From the Land of Oz comes an update about Jon M. Chu’s film adaptation of Wicked, starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo. Instead of cramming the story of Glinda and Elphaba into one really long movie, executives at Universal have given clearance to break the feature into two films. It’s the company way of offering a “ bigger canvas” for the cast and crew.
“Here’s what happened: as we prepared this production over the last year, it became increasingly clear that it would be impossible to wrestle the story of Wicked into a single film without doing some real damage to it. 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 writes in a statement.
“So we decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one Wicked movie but TWO!!!! 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 journey of these beloved characters.”
As Deadline notes, we’ve seen this move regularly when it comes to the finales of YA adaptations such as The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, and Allegiant, but it’s a rather unorthodox move for a musical adaptation. Consider it an intermission. The most recent blockbuster to make this creative choice was Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, which will have a second part arrive in 2023.
Chu’s Wicked is based on the bestselling novel by Gregory Maguire, which, of course, went on to become a Broadway hit. The story is being adapted by the stage production’s book writer Winnie Holzman and Oscar-winning composer Stephen Schwartz.
The first Wicked installment will make its theater debut in December 2024, with the second coming one year later on December 25, 2025.