Wicked: everything you need to know including cast, story and release date

Get your ruby red slippers (and broomsticks) at the ready because musical sensation Wicked is coming to the big-screen later this year. This lavishly staged Broadway adaptation sports an all-star cast as it unveils the tragic backstory behind one of popular culture's most iconic villains.

Scroll down to find out more including cast, story and release date.

What is the story of Wicked?

Wicked spins the untold story of the witches of Oz. Elphaba is a young woman who's misunderstood because of her unusual green skin and has yet to discover her true power. Glinda, a popular young woman, is gilded by privilege and ambition and has yet to discover her true heart. 

The two meet 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 fulfill their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.  

So is Wicked essentially a musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz?

Yes, this is the story of how the Wicked Witch was not, in fact, so wicked at first, but manipulated into unleashing her darker side. The trailer for Wicked (see below) indicates that the characters of the Wizard of Oz and Madame Morrible take some of the responsibility for unleashing Elphaba's evil potential, while Glinda Upland looks on and presumably wishes she could have done more to stop the transformation.

Who stars in Wicked?

Wicked stars Cynthia Erivo (Widows; Bad Times at the El Royale) as Elphaba Thropp, a young woman born with green skin who later becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. Erivo comes from a stage musical background, having starred in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple from 2015 to 2017. Her role yielded the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

Pop icon Ariana Grande voices the blonde-haired, butter-wouldn't-melt Glinda Upland, a popular young woman who later becomes Glinda the Good Witch. Grande began her musical career at the age of just 15 when she starred in musical 13. Since then, she has given rise to multiple best-selling albums, a feverish level of global fandom and numerous accolades including two Grammy Awards, one Brit Award, two Billboard Music Awards, three American Music Awards, nine MTV Video Music Awards, and 36 Guinness World Records.

The rest of the cast includes Michelle Yeoh (Oscar winner for Everything Everywhere All At Once) as Madame Morrible, the Dean of Shiz University and the singular Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park; Independence Day) as the younger iteration of The Wizard of Oz.

Bridgerton's Jonathan Bailey plays Fiyero Tigelaar, a Winkie prince who meets Elphaba and Glinda at school, and Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage voices Doctor Dillamond, a Goat and History professor at Shiz University.

Who directs Wicked?

Wicked is directed by Jon M. Chu who landed a critical hit with the 2018 comedy-drama Crazy Rich Asians. The film was lauded for its authentic representation of Asian culture, a space so often neglected by mainstream Hollywood.

In 2021, Chu brought Lin-Manuel Miranda adaptation In the Heights to the screen in blaze of colour, vigour and, again, astute cultural representation. So he's evidently no stranger to putting stage musicals on the big screen.

"Oz is a giant world that has been interpreted many times and the L. Frank Baum novel has such a beautiful design to it, with these pops of colors within it and it has this art deco feel to it as well," Chu tells GamesRadar. "I needed to build a team that understood that what we wanted to do was immerse the audience in this world where I felt like I'd never been in Oz."

Who composes the music for Wicked?

Wicked is adapted from composer Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's musical, which in turn was based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire.

Wicked made its Broadway debut in 2003. The original production was nominated for ten Tony Awards in 2004, including Best Musical, Book, Orchestrations, Original Score, Choreography, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scenic Design while receiving two nominations for Best Actress – for Idina Menzel (later to voice Elsa in Disney's smash-hit Frozen) and Kristin Chenoweth.

Schwartz is a highly renowned theatre composer and lyricist whose roster of acclaimed works includes Disney movies Pocahontas (1995) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), both of which were collaborations with Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken. Schwartz also collaborated with the esteemed Hans Zimmer for the score to the 1998 DreamWorks animation The Prince of Egypt. 

When is Wicked released in the UK?

Wicked is released in the UK on November 27th.

Will there be a Wicked: Part Two?

Yes, Wicked: Part Two is set for release in November 2025.

Is there a trailer for Wicked?

Watch the trailer for Wicked below.