wizard of Oz, tells the story of all that leads up to Dorothy’s arrival in town. Rent star Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth portrayed frenemies Elphaba in the Broadway version of Wicked.
In a statement to the publication, Chu explained that it was seemingly impossible to confine the film into one. “As we prepared the production over the last year, it became impossible to wrestle the story of Wicked into a single film without doing some real damage to it,” he wrote in part on Twitter. “As we tried to cut songs or trim characters, those decisions began to feel like fatal compromises to the source material that has entertained us all for so many years. 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 for these beloved characters.”
Special #Wicked Movie Announcement… ✌🏼🎬🧹🌸💚sent from my OzPhone: pic.twitter.com/4qPpvVD4rR
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) April 26, 2022
Wicked is the second highest-grossing Broadway musical of all time. It originally debuted on stage in 2003. Coming second behind the Broadway musical The Lion King, it’s already grossed over $1 billion.
The casting of Grande and Erivo was announced last Fall. Production is reportedly taking place in the U.K. The two performers made the announcement in a joint Instagram statement, each sharing to their respective pages. Erivo shared a series of photos and wrote, “Pink goes good with Green,” with three green heart emojis. Grande’s post also included photos of Erivo and her getting on a Zoom call from the director giving them the news that they were cast in the big-screen musical. “Thank goodness,” Grande wrote, tagging the film, its director, and Erivo alongside a heart emoji.