Fans of the hit Broadway show Wicked who have been awaiting the long-anticipated film adaptation will need to wait even longer, as Universal has pushed back production yet again on this beloved tale. Filming was to begin in Atlanta in March 2022, but now the start of production has been pushed back even farther to June and even further away from Atlanta, now being filmed in the U.K. The delay is thought to be brought on in order to allow filmmakers more time to get the newly-built Sky Studios in Elstree up and running. Wicked, in fact, will be the very first production to use the new stages at the studio.
This delay has been the latest in what has been snag after snag for the incredibly popular musical turned movie. Universal has been in development on Wicked since 2004, only a year after it made its huge Broadway debut which launched to generate more than $1 billion in ticket sales.
When Collider spoke with director Jon M. Chu, he expanded on how directing In The Heights prepared him to tackle another movie musical:
“We’re in the beginning stages of Wicked. However, I think the philosophy of what musicals mean to me personally now that I have actually made a movie musical… you know, there’s theory about what movie musicals mean to me as being a watcher of movie musicals. Now that I’ve gone through it, what really has hit me is the power of music and why musicals exist in the first place when words aren’t sufficient. Nowadays, words really aren’t sufficient for what we’re going through. So for me, it’s finding the truth of each song and working our way inside out of why that exists.”
The musical is an adaptation of the novel by the same name, written by Gregory Maguire, which tells the backstory to the Wizard of Oz. The story tells of the unlikely beginnings of the friendship between Elphaba, also known as the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda the Good Witch. It also sheds some light on many of the Wizard of Oz’s characters such as the Cowardly Lion and the Tinman, and how they got to where they were when Dorothy landed in Oz. Stephen Schwartz, who is known for Broadway hits such as Pippin and Godspell as well as his work in movies like Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway production while working with a book by Winnie Holzman, who is known for her work on My So-Called Life and Jerry Maguire.
While fans may be bummed that the production has been pushed back even more on this sure-to-be hit film, at least we can crank up the original cast recording of Wicked and jam out to the vocals of Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel.