The Wicked Movie Musical Has Cast Its Two Leads, So It's Time To Get Excited

Hollywood has been trying to make a movie version of Wicked for a crazy long time. The Broadway show premiered back in 2003, and there have been efforts pretty much ever since to bring it to the big screen – but all attempts have failed. Well, now fans can start to get legitimately excited, as it seems that the latest incarnation is actually going to make it into the production phase. What provides this confidence? The fact that Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo have been officially cast to play Galinda and Elphaba in the production.

This news was announced by director Jon M. Chu himself, who signed on to helm the Wicked movie earlier this year. You can check out his message on Twitter below, which also seemingly features pictures of Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo receiving the news that they have been cast:

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With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked is an adaptation of the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, and is a spin on the classic tale The Wizard Of Oz. Unlike the version of the story that everybody knows, which is told from the perspective of Dorothy Gale, the musical focuses on the relationship between the witches in the story. Elphaba is the so-called Wicked Witch Of The West, and Galinda is eventually known as Glinda, The Good Witch.

Playing the lead roles, Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo have some pretty massive shoes to fill, as Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel respectively had their roles in the original Broadway production and earned near universal acclaim (Menzel won a Tony Award for her performance in 2004).  They must have demonstrated something special to Jon M. Chu to get the parts, however, so there is plenty of reason for musical fans to be excited. 

Wicked is being developed at Universal Pictures, but sadly a release date has not yet been announced. Obviously that's typically useful information when it comes to trying to get a sense of a project's production schedule – but this casting news is certainly huge. If the movie can get the rest of its cast together before the end of 2021, it seems very likely that filming could stay on track to begin in the first half of next year – and if that happens, 2023 seems very possible (which would be great, since that would also mark the 20th anniversary of the original show. The project still has some key roles to fill, including The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Fiyero, Madame Morrible, Nessarose, Boq, and Doctor Dillamond.

Stay tuned for more updates about the development of Wicked, and to discover all of the movies that are set on the calendar for the next couple years, check out the 2022 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.