L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz got turned on its head with Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. The 1995 book put the spotlight on Elphaba and her life, often one full of hardship, until Dorothy kills her. Wicked became a Broadway musical in 2003 and has since become the fourth longest-running Broadway series. And this journey through Oz doesn’t stop with a musical: we’re getting a two-part film adaptation from director Jon M. Chu. The first Wicked trailer is here, showing off a beautifully cinematic version of Oz and the beginning of Elphaba and Glinda’s fateful and witchy friendship.
Cynthia Erivo plays Elphaba and Ariana Grande plays Glinda. They meet as students at Shiz University and become close friends. Elphaba and Glinda could not have more different backgrounds. Those backgrounds definitely put a thorn in the side of the friendship. As Wicked‘s synopsis explains:
The two meet as students at Shiz University in the fantastical Land of Oz and forge an unlikely but profound friendship. Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power, while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences on her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfill their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
Wicked is an epic and long story. Is it a story that needs two movies? Only time will tell.
In addition to Erivo and Grande, the cast for Wicked includes: Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible; Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero; Ethan Slater as Boq; Marissa Bode as Nessarose; and Jeff Goldblum as the legendary Wizard of Oz. Bowen Yang, Bronwyn James, and Keala Settle also star.
Wicked arrives in theaters on November 27, 2024. Wicked Part Two will follow on November 26, 2025.
Featured Image: Universal