This story has been updated to reflect a statement from composer Stephen Schwartz.
Breathe a sigh of relief, Ozzers. You can continue eagerly anticipating the upcoming two-part big screen Wicked movie while still supporting the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Director Jon M. Chu tweeted July 19 that when the SAG-AFTRA strike started July 13, there were just days of Wicked filming left before wrapping. But Chu expects filming to finish quickly once the strike is over and the release dates to remain as they have been announced.
"It's been very painful to put a halt to it all but we will be back!," writes Chu. "And we will finish properly strong when the time is right." The director goes on to indicate that he will be spending the strike starting the editing process. "[I]n the meantime I'm excited to excavate what we have shot for the past year here in Oz."
The first part of the movie musical is set to hit theatres Thanksgiving 2024, with Wicked Part Two: For Good following November 26, 2025.
In an interview with Variety, Wicked's composer Stephen Schwartz says there was 10 days of filming left. At the same time, he expressed support for SAG-AFTRA and WGA, saying, "I’m not a WGA member, but I think what they are asking for is legitimate and justified. Same for SAG. It’s just stuff that has to be addressed. I totally think they are in the right. So therefore I can’t be too angry about the inconvenience of a strike on my particular project,” he said. “The good news for us is that we’ve been shooting for almost eight months. So they’ve got a lot. And that means there’s stuff to work on."
Adapted from the long-running Broadway hit, the two-part screen version of Wicked will star Tony winner Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba and pop star (and Broadway alum) Ariana Grande as Glinda. West End Company Olivier winner and Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey will star as Fiyero, and SpongeBob SquarePants star Ethan Slater will be Boq.
Also in the cast are 2023 Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, Jeff Goldblum as The Wizard, and newcomer Marissa Bode as Nessarose, the first wheelchair-using actor in the musical's history to take on the role. Stage and screen star Keala Settle, SNL's Bowen Yang, Bronwyn James, Aaron Teoh, and Colin Michael Carmichael will play roles new to the musical's screen version, with Settle as Miss Coddle, Carmichael as Professor Nikidik, and Yang, James, and Teoh as Shiz students Pfannee, ShenShen, and Avaric, respectively. Yang recently revealed in an appearance on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live that the role of Doctor Dillamond has not yet been cast, with a puppeteer filling in during filming.
The screen adaptation, which will include new songs by Stephen Schwartz, is being helmed by In the Heights screen director Jon M. Chu. Wicked book writer Winnie Holzman has penned the screenplay, and Tony winner Paul Tazewell is designing costumes.
Wicked, injecting a new backstory onto the classic tale The Wizard of Oz, debuted on Broadway in 2003 and continues to be an audience favorite at the Gershwin Theatre. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, the musical features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. The original cast included Tony winners Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively. The musical has subsequently been performed in more than 100 cities across 16 countries, and, in April, surpassed Cats to become the fourth longest-running production in Broadway history.
The show won 2004 Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical (Menzel), Best Costume Design (Susan Hilferty), and Best Scenic Design (Eugene Lee).