‘Wicked’ Footage Brings the House Down With Trailer of Cynthia Erivo Wearing the Wicked Witch’s Hat

CinemaCon 2024: The musical, directed by Jon M. Chu, costars Ariana Grande

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in "Wicked" (Universal Pictures)

Universal’s upcoming adaptation of the Broadway musical “Wicked” showcased some additional footage at this year’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas, bringing down the house with a first look at Cynthia Erivo donning the iconic hat of the Wicked Witch.

Erivo joined director Jon M. Chu and the film’s cast, including costar Ariana Grande, at the event.

“I never could have fathomed that I would have the opportunity to play the Wicked Witch,” Erivo said. “We have performed this song publicly and privately for many years, and now here we are together, getting the chance to perform these songs for an audience around the world.”

The sneak peek showed sweeping shots of the colorful world of Oz, along with Elphaba and Glinda’s turbulent first days together at Shiz University, where they are training to be witches. Elphaba develops far faster than Glinda, showing incredible potential and gaining the attention of Madame Morrible, played by Michelle Yeoh.

We also see Glinda offer Elphaba the most horrible item in her wardrobe: her grandmother’s hat. That hat is the pointed witch’s hat that ends up becoming the iconic symbol of the Wicked Witch of the West, and one that the Wizard of Oz uses to turn Elphaba into a villain to preserve his power.

“I’m not afraid,” Elphaba tells Glinda. “It is the wizard who should be afraid of me.”

As the film’s director said onstage, “I was a Silicon Valley kid, and in a stroke of luck I was there when ‘Wicked’ was workshopped at the Curran Theater in San Francisco. I related to the story of Elphaba, the witch who is judged for how she looks, but I never dreamed that I would get my dream job of directing it for the big screen.”

The film’s cast also includes Jonathan Bailey, Jeff Goldblum, Ethan Slater, Marissa Bode and Bowen Yang. And, newly announced at CinemaCon, actor Peter Dinklage has joined the cast in the role of Dr. Dillamond.

“We dream very big for ‘Wicked,’” Chu added. “We wanted to honor the source material… but we also wanted to create a new world of its own, one that creates sights and sounds and performances that will lift your soul and occasionally break your heart.”

A brief teaser was unveiled during Super Bowl LVIII at the beginning of February, though there’s been little else since filming concluded. This marks the first significant look at the film and its colorful world before its Thanksgiving debut.

Based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel, “Wicked” received critical acclaim on Broadway when it debuted in 2003 for its radical reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz.” Set before and during the events of the classic L. Frank Baum novel and its legendary MGM film adaptation, “Wicked” presents Elphaba not as a villain, but as a misunderstood young woman who formed an unexpected friendship with Glinda while learning sorcery at Shiz University.

However, the two future witches’ friendship is broken apart by the corrupt government of the Wizard of Oz (Goldblum) and the machinations of the university’s headmistress (Yeoh). Featuring new songs not seen in the Broadway version, “Wicked” will be broken into two parts that will be released on Thanksgiving weekend this year and in 2025.

“Wicked: Part 1” hits theaters Nov. 27.


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