Double, double toil and trouble: ‘Wicked’ will be split into two movies

A split image of two women posing in formal attire with their hands on their hips
Cynthia Erivo, left, and Ariana Grande will star as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, in the film adaptation of “Wicked.”
(Evan Agostini, left; Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

“Wicked” director Jon M. Chu is through accepting limits. He’s expanding his big-screen take on the hit musical into two movies.

In a “special Wicked update” shared Tuesday on social media, the filmmaker revealed that, after trying to condense the complex narrative of the stage production into a single film, he has instead decided to release the adaptation in two parts.

“Thank you for all the support these past several months in anticipation of the WICKED movie,” Chu wrote. “We have so many exciting things to share but for now I’m giving you one... or two, rather.


“Here’s what happened: 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.”

The process of cutting songs or omitting characters, he explained, “began to feel like fatal compromises” that wouldn’t do the source material justice. The stage production of “Wicked” — which has been on Broadway for nearly 20 years — runs for about two hours and 45 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.

“We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one WICKED movie but TWO!!!!” Chu continued.

“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.”

The heroine of the blockbuster musical ‘Wicked,’ who is othered because of her skin color, has been primarily played by white actors since 2003.

In November, the “Crazy Rich Asians” and “In the Heights” director cast singer-actors Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo in the lead roles of Glinda and Elphaba, respectively. As the bubbly good witch, Grande will lend her vocals to the fan-favorite “Wicked” song “Popular,” while Erivo will tackle showstoppers “The Wizard and I” and “Defying Gravity” as the misunderstood sorceress.

“Cynthia, Ariana, and I — and all of the cast and crew — pledge to create nothing less than an experience that honors its foundation for all the fans who’ve waited for this movie, and to offer a thrilling, fantastical world full of dynamic characters that invites in those who are unfamiliar,” Chu said in Tuesday’s statement.

“So get ready, because WICKED is finally coming to you on successive Christmas holidays beginning December 2024. Until then, I will be keeping you up to date throughout the rehearsals, the shoot and even editing. Here. We. Go.”