When will Wicked be released in cinemas?

From stage to cinema, get all the key details of Elphaba’s big screen debut

Ariana Granda as Glinda in Wicked
Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo star in the big-screen version of Wicked. (Universal Pictures)

It’s been a long time coming but we’ll soon get to relive one of the most popular stage shows of all time on the big screen, as Wicked arrives in November.

Based on the Tony award-winning musical, which was itself based on author Gregory Maguire’s book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a cinema adaptation of this Wizard of Oz-set story has been gestating since way back in 2016.

Read more: The cursed production of The Wizard of Oz

After a stint in development hell where it was almost transformed into two different television takes, director Stephen Daldry originally signed on to direct a film adaptation in 2017 with a release date pencilled in for late 2019.

Production scheduling caused delays which were further hindered by the prolonged release date shuffling in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Eventually, Daldry bowed out and was replaced by Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Jon M. Chu, who wasted no time casting Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo as his leads.

What else can we expect from this hotly anticipated movie musical? Here’s everything we know about Wicked so far…

Ariana Granda as Glinda and Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba in Wicked
The film has been split into two parts, with the second set to arrive in 2025. (Universal Pictures)

Jon M. Chu’s Wicked will take you to Oz only in cinemas from Friday 22 November, five days earlier than its previously announced debut date of 27 November.

Eventually, Wicked will visit streaming services too but we don't have details of those release plans at present. The second part of the film, Wicked: Part Two, is set for release a year later, on 26 November 2025.

The full-length trailer for Wicked landed in May. It whisked us away to Oz where we met Elphaba and Glinda and saw the seeds of the tension at the centre of their relationship.

We also got glimpses of Jeff Goldblum’s all-powerful Wizard of Oz and Michelle Yeoh as magical headmistress Madame Morrible. Watch it below:

Before the trailer landed, a minute-long teaser made its debut during the 2024 Super Bowl in February:

Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba in Wicked
Wicked is based on the book that became a Tony-winning musical. (Universal Pictures)

Based on Maguire’s book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the plot of the original stage show sticks fairly closely to this title and follows Elphaba, the green-skinned heroine who ultimately becomes Oz’s notorious Wicked Witch.

Together with Glinda the Good Witch, the story chronicles the friendship of these two opposing magical beings while working itself around an appearance from Dorothy and her iconic Ruby Slippers and tracing Elphaba’s misunderstood fall to the dark side of Oz and unlikely redemption.

As per the film’s official synopsis, Wicked will introduce us to Elphaba and Glinda “as students at Shiz University in the fantastical Land of Oz and forge an unlikely but profound friendship. Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths.

“Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power, while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences on her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.”

Maguire’s book was adapted for the stage by dramatist and screenwriter Winnie Holzman and composer Stephen Schwartz, both of whom return to help shepherd the story into cinemas.

Ariana Granda as Glinda in Wicked
Cast and crew have teased that the two-part movie will surprise viewers. (Universal Pictures)

In April 2022, Chu, who previously spearheaded the musical movie In The Heights, revealed that the film would be split into two parts in order to do its story justice.

“As we prepared the production over the last year, it became impossible to wrestle the story of Wicked into a single film without doing some real damage to it,” Chu said in a statement.

“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. We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one Wicked movie but two!

“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 for these beloved characters.”

While the film is reported to stick closely to the familiar plot of the stage show, cast and crew have teased that the two-part movie will surprise viewers and also contain some new tracks composed by the show’s original songwriter.

“I can tell you that at least as of now there will be probably four new songs in the movie,” said Schwartz back in 2016.

Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero in Wicked
Jonathan Bailey plays Fiyero in the movie musical. (Universal Pictures)

Leading the way is Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba and musician-turned-actor Ariana Grande as Glinda, inheriting the roles made famous on stage by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, respectively.

Together, they’ll be joined by an ensemble cast that features Jeff Goldblum perfectly cast as the Wizard of Oz, Academy Award winner Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible and Saturday Night Live cast member Bowen Yang as one of Glinda’s college pals, Pfannee. Described as one half of a “conniving” duo, Yang will be joined by Harlots star Bronwyn James as ShenShen.

Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey joins the cast as handsome prince Fiyero Tigelaar while the star of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, Ethan Slater, will appear as Boq, a munchkin who's in love with Glinda.

Newcomer Marissa Bode makes her feature film debut as Elphaba’s favourite sister Nessarose, while The Greatest Showman’s Keala Settle will play Miss Coddle, a new character made especially for the film.

Wicked will be released on Friday 22 November, followed by Wicked: Part Two on 26 November 2025