Your Ultimate Guide to the Wicked Movies

One of Broadway’s most beloved musicals is finally getting the Hollywood treatment.

Universal is set to adapt Wicked, the Tony Award–winning Stephen Schwartz musical based on Gregory Maguire 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which offers an alternative perspective on the events of The Wizard of Oz, through the eyes of the witch, Elphaba. The show debuted on Broadway to critical acclaim in 2003.

Jon M. Chu (who directed the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights) will helm the highly anticipated project—and he found his Elphaba and Glinda in Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande.

Ahead, everything you need to know about the Wicked film adaptation.


The first trailer dropped in February 2024.

The first-ever trailer for Wicked premiered during Super Bowl LVIII. The nearly minute-long clip gives us glimpses of the magical world of Oz, as well as a brief look at Erivo’s and Grande’s performances as Elphaba and Glinda.

The movie musical will be split into two separate films, hitting theaters in 2024 and 2025.

In April 2022, Chu announced that the Wicked adaptation will be split into two separate movies. The first will premiere on November 27, 2024, and the second will be released on November 26, 2025.

“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,” Chu wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “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. So we decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one Wicked movie but TWO!!!”

The director added that he, the cast, and the crew are all committed to creating “nothing less than an experience that honors its foundations for all the fans who’ve waited for this movie, and to offer a thrilling, fantastical world full of dynamic characters that invites in those who are unfamiliar.”

In March 2023, he confirmed the release date for the first film on Twitter.

“We are deep into production on WICKED and everyday we get more and more excited to share with u the mischief we’ve been up to. So…We’ve decided to get it to you all a little earlier than planned,” he wrote to fans. “Our new release date is November 27th 2024! A little Thanksgiving treat!”

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande have been cast as the leads.

Actor Erivo and pop star Grande will play the musical’s frenemy protagonists, Elphaba (otherwise known as the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch). Their casting was announced in November 2021.

beverly hills, california   february 09 cynthia erivo attends the 2020 vanity fair oscar party hosted by radhika jones at wallis annenberg center for the performing arts on february 09, 2020 in beverly hills, california photo by rich furyvf20getty images for vanity fair

Rich Fury/VF20//Getty Images

Cynthia Erivo will play Elphaba.

los angeles, california   january 26 ariana grande arrives at the 62nd annual grammy awards at staples center on january 26, 2020 in los angeles, california photo by steve granitzwireimage

Steve Granitz//Getty Images

Ariana Grande will play Glinda.

Erivo and Grande are taking over roles made famous by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, who originated the characters in the Broadway production.

Erivo has an extensive and successful background in musical theater, having won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the Broadway revival of The Color Purple, in which she played Celie Harris Johnson.

And prior to her pop career, Grande also dabbled in musical theater. She previously starred in the 2008 Broadway production of the musical 13.

Jon M. Chu will direct the films.

Chu has some experience adapting beloved Broadway musicals for the big screen. He was previously charged with helming the In the Heights adaptation, which premiered in June 2021. He also directed the 2018 rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, adapted from the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan.

“What really has hit me is the power of music and why musicals exist in the first place when words aren’t sufficient,” the director told Collider in June 2021. “Nowadays, words really aren’t sufficient for what we’re going through. So for me, it’s finding the truth of each song and working our way inside out of why that exists.”

Jonathan Bailey will play Fiyero.

Chu confirmed on Twitter in September 2022 that the Bridgerton star will take on the lead love-interest role in the Wicked movies.

“He’s perfect, they’re perfect. They’d be perfect together. Born to be forever,” Chu wrote. “I am too excited to pretend this hasn’t been happening. We have a Fiyero!!!!”

Bailey is best known for his performance as Anthony Bridgerton in Netflix’s beloved period romance series.

Lia Toby//Getty Images

We’ve gotten our first looks at Elphaba and Glinda.

On Twitter in April 2023, the director released the first-ever images of Erivo and Grande in full costume as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. One shows Erivo in the all-black costume and full green makeup, looking away from camera as she stands in a clock tower clutching a broom. Meanwhile, Grande wears a pink princess gown as she climbs a tall staircase, presumably in the same tower.

In response to a fan’s comment that the images are noticeably dark, Chu wrote, “Don’t worry, color is in my DNA… this is just the first tease. Plenty of time to show more… stay tuned.”

Ariana Grande says portraying Glinda is an experience that will stay with her “forever.”

In an April 2023 update shared on Instagram, Ariana Grande said Wicked was halfway finished with filming and penned a poetic ode to the role she had dedicated the previous year to.

“Savoring every millisecond left with my Galinda (although she’ll be with me irrevocably, forever). she shows me so many new things every day. I am so grateful, I don’t know what to do or say… to be here in Oz where everyday is a life changing one… to be feeling, learning and growing so much at such a disarming speed… to feel so much love around me, to begin each day before the sun is up and to end after it sets,” she wrote. “To hold my brilliant twin flame / sister Cynthia’s beautiful, green hands every day… to work in the safest, most beautiful and loving, biggest-yet-most-intimate/tiny-feeling spaces…”

Read her message in full, below.

The singer also shared a photo with Erivo in March 2023, simply captioning the black-and-white image “up to (no) good 🫧 🧹.”

Michelle Yeoh will play Madame Morrible.

The Everything Everywhere All at Once star has joined the Wicked cast to play Madame Morrible, headmistress of Crage Hall at Shiz University, Variety reported in December 2022. In the musical and the book, Madame Morrible acts as a devoted follower of the Wizard.

michelle yeoh poses at met gala

Jamie McCarthy//Getty Images

The movies will look different from the musical.

In a February 2022 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Erivo explained why fans shouldn’t expect a 100 percent faithful adaptation of the musical.

“I think it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before,” she said. “I think we’re going to enjoy the magic of it. We’re going to try and put our own spin on what we know already and show you a story about two women [who] are sisters.”

Stephen Schwartz, who composed the show’s original music and is returning for the movies, also teased new Wicked music.

“I can tell you that at least as of now there will be probably four new songs in the movie,” he told Playbill in 2016.

Grande shared a behind-the-scenes look at her transformation into Glinda.

In October 2022, Grande teased her blonde transformation into the Good Witch on Instagram.

Sharing a photo of herself in profile, the “Positions” singer sported honey-blonde locks, which she pulled up into her signature high ponytail.

“New earrings,” she casually captioned the photo.

Headshot of Chelsey Sanchez

As an associate editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse on all things celeb news. She also writes on social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight on workers’ rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, rewatching Emma (the 2020 version, of course), or buying yet another corset.