Wicked, Universal's adaptation of the massively successful Broadway musical set in the world of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, will be released in theaters on December 22, 2021.
The much-anticipated film will be directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott, The Hours) and produced by Marc Platt (La La Land, Legally Blonde). It's set to adapt the hugely successful 2003 Broadway musical, which itself is based on Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. The novel explores the Wicked Witch's side of events seen in Wizard of Oz and shows how she came to be known as the Wicked Witch. It isn't as clear-cut as you might expect, and before they were enemies Elphaba and Glinda formed a unique and genuine friendship.
Stephen Schwartz composed the addicting music and lyrics for the project, and you can check out the official description of the original novel below:
"When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil."
Universal had originally scheduled Wicked to open later this year, but opted to adapt Cats (based on the musical by Andrew Lloyed Webber of Phantom of the Opera fame) instead. That movie opens on December 20th.
Wicked, which has earned over $1.3 billion and is the sixth-longest-running musical ever on Broadway, will include two new songs in the film adaptation. The talent behind this film is hardly surprising; Wicked was produced on Broadway by Platt, Universal Stage Productions, the Araca Group, Jon B. Platt, and David Stone.
This year's crowded end-of-year deluge of blockbusters will apparently be the new normal rather than an aberration; Wicked will be released five days after Avatar 3. The Christmas 2021 release window also includes an untitled Disney film (although that could move to give Avatar more breathing room, since Disney will own Fox by then) and an untitled Warner Bros. animated feature.