Ding dong! The wicked witch is alive and well in the first trailer for “Wicked.”
Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande are a vision in green and pink as they grace the fantastical land of Oz in Jon M. Chu’s upcoming movie musical. And the first look at the film, which debuted during the Super Bowl on Sunday, unfolds to the familiar strains of “Defying Gravity,” the show’s signature anthem.
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“Don’t be afraid,” Grande’s Glinda reassures Erivo’s Elphaba.
“I’m not afraid,” Erivo responds, steely voiced. “It’s the Wizard who should be afraid of me.”
This is clearly a different Oz than the one that Dorthy Gale encountered. Based on Gregory Maguire’s novel that inspired Broadway’s acclaimed musical of the same name, “Wicked” precedes Dorothy’s arrival in the magical world and tells the legend of world and the story behind Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. Grande’s Galinda Upland later becomes Glinda the Good Witch.
The cast includes Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible; Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero Tigelaar; Ethan Slater as Boq; Bowen Yang as Pfannee; and Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard of Oz.
Goldblum’s idiosyncratic voice can also be heard in the visually sumptuous trailer, with his wily Wizard noting, “The best way to bring folks together is to give them a real good enemy.” And it seems like Elphaba might be the villain he’s hoping to exploit.
“Something just takes over me and when it does bad things happen,” Elphaba tells Glinda.
Chu’s version of the musical was filmed in two parts to properly adapt the story. “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 said back in 2022.
“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,” he added. “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.”
Composer Stephen Schwartz, songwriter for “Wicked,” explained that the curtain-closing number “Defying Gravity” was a large reason why the film had to be made in two parts. In a 2022 newsletter, Schwartz wrote, “We found it very difficult to get past ‘Defying Gravity’ without a break. That song is written specifically to bring a curtain down, and whatever scene to follow it without a break just seemed hugely anti-climactic.”
“Wicked” wasn’t the only film to use the Super Bowl’s massive audience to offer fans a first look. “Deadpool 3” also debuted a trailer featuring Ryan Reynolds as the Merc With a Mouth and Hugh Jackman reprising his role as Wolverine.
The first part of Chu’s “Wicked” is set to hit theaters on Nov. 27, 2024. “Part Two” is slated for Nov. 26, 2025.
Watch the trailer below.
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