It's been months since we received news out of Oz that Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo will portray Galinda and Elphaba, respectively, in the big screen adaptation of Wicked, and when it comes to the Wicked movie, no news is not always good news. (Universal Studios once dated the musical for 2019!) On Tuesday, director Jon M. Chu took to social media to deliver a promising — if unexpected — update: Wicked will be split into two movies.
"As we prepared this production over the last year, it became increasingly clear that it would be impossible to wrestle the story of Wicked into a single film without doing some real damage to it," Chu wrote. "As we tried to cut songs or trim characters, those decisions began to feel like fatal compromises to the source material that has entertained us all for so many years."
The source material here is the musical, with a book by Winnie Holzman and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, which is based on Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which is itself based on L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel and the Oscar-winning 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.
"We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one Wicked movie but TWO!!!!" Chu's post continues. "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 of these beloved characters."
Wicked: Part 1, as it were (though an official subtitle has yet to be announced), is slated to open in theaters in December 2024, with Wicked: Part 2 hitting theaters one year later for Christmas 2025.
If the movies splits at the act break, that means the first installment will include "Popular" and "Defying Gravity" while soundtrack-wise, the second film will have "No Good Deed" and "For Good."
See Chu's full announcement below.