Ding Dong! In the first trailer for “Wicked,” the evil witch is alive.
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 film musical. And the first look at the film, which premiered during Sunday’s Super Bowl, unfolds to the familiar strains of “Defying Gravity,” the show’s signature anthem.
“Don’t be afraid,” Glinda from Grande Erivos reassures Elphaba.
“I’m not afraid,” Erivo replies in a steely voice. “It is the wizard who should be afraid of me.”
This is clearly a different Oz than the one Dorthy Gale encountered. “Wicked” is based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, which inspired the acclaimed Broadway musical of the same name. The film precedes Dorothy’s arrival in the magical world and tells the legend of the 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 Pan; and Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard of Oz.
Goldblum’s idiosyncratic voice can also be heard in the visually lavish trailer, with his clever wizard noting, “The best way to bring people together is to give them a really good enemy.” And it seems like Elphaba is the villain he is hopes to exploit.
“Something just takes control of me and when it happens, 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 for production last year, it became impossible to fit the story of ‘Wicked’ into a single film without doing real damage to it,” says Chu said in 2022.
“When we tried to cut songs or cut characters, those decisions felt 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 the way it was meant to be told, while adding even more depth and surprise to the journeys of these beloved characters.”
Composer Stephen Schwartz, songwriter of “Wicked,” explained that the closing number, “Defying Gravity,” was a big reason the film had to be shot in two parts. In a 2022 newsletter, Schwartz wrote, “We found it very difficult to get past ‘Defying Gravity’ without an intermission.” This song was written specifically to raise the curtain, and the scene that followed without an intermission simply felt extremely anticlimactic. “
“Wicked” wasn’t the only film that took advantage of the Super Bowl’s large audience to give fans a first look. A trailer for Deadpool 3 was also released, featuring Ryan Reynolds as Merc With a Mouth and Hugh Jackman in his role as Wolverine.
The first part of Chu’s “Wicked” is scheduled to hit theaters on November 27, 2024. “Part Two” is scheduled for November 26, 2025.
Check out the trailer below.