Something’s happening in Oz. Jon M. Chu announced on social media that his upcoming adaptation of the musical “Wicked” will be split into two films. Universal Pictures will release the first “Wicked” movie on Dec. 25, 2024. The second “Wicked” movie will debut exactly a year later on Dec. 25, 2025.
“Wicked” will mark Chu’s follow-up to his “In the Heights” musical adaptation, which opened to rave reviews in theaters and on HBO Max last summer. Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo are set to star in the lead roles of Glinda and Elphaba, respectively. A prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” “Wicked” tells the story of everything leading up to Dorothy’s arrival in Oz. In its original Broadway run, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth portrayed frenemies Elphaba, who would become the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda the Good Witch.
“As we prepared the production over the last year, it became impossible to wrestle the story of ‘Wicked’ into a single film without doing some real damage to it,” Chu wrote in a statement. “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. 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 journeys for these beloved characters.”
Stephen Schwartz, who penned the music and lyrics to the original Broadway show, is adapting the “Wicked” screenplay with Winnie Holzman. Marc Platt, who produced the Broadway musical, is producing the film. The musical opened on Broadway in 2003 and continues to run. The show has earned more than $1 billion on Broadway and is second only to “The Lion King” as the highest grossing Broadway musical of all time.
A version of this story first appeared on Variety.com.