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The Color Purple Musical Remake Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

As coming-of-age drama goes, few works can boast the sort of multi-platform accolades "The Color Purple" has. Alice Walker's original novel won a Pulitzer Prize in 1983. The 1985 movie was directed by none other than Steven Spielberg, and raked in an impressive 11 Academy Award nominations (via IMDb) — as well as numerous other nominations and awards, including a Golden Globe win for star Whoopi Goldberg. If all this wasn't enough, there's a Tony Award-winning musical version of the story, too (via Broadway World). 

The story of "The Color Purple" is far from over, too. In fact, there's a brand new version of the movie in the works — and it's based on the musical, too. Per Collider, the project has been in the works since 2018, and several people who have been involved in previous versions of the story are now sitting on the producer's seat. Apart from Spielberg, the movie will have a trio of producers of the Broadway version: Scott Sanders, Oprah Winfrey (who had a major role in the 1985 movie), and Quincy Jones.

Sounds pretty interesting, right? Let's take a closer look at what we know about the release date, cast, and plot of the upcoming musical remake of "The Color Purple."

What's the release date of The Color Purple?

The musical remake of "The Color Purple" is still a pretty long way from being completed, seeing as the whole cast hasn't been announced, and the filming hasn't started. Nevertheless, this is one of those times when the movie's release date is actually known a good sight before many other aspects of the project. According to Deadline, "The Color Purple" is currently slated for release on December 20, 2023, so remember to plan your schedule for next year's Holiday season accordingly. 

Of course, the movie's development is still in early stages, so even with the release date announced, it's always possible that the movie won't see the light on that date for any number of reasons. The production schedule could be delayed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or a whole bunch of other reasons that can affect any movie. It could also be moved, simply because it doesn't fit in its intended slot in the studio's release schedule — though, in all fairness, that doesn't seem all that likely for a project that has both Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey in its corner. 

Who's in the cast of The Color Purple?

The 1985 version of "The Color Purple" featured a stellar cast of actors, from Whoopi Goldberg as Celie and Danny Glover as Mister to Oprah Winfrey as Sofia and Laurence Fishburne as Swain. Per Variety, the upcoming musical version has already locked one huge name: Taraji P. Henson, who takes on the role of Mister's mistress and Celie's ally Shug Avery (played in the 1985 movie by Margaret Avery). Other announced cast members so far are Corey Hawkins and singer H.E.R., who are set to portray Harpo and Squeak.

Henson's involvement in the pivotal role suggests that you can expect some pretty major names in other main roles, too. Though no one has been officially attached to the roles of Celie, Mister, and Sofia, it's worth noting that Cynthia Erivo has played Celie in the stage musical, and seeing as she received a 2020 Oscar nomination for her leading role in "Harriet" (per IMDb), it seems fairly likely that her name would at least feature in the conversation. Likewise, Danielle Brooks of "Orange Is the New Black" and "Peacemaker" fame has portrayed Sofia on stage. 

Of course, you shouldn't forget that many of the actors from the 1985 version are still very much around, and Winfrey is actually producing the musical version. As such, it wouldn't be shocking to see some of them return for a quick cameo — or, perhaps, a more robust role. 

What's the plot of The Color Purple?

Since the musical version of "The Color Purple" is a remake, it's likely reasonable to assume that its general plot will follow the beats of the 1985 original, much as the 2005 musical does. As such, the story will likely focus on the life and eventual empowerment of Celie, whose abusive father forces her into marriage with another abusive man at a young age. Though life seems to have little in store for her besides servitude and sadness, she meets a number of important people over the course of decades. After several dramatic turns of events, Celie learns to stand up for herself, and builds an enjoyable life. 

There are, of course, some differences between the various retellings of the story, so this new version may also at least partially follow its own path. However, since the story is so iconic, and multiple people who have been working on previous versions are on board for this new one, it's likely that whatever differences the upcoming musical will have to the previous iterations of "The Color Purple" won't be too dramatic.