“Wicked,” the movie based on the hit Broadway musical, which is set to star Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande, will be split into two parts. The first will be released Christmas 2024 and the second in 2025.
The film’s director Jon M. Chu announced the news on Twitter on Tuesday, saying it would be “impossible to wrestle” the story of “Wicked” into a single movie.
“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,” Chu wrote. “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 of these beloved characters.”
Erivo is playing Elphaba in the film, while Grande will play Glinda in the story of what happened before Dorothy dropped in on the land of Oz.
Written by Winnie Holzman, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, “Wicked” has continuously been in production since 2003 and is the 11th longest-running Broadway show of all time. Seen by more than 60 million people at productions all over the world, it surpassed more than $1 billion in revenues in 2016 — one of only three Broadway plays to achieve that milestone. The original Broadway production won three Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Musical for Idina Menzel.
The musical is itself based on the acclaimed 1995 novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire. A retelling of the story of Frank L. Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” from the perspective of the Wicked Witch, the book tracks the life of Elphaba (the Witch’s real name) from her unhappy childhood to her eventual emergence as Dorothy Gale’s nemesis.
Marc Platt is producing “Wicked” through his Universal-based Marc Platt Productions, with Erik Baiers, senior executive vice president of production, and Lexi Barta, vice president of production development, overseeing for Universal.