Ding dong! In the first trailer for Wicked, Wicked is alive and well.
Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande grace the fantastical land of Oz in Jon M. Chu’s upcoming movie musical, Presents A dreamy scene of green and pink. The film, which premiered during Super Bowl Sunday, unfolds to the familiar tune of “Defying Gravity,” the show’s signature song.
“Don’t be afraid,” Grande’s Glinda assures Erivo’s Elphaba.
“I’m not afraid,” Erivo replied, his voice firm. “Wizards should be afraid of me.”
This is clearly a different Oz than the one Dorsey Gale encountered. Wicked is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, which inspired the critically acclaimed Broadway musical of the same name. Wicked tells the legend of the world before Dorothy arrives in the wizarding world and the story behind Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. Galinda of Grande later became Glinda the Good Witch.
The cast includes Michelle Yeoh as Mrs. Morrible; Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero Tigelaar; Ethan Slater as Burke; Bowen Yang as Pfannee; and Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard of Oz.
Goldblum’s distinctive voice can also be heard in the visually gorgeous trailer, as his cunning wizard notes, “The best way to bring people together is to give them a really good enemy.” It looks like Elphaba Might be the villain he’s hoping to exploit.
“Something takes over me, and when it happens, bad things happen,” Elphaba told Glinda.
Zhu’s version of the musical was shot in two parts to adapt the story appropriately. “As we prepared for production over the past year, it was impossible to integrate the story of ‘Wicked’ into one movie without doing some real damage to it,” Chu said. Said it as early as 2022.
“When we tried to cut songs or prune characters, those decisions started to feel like fatal compromises of the source material that had 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 could tell the story of ‘Wicked’ as it was, while also creating a space for these deep-seated characters. The journeys of beloved characters bring even more depth and surprises.”
“Wicked” composer and composer Stephen Schwartz explained that the ending song “Defying Gravity” was a big reason why the movie had to be split into two parts. Schwartz wrote in a 2022 newsletter: “We found it difficult to complete ‘Defying Gravity’ without interruption. This song was specifically written to bring the curtain down, and no matter how uninterrupted the subsequent scenes were, it seemed Very anti-climactic.”
Wicked isn’t the only movie to capitalize on the Super Bowl’s massive crowds to give fans a first-look experience. “Deadpool 3” also released a trailer, with Ryan Reynolds playing the mercenary with a mouth and Hugh Jackman reprising his role as Wolverine.
The first part of Chu Chu’s “Wicked” is scheduled to be released on November 27, 2024. “Part 2” is scheduled to be released on November 26, 2025.
Watch the trailer below.