Publishing a letter on his Twitter account, director Jon M. Chu has announced that his upcoming adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Wicked will now be split into two films. This was confirmed by Universal Pictures who has locked down the release dates of Wednesday, December 25th, 2024 and Thursday, December 25, 2025 for the respective first and second parts of the massive adaptation. Chu explained the reasons why in the first paragraph of his letter:
“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. 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.”
You can view the full post below:
As the letter reminds, Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo are set to star in the lead roles of Glinda (The Good Witch) and Elphaba (Wicked Witch of the West), respectively. Based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire-written novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Wicked serves as a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and reveals the the story of everything leading up to Dorothy’s arrival in Oz. Namely Glinda and Elphaba's relationship as struggles through their opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, their respective reactions to the Wizard's corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba's private fall from grace. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth portrayed Elphaba and Glinda in the original Broadway run when it opened in 2003 and in it's continuous run has earned over $1 billion on Broadway, becoming second only to The Lion King as the highest grossing Broadway musical of all time. The 2013 Sam Raimi-directed film Oz the Great and Powerful was actually written by screenwriter Mitchell Kapner in response to the original Broadway production as Kapner felt he missed an opportunity to tell the origin of the Wizard of Oz. That film shared many story ideas to the play.
Stephen Schwartz, who penned the music and lyrics to the original Broadway show, is adapting the Wicked screenplay with Winnie Holzman. In addition, the Broadway musical's producer Marc Platt will produce the film. Stay tuned!