Stephen Schwartz explains why Wicked movie will be in two parts

Stephen Schwartz has shared an update on the long-awaited Wicked movie.

Director Jon M Chu recently announced that the film adaptation of the hit stage musical will be released in two separate instalments.

Starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in the lead roles of Elphaba and Glinda, the first part is due for release in cinemas in December 2024 with the second following December 2025.

Composer Stephen Schwartz has explained more on the decision in The Schwartz Scene Newsletter, revealing: “The truth is we tried for some time to make it one movie, even if it had to be one very long movie. But we kept running into two problems.

“The first is that even as a very long single movie, it required us cutting or omitting things that we wanted to include and that we think fans of the show and the story will appreciate.

“Secondly, we found it very difficult to get past ‘Defying Gravity’ without a break. That song is written specifically to bring a curtain down, and whatever scene to follow it without a break just seemed hugely anti-climactic.

“So, for these two reasons, plus the excitement of doing something that’s never been done before with a musical, we have decided to do two movies.

“Of course, when it’s all done, if it doesn’t work that way, we’ll have to figure something out. But we strongly believe that this is what’s best for our story, our show, and our fans.”

Schwartz also shared of moving the story from stage to screen: “What we have discussed is that changes need to be ‘additive,’ to use [producer] Marc Platt’s term. They need to add something to the story or the characters. They can’t just be changes to do something different.

“I feel confident that by the time the movie is made, if we all continue to have the same degree of input, I could have a conversation with anyone who has a question about any of the changes made from the stage show and justify why I think it’s better for the movie.”

Based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked reveals the ‘true untold story’ behind the Wizard Of Oz and just what happened before Dorothy dropped in.

The musical has been running in both the West End and on Broadway for almost 20 years.

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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