‘Wicked’ Sends CinemaCon Over the Rainbow with First Footage

Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande, Michelle Yeoh, Jeff Goldblum, and "Bridgerton" breakout Jonathan Bailey star in Jon M. Chu's two-part musical epic.
Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande
Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande
Getty Images

Somewhere over the rainbow, two former college roommates battle it out as opposing witches.

The first footage for the highly anticipated “Wicked” movie musical debuted during 2023 CinemaCon. The footage was introduced by Universal chairman Donna Langley, who stressed that the footage on display was very much a work in progress and not “ready for the big screen.”

Cynthia Erivo stars as Elphaba, who later becomes known as the Wicked Witch of the West due to bad P.R. Ariana Grande embodies Glinda, dubbed the Good Witch after the duo’s personal falling out. We got to see the first shots of Erivo all in green as Elphaba, but it also shows the early renderings of the Emerald City, the Yellow Brick Road, flying monkeys and a glimpse of Dorothy. There was plenty of singing and dancing, and further the first moments of Erivo’s soaring rendition of “Defying Gravity.” Jon M. Chu appeared in a sizzle reel to discuss the scope of it, in which they said they built 9 million tulips and are building a whole world to complement the elaborate visual effects.

Jon M. Chu helms the two-part movie adaptation based on the iconic “Wizard of Oz” prequel Broadway show of the same name. Winnie Holzman, who earned a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical for her work on the original Broadway production of “Wicked,” returned to write the screenplay.

The ensemble cast includes Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard, Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Bailey, Adam James, Keala Settle, Bowen Yang, Bronwyn James, Ethan Slater, and Colin Michael Carmichael. Amanda Seyfried previously revealed that she auditioned to play Glinda before Grande was cast.

The first half of “Wicked” debuts Christmas Eve 2024, followed by the second half landing in theaters exactly one year later in 2025.

“We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one ‘Wicked’ movie but two!” Chu wrote in a 2022 Instagram post announcing the decision. “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.”

Chu earlier shared a first look at the sprawling production featuring lavish costumes and Technicolor sets.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.