Universal Pictures continues to dangle the long-developing Wicked movie in front of us, setting a new December 22, 2021 release date for the Broadway musical adaptation. The project was first announced back in 2012 with Oscar-nominated Billy Elliot and The Hours filmmaker Stephen Daldry directing and Winnie Holzman—who wrote the Broadway book—penning the screenplay alongside songwriter Stephen Schwartz. Since that time, however, movement has been slow-going.
Universal last year pulled Wicked off its proposed 2020 release date and replaced it with Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper’s curious Cats adaptation, starring Taylor Swift. That project is currently in production, and now it appears Universal is finally ready to get going on Wicked.
For those unaware, the story is both a prequel and sequel to The Wizard of Oz told from the point of view of witches Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (the Good Witch). Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth originated the lead roles on Broadway, and the show is packed with tremendous songs, an emotional story, and eye-popping set design. It’s ripe for a feature film adaptation if done the right way, so I suppose it’s a good sign that Universal has been taking its time.
It’ll be interesting to see who lands the two lead roles here. Marc Platt, who produced La La Land and Mary Poppins Returns, is onboard to produce the film, and Daldry—who also directed a lot of the Netflix series The Crown—certainly has experience with musicals having helmed both the film and Broadway versions of Billy Elliot.
Currently the only other films scheduled for December 22, 2021 are an untitled Disney live-action film and an untitled Warner Bros. animated film. Avatar 3 hits theaters the previous Friday, December 17th, but given the holiday timing, one imagines Wicked has the potential to be a massive box office hit here.
So yeah, here’s hoping this is a sign that the Wicked movie is finally, at long last, happening.