It's a true all-time favorite: "The Wizard of Oz". The story has been reinterpreted time and again for over 120 years. Since the publication of the original novel in 1900, there have been various movie adaptations, musicals, books and as many as 14 sequels. Among the many creative works, the musical "Wicked" stands out in particular, which has been successfully performed on Broadway since 2003 and is a kind of prequel to the traditional story.
This hit is now set to be made into a high-quality movie. Even before the first trailer is out, we are giving you all the information about the upcoming film adaptation. Who will be singing the songs, what is the status of production and what is the story actually about? Here are the answers!
This is the Story of Wicked
Let's start with the general plot of "Wicked" without any major spoilers: The two witches Elphaba and Glinda encounter each other and they could hardly be any more different: While Glinda captivates with her grace and appeal, Elphaba has to constantly assert herself due to her unusual green skin color. Despite these contrasts, a close friendship develops between the two during their time at Shiz University. However, unforeseen events challenge their bond and lead them to the legendary Wizard of Oz. Finding out the true nature of the most powerful man in the Land could change their special relationship forever.
Although this story does not sound particularly complex at first, it is to be split into two films. Luckily, as they are being filmed back-to-back, the second part will be released in cinemas just one year later.
The Wicked Cast
For the most part, the cast is already known - which is hardly surprising, as the first movie is set to be released in late 2024. One name in particular is likely to attract large numbers of viewers to the movie theaters.
The most important are, of course, the two witches. The popular witch Glinda is played by none other than Ariana Grande. The US singer has been an indispensable part of the music business for 10 years and was named the most-streamed female artist of the decade by Spotify in 2019. The singer also has musical experience: prior to her breakthrough, she had already performed in various Broadway musicals.
Besides Glinda, the focus is on her friend Elphaba. Although she has a bad reputation, she is not really evil, cares about others and has a special relationship with animals. However, because of her green skin color, she is bullied by her schoolmates. The role of Elphaba is played by Cynthia Erivo. The British actress is well-known in Hollywood as well as on Broadway, having already won a Tony Award. In 2020, she was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her performance as Harriet Tubman in the historical drama "Harriet".
The Wizard and His Assistant
In the prequel to Oz, the actual wizard is of course a key figure. In this movie, he is played by Jeff Goldblum himself. At the peak of his power, the wizard pretends to be a benevolent and just ruler. Although he doesn't seem to possess a hint of real magic, he has made it to the top of Oz.
He is supported by the wicked witch Madame Morrible: she influences her pupils and has them spy for the wizard. She has also been given a well-known cast, namely Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh.
Other Witches and Wizards
Fiyero, for example, is an important person for Elphaba: he is a special student who has already gone his own way at several schools. He lives his life to the full, always on the lookout for new adventures and entertainment. At first glance, he may seem superficial, but behind his facade Elphaba also recognizes deeper aspects. He is played by Jonathan Bailey. Be it theater, television, cinema or radio: the Brit is well-versed in all of them, making him a great choice for the musical film. He is best known to a wider audience through his roles in "Broadchurch" and "Bridgerton".
But Glinda also has the one or other relationship with pupils. Young Boq, for example, is madly in love with her, but also turns to Elphaba's sister Nessa. The two are played by Ethan Slater and Marissa Bode. They are both still relatively unknown in Hollywood, but they might be able to make their breakthrough with this musical adaptation.
The musical adaptation was directed by Jon M. Chu. He is well-versed in dance and musical films: He has already directed "Step Up 2" and 3 as well as "In the Heights" and was also behind the Justin Bieber documentary "Never Say Never". Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman are in charge of the screenplay. They can of course make use of the original story of the musical. This in turn is based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire entitled "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West".
Filming was almost completed in mid-2023, but had to be paused due to the actors' and writers' strike in the United States. The first photos from the set have now appeared on social media, although an official trailer is still missing. The planned theatrical release date is November 27, 2024, with the second part set to be released one year later.