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Why ‘Wicked’ Was Split Into Two Movies, According to Stephen Schwartz

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The Big Picture

  • The Wicked film adaptations will be released in two parts due to the story’s complexity and length.
  • The director, Jon M. Chu, has experience with musicals and is well-prepared to handle the responsibility of working on the Wicked movies.
  • The plot revolves around the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda, played by Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande respectively, with the significant role of Fiyero played by Jonathan Bailey.


There’s still a long way to go until the Wicked film adaptations bring the magic of the Broadway classic to the big screen. However, the movie’s co-writer and music composer is confident in what the cinematic version of the legend will bring to audiences next year. One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the project was why Universal Pictures planned the musical as a two-part event. During a recent interview with Collider’s Arezou Amin, Stephen Schwartz explained why Wicked needed to be split into two parts, instead of telling the magical tale with a single movie:

Most of it has been shot. We ultimately decided to do two movies because we couldn’t get it all crammed into one movie without, we felt, really compromising the story. We thought no one wanted to sit for four hours and see one movie [laughs], so it got divided into two movies. But yeah, most of it has been shot. The actors’ strike, of course, meant that they couldn’t quite finish. Now that that’s settled, they’ll finish the principal photography for that. But our director, Jon Chu, has been editing for months.

Jon M. Chu, the filmmaker behind the upcoming adaptations, has plenty of experience with musicals, as he also directed the In The Heights movie that was released in the middle of the pandemic. Starring Anthony Ramos and Leslie Grace, the film featured complex dance sequences and colorful visuals that prove just how prepared Chu was to handle the responsibility of working on the Wicked movies. It won’t be long before viewers travel back to Oz, in a coming-of-age tale about two friends who grew up to become some of the most powerful people in their land.

Before she became the Wicked Witch of the West, Wicked introduces Elphaba (Cynthia Erivo) back when was an ordinary college student willing to learn anything she could about magic and make a good impression on her community. Fate would lead her to cross paths with Galinda (Ariana Grande), another student who focused on the more superficial aspects of life. Despite their differences, the two girls developed a very close friendship while they grew together, until an unpredictable factor got in their way.


Who Plays Fiyero in ‘Wicked’?

One of the most crucial roles in the plot of Wicked is Fiyero, a young man who is directly connected to Elphaba, Glinda and The Wizard of Oz. Jonathan Bailey will be in charge of bringing the role to life for the cinematic adaptations, as the fate of Oz is changed forever due to the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. Jeff Goldblum will also be a part of the cast, playing the Wonderful Wizard himself. In about a year, one of the biggest musicals in the history of Broadway will take flight on the big screen.

Wicked: Part One is currently scheduled to hit theaters on November 27, 2024. Until then, here’s everything you need to know about the movie. Stay tuned to Collider for updates.

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