There’s Too Much Wickedness for Just One Film, Apparently

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Previously, I claimed that all news stories about Wicked have to begin with the words, “Good news!” Now, I’m a little less sure. Last fall, the adaptation of the blockbuster musical found its witches, casting Ariana Grande as good witch Glinda and Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, the eventual Wicked Witch of the West. Now, though, the filmmakers have found that the story is too big for a single film. So, director John M. Chu announced on Twitter this morning, “We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one WICKED movie but TWO!!!!”

When you take out the intermission, Wicked is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, and—please don’t kill me—has more than a few filler songs. (Please, I never need to hear “Something Bad” again.) It does, admittedly, have a very clear narrative break; it’s hard to imagine the first movie ending anywhere but “Defying Gravity.”

But does it really need to be two films? Here’s the rest of Chu’s statement:

Special #Wicked Movie Announcement… sent from my OzPhone: pic.twitter.com/4qPpvVD4rR

— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) April 26, 2022

The thing is… Wicked, Gregory Maguire’s book, could absolutely fill two movies. Wicked, the musical, feels like it might get stretched a little thin. But maybe it’ll work! Maybe Fiyero and Nessarose will get fuller characters! We’ll have to wait quite a while to find out, though; no cast members beyond Grande and Erivo have been announced yet, and we’re still a year and a half out from the first film: Wicked part one arrives in theaters on Christmas 2024.

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