What’s Up With ‘The Wicked’ Movie, Based on The Broadway Musical?

Odds are, if you start randomly blasting “Defying Gravity,” a handful of people would know where it’s from and probably sing along. While trying to belt out the notes as Idina Menzel does, you might also wonder, “Wasn’t there supposed to be a movie version of Wicked already?” The answer would be yes. Yes, there was. However, because of studio scheduling and whatnot, it was moved. Here’s an update for those Oz-obsessed fans out there. 

Alli Mauzey and Lindsay Mendez, in the roles of Galinda and Elphaba, at the curtain call for 'Wicked' Celebrates 10th Anniversary On Broadway in 2013.
Alli Mauzey and Lindsay Mendez, in the roles of Galinda and Elphaba, at the curtain call for ‘Wicked’ Celebrates 10th Anniversary On Broadway in 2013 | John Lamparski/WireImage

It’s an adaptation that fans have wanted for years

In case Wicked isn’t that familiar to you, it’s a Broadway musical inspired by the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. In that film, the Wicked Witch of the West is a green, mean being who tries to steal Dorothy’s shoes and kill her and her friends. But Wicked, based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, gives that poor girl a backstory, too. 

See, not all villains are born evil; some could argue none of them are. But Elphaba was especially not born into villainy. The green-skinned baby was mistreated for her looks and grew up beaten down at every turn. She possessed magical abilities and was quite kind and cared for her sheltered sister deeply. It’s not until her dreams are shattered in Oz that she becomes what you see in The Wizard of Oz. Are her methods fair to Dorothy? No. But would you also run away and try to take down a corrupt Wizard? Yeah, probably. 

‘Wicked’ was actually supposed to premiere this year, in place of ‘Cats’

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Broadway musical crossed $1 billion at the box office in 2016 and has won 10 Tony Awards. To say it’s a hit doesn’t do it justice, and a movie adaptation is, of course, on the horizon. However, it was planned so far in advance initially that it’s been postponed. 

What’s interesting is that it was moved to make way for Cats the musical. The feline musical debuted the same weekend as The Rise of Skywalker and has been deemed a commercial and critical failure. It had a $95 million budget but only made $6.5 million opening weekend; the loss is monumental.

Regardless, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio moved Wicked from its spot of Dec. 20, 2019, and Cats was put there instead. Recently the tweet initially announcing the movie in 2016 resurfaced, and fans are even more ready for this movie now than ever before. 

They haven’t cast anyone in the roles of Elphaba or Galinda yet, but expect new songs

There is no casting news about this at all since it is still so far in advance. The new release date was set for almost two years later, on Dec. 22, 2021. So there’s still a long way to go, unfortunately. Fans fantasy casts of the roles, which include Lea Michele, Ariana Grande, Dove Cameron, and as Elphaba and Galinda. But there really is no way to know just yet who will play the tragic best friends. 

In the meantime, though, you can get excited about new songs. Stephen Schwartz, who was the lyricist and composer for the original Broadway musical, revealed at San Diego Comic-Con in 2016 that three new songs and one unused tune would be a part of the film. This, of course, was reported in 2016 by Playbill when the movie had a 2019 release date still, so things might change by the time 2021 rolls around. Regardless, it’s good to know that some progress was made. 

So whether you’re more of a Galinda or an Elphaba, the Wicked movie is coming your way eventually. While you’re waiting, whatever you do: don’t trust any wizards.