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Everything You Need to Know About the Movie Adaptation of "Popular" Musical Wicked

The Broadway show is headed to the big screen this fall with Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo in the lead roles.

By James Grebey
Ariana Grande Talks Eternal Sunshine and Wicked, Teases Penn Badgley Music Video Cameo (Extended)

A “Popular” Broadway show is making the jump from the stage to the big screen later this year. Wicked, the first of a two-part film adaptation of the play of the same name, will premiere this fall in theaters. Directed by Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu and starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande, Wicked seems poised to cast a spell on audiences. 

Before Wicked defies gravity this November, here’s everything you need to know about the movie and its cast. 

When Does Wicked Premiere?

Wicked, directed by Jon M. Chu, hits theaters in the United States on November 22, 2024. 

RELATED: Return to Oz With the Fantastical First Look at Wicked, Starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande

Wicked will only cover the first half of the story. A sequel, Wicked Part Two, will hit theaters one year later, currently set to premiere on November 26, 2025. Both movies started filming at the same time, so Part Two is already well into production — filming is complete, and the cast celebrated being all finished earlier this year.

What Is Wicked About?

Wicked is an adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical of the same name, which opened on Broadway in 2003. The play is itself an adaptation of Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which serves as a prequel to L. Frank Baum's novel The Wizard of Oz (1900) and its iconic film adaptation, 1939's The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland.

In short, Wicked is an origin story for Elphaba, aka The Wicked Witch of the West, and Galinda, aka Glinda the Good. It reveals how the green-skinned, socially maligned Elphaba, a talented student at the magical school Shiz University, went from an underdog protagonist to a so-called Wicked Witch — and it asks the important question of whether or not she’s actually so bad ...

As the official trailer (below) and the musical question: "Are people born wicked? Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?"

Is the Wicked Movie a Musical?

The movie, like the stage adaptation, is a musical. During its original Broadway run, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth played Elphaba and Galinda, respectively, to much acclaim. In the film, those roles will be played by Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande.

RELATED: Cynthia Erivo's Magnetic "Edelweiss" Cover Is Julie Andrews-Approved

Who Is In Wicked’s Cast?

A scene from Wicked featuring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo

Cynthia Erivo, who won a Tony and a Grammy for her work in the Broadway play The Color Purple and was nominated for an Oscar for the movie Harriet, dons the green makeup to play Elphaba in the movie. Some of her other credits include the crime drama Widows, and HBO’s The Outsider, an adaptation of a Stephen King horror mystery novel. 

Pop star Ariana Grande plays Galinda. Best known as the Grammy-winning artist behind albums like Dangerous Woman and Thank U, Next, Grande has acting experience too, having played Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon series Victorious and the spin-off Sam & Cat. She was also a Coach on Season 21 of The Voice

Michelle Yeoh, who won an Oscar for her lead role in 2022’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, plays Madame Morrible, the headmistress of Shiz University where Elphaba and Galinda study and first become friends. Jeff Goldblum plays The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the charlatan who acts as though he’s a real magician.

RELATED: Kristin Chenoweth & Ariana Grande Are Perfect Glindas Duetting "Over The Rainbow"

Jonathan Bailey, an English stage actor known for his on-screen roles in Bridgerton and Fellow Travelers, plays Fiyero Tigelaar, a carefree prince who goes to school with Elphaba and Galinda. Ethan Slater, known for his role in the Broadway SpongeBob musical, plays Boq, a Munchkin who is in love with Galinda. (Slater and Grande are dating in real life.)

Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang, Marissa Bode, Bronwyn James, and Keala Settle will also star.

Wicked premieres exclusively in theaters on November 22, 2024.