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Wicked Release Date, Plot, Cast, First-Look Footage And More Details

There's always more than one side to every story. Take "Wicked, for example, which puts a new spin on the classic "Wizard of Oz." Instead of young Dorothy Gale as the heroine, this enthralling narrative tells the tales of Elphaba and Galinda. Their names might not seem familiar at first glance, but these figures will become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch, respectively.

Gregory Maguire's novel "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" was a revelation for "Oz" fans upon its release in the '90s. This contemporary look at the characters created by L. Frank Baum almost 100 years earlier then caught the eye of Broadway. The musical adaptation of "Wicked" by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman proved to be a hit in and of itself, winning numerous awards and seeing productions staged throughout the world.

It was inevitable that talk of a movie adaptation would quickly follow the musical's release. Since the early '00s, however, the project has been stuck between shifting dates, changing creatives, and numerous starts and stops. All of it finally appears to be over with a confirmed director, cast, and release dates for a story so ambitious it will take two films to tell.

Here's what we know so far about the "Wicked" films.

When will Wicked be released?

Universal Pictures has broken up "Wicked" into two films, with "Part One" debuting on November 27, 2024, while "Wicked Part Two," is set to arrive almost exactly one year later, on November 26, 2025. This strategy offers viewers more time with the characters, as well as a more faithful and complete adaptation of the source material, one of the most attended and fervently loved Broadway musicals of the 21st century.

Director Jon M. Chu brought the news of splitting the film in two to fans through social media. In his statement, Chu spoke about the reasons behind the extended schedule, explaining how massive pre-production could be on a project like "Wicked." He also went on to say that a single film would damage this large narrative. "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," he tweeted.

What is the plot of Wicked?

Per the official plot synopsis, "Wicked" will focus on Elphaba and Glinda as "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."

Who is starring in Wicked?

It goes without saying, but the women at the heart of the story, Elphaba and Glinda, require dynamic performers. The original Broadway run more than fit that criteria with Idina Menzel starring as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, and their pairing created an iconic experience for theater fans. However, they won't be reprising their on-stage roles here. Instead, musical superstar Ariana Grande and the Tony-winning Cynthia Erivo will be stepping into their shoes. Erivo will play the future Wicked Witch, Elphaba, and Grande takes on the role of Glinda. 

They'll be surrounded by an equally talented cast for this two-part musical journey. The Oscar-winning Michelle Yeoh has been announced as Madame Morrible, the Shiz University headmistress who plays an important part in the lives of young witches. This marks another collaboration between Yeoh and director Chu, previously working together on 2018's "Crazy Rich Asians." Jeff Goldblum is another addition to the cast, and he'll play the Wizard of Oz himself.

We can also expect to see Jonathan Bailey, who's best known for his portrayal of Anthony, Viscount Bridgerton on Netflix's beloved "Bridgerton" series. Here, he'll be playing Fiyero, the prince caught in a love triangle between Grande and Erivo's witches. Then there's Ethan Slater, who earned a Tony nod for playing the lead character in the stage adaptation of "SpongeBob SquarePants," and in "Wicked," he'll play Boq, who's majorly into Glinda. Bowen Yang of "Saturday Night Live" fame and Bronwyn James of "Harlots" will play Shiz classmates of Glinda and Elphaba, while newcomer Marissa Bode will play Elphaba's wheelchair-using sister, Nessarose. Plus, we can expect to see Keala Settle of "The Greatest Showman," newcomer Aaron Teoh, and character actor Colin Michael Carmichael.

Who is directing Wicked?

Jon M. Chu is set to direct both "Wicked" films. The director seems a perfect fit for a musical full of energy and fantasy. Prior to taking on the ambitious two-film project, Chu helmed "In the Heights." A Broadway adaptation itself, it brought Lin-Manuel Miranda's pre-"Hamilton" work to life with a vigor that matched the original production. The film hit an unexpected roadblock thanks to the pandemic and was the subject of a release scattered between theaters and streaming service HBO Max (now known as Max).

Chu has also been behind some projects that helped define dance for a new generation. He directed "Step Up 2: The Streets" and "Step Up 3D," which are both ranked by Looper among the 35 best dance movies of all time. Each entry saw the franchise build on its fanbase while increasing the depth and difficulty of each dance sequence. After "Wicked" completes production, the filmmaker is expected to return to the "Crazy Rich Asians" franchise with its upcoming sequels, "China Rich Girlfriend" and "Rich People Problems." 

Is there a trailer for Wicked?

The first-look footage for "Wicked" released on Super Bowl Sunday in February 2024. While the quick teaser is light on plot details, it's heavy on visuals, with Glinda floating in her magical bubble, Dorothy Gale showing up in book-accurate shoes, and Elphaba taking to the sky on her broomstick The teaser lets us feel there's something ominous about the Wizard, and we see the moment where Glinda and Elphaba meet at Shiz University, with the future good witch shocked at Elphaba's green look. We also get glimpses of the flying and monkeys and the Emerald City, along with the always awesome Michelle Yeoh.