Everything to Know About the 'Wicked' Movie Starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo

The film starring Ariana Grande as Glinda and Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba will be split into two films

ariana grande and cynthia erivo
Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo. Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty; Universal Stage Production; Rich Fury/Getty Images

The Wicked movie already sounds magical.

Universal's film adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical ⁠— which is based on the 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire ⁠— was first announced all the way back in 2016. Since then, we've slowly gotten more details about the production.

In November 2021, Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande were cast as the leads, Elphaba and Glinda, respectively.

In April 2022, director Jon M. Chu teased more details about the project, including that it would now be released in two parts.

Not wanting to cut down on too many musical numbers and important characters, Chu explained that the creative team decided to give themselves "a bigger canvas" by splitting the adaptation into two separate movies.

"With more space, we can tell the story of WICKED as it was meant to be told," he continued.

As more details about the film are announced, read ahead for everything we know.

Who is in the Wicked movie cast?

Erivo and Grande were the first actors attached to the project.

Following their casting announcements, Kristin Chenoweth, who originated the role of Glinda in Broadway's Wicked, gave Grande and Erivo her seal of approval.

"I'm not sure if I've ever been this proud. From the very first day I met you ... you were destined for this role. Congratulations @arianagrande!" Chenoweth wrote on Instagram. "The best Glinda you will be with @cynthiaerivo by your side 💗💚 I love you!! 🧚‍♀️👑🪄 @wickedmovie @wicked_musical #wicked."

Idina Menzel, who originated the role of Elphaba on Broadway, also showed love for Erivo and Grande, writing, "Congrats to two amazing women. May it change your lives for the better forever and ever as it has for us. So much love."

Jonathan Bailey attends the Polo Ralph Lauren VIP suite during Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2021 in London, England., Jeff Goldblum attends SiriusXM's Real Jazz Channel at The SiriusXM Studios in New York City on November 11, 2019 in New York City., Michelle Yeoh attends the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 13th Governors Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on November 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty; Noam Galai/Getty; Emma McIntyre/WireImage

In September 2022, Chu confirmed that Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey is joining the cast as Fiyero, the main love interest in the musical. "He's perfect, they're perfect," the director wrote. "They'd be perfect together. Born to be forever….. I am too excited to pretend this hasn't been happening. We have a Fiyero!!!! #JonathanBailey #Wicked"

In October 2022, Variety reported that Jeff Goldblum was in final talks to play the Wizard, and in December 2022, they reported that Oscar-winner Michelle Yeoh was in talks to play Madame Morrible. During a March 2023 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Goldblum confirmed his role as the Wizard, teasing that Grande and Erivo are "very good" in their roles.

In May 2023, Yeoh confirmed her casting in Wicked while at a film festival in Fukuoka, Japan. "I'm trying something new right now, filming John Chu's Wicked movie, which will be my first musical," she said.

Yeoh added that the project is "very exciting" and said that agreeing to do the film "was a risk, but you will never know which doors will open for you unless you try them all."

Ethan Slater, Marissa Bode, Bowen Yang
Walter McBride/WireImage; Marissa Bode/Instagram; Mary Ellen Matthews/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

The cast also includes SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical star Ethan Slater as Boq, Marissa Bode as Nessarose, Bowen Yang as Pfannee, Bronwyn James as ShenShen, Keala Settle as Miss Coddle, Aaron Teoh as Avaric and Colin Michael Carmichael as Professor Nikidik, per Variety.

Who is directing the Wicked movie?

toska husted
Courtesy toska husted

Tony-award winner Stephen Daldry was originally supposed to direct, but he officially exited the production in October 2020.

Jon M. Chu — the mastermind behind Crazy Rich Asians and the film adaptation of Broadway's In the Heights — was later tapped to helm the film in February 2021.

Additionally, a handful of people from the original Broadway musical will be returning for the film. Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, who co-wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway show, are adapting the screenplay, while Marc Platt will return as a producer.

How will the Wicked movie be different from the musical?

On the 2022 SAG Awards red carpet, Erivo revealed that the movie adaptation of Wicked will be slightly different from the original.

"I think it's going to be unlike anything you've ever seen before," she told Entertainment Tonight. "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."

Will there be new music in the Wicked movie?

toska husted
Courtesy toska husted

Schwartz previously shared that the movie will also include new music.

"I can tell you that at least as of now there will be probably four new songs in the movie," he said back in 2016, according to Playbill. He also noted that three of those songs are newly written, while the other was cut from the Broadway production.

In July 2022, Schwartz shared a photo of himself, music director Stephen Oremus, and actors Troy Iwata, Marissa Rosen, and Wendi Bergamini from a recent demo recording session for the movie on his online fan newsletter The Schwartz Scene.

When did the Wicked movie start filming?

Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo
Ariana Grande/Instagram

During Erivo's conversation with ET, she revealed that she and Grande would go into rehearsals for the film in July 2022. In October 2022, Grande insinuated that filming would be kicking off soon as she debuted her blonde hair for the role. In December 2022, Chu confirmed that filming had begun.

Has a first look at the Wicked movie been released?

In April, Chu shared two stills from the upcoming two-part film adaptation, showcasing Grande and Erivo in character as Glinda and Elphaba, respectively.

"You weren't told the whole story. What happens when you veer off the Yellow Brick Road? FIRST LOOK of the #WickedMovie … currently in production in Oz. 🌪️🫧🧹" Chu captioned the post.

When is the Wicked movie release date?

The film was originally slated to be released on Dec. 22, 2021, but due to COVID-19-related production delays, the release was pushed back. In Chu's statement from April 2022, he teased that the Wicked films would be released "on successive Christmas holidays beginning December 2024."

However, in March 2023, Grande revealed that the film's release was moved up a month as she shared a black and green image that read: "Wicked. November 27, 2024."

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