Somewhere, over the next few years, a movie of Wicked will finally be made. Universal Pictures has long held the rights for an adaptation of the hit Broadway show, which itself is based on the popular novel of the same name that revises the story and characters from The Wizard of Oz. The studio has set a few different release dates throughout this decade, but now the screen version is aiming for a late 2021 opening.
That gives Universal a couple years to still finalize the details and get the movie into production, but in the meantime here’s everything we know about Wicked:
What is the movie about?
Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum’s original book and the popular 1939 movie) focused on the origin of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. Told from her perspective and set prior to her sister being crushed by Dorothy’s house, the story goes that she meets and befriends a popular witch named Glinda, but their relationship is strained by their opposite personalities, a romantic rivalry and other events.
Wasn’t there already a Wizard of Oz prequel?
Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful, released in 2013, did depict events taking place prior to The Wizard of Oz, including the origins of the Wizard as a man from Kansas and showing the early years of the good and wicked witches. That movie was an original idea based on the books of L. Frank Baum and unrelated to Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which is the basis for the musical and upcoming adaptation.
Is the Wizard a part of the plot of Wicked?
Yes, the Wizard, is a part of the musical, as he’s the head of the government of the Land of Oz. But the story mostly focuses on the two witches, with only hints of the other iconic characters from Baum’s books, such as the lion and the scarecrow.
Who is starring in the movie?
That’s to be determined, but for a long time there was an expectation for the original Broadway stars, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, reprising their respective roles as Elphaba and Glinda.
Who is the director?
In years past, some of the names up for the job of directing Wicked have included J.J. Abrams, Ryan Murphy, Rob Marshall and James Mangold. But Universal is going with Stephen Daldry, whose musical background includes helming the original movie of Billy Elliot and later a stage production of the musical adaptation.
Who wrote the adaptation?
The movie’s screenplay will be written by Winnie Holzman, with songs by Stephen Schwartz, both of whom are adapting their own work for the stage version.
Are they adding any new songs?
Reportedly, the movie version of Wicked is expected to include two new tunes.
When can we see it?
Universal will release Wicked in theaters on December 22, 2021.