“Wicked” being split into two films has always been a controversial move, particularly since the stage show is only roughly two and a half hours long (minus intermission). Stephen Schwartz, who penned the songs for the original Broadway musical, has tried to justify this decision in the past, stating that while “Defying Gravity” works great in the original show at the end of the first act, anything that came after it in a movie would feel “anticlimactic.” Producer Marc Platt further tried to justify the decision in an interview with Vanity Fair timed to coincide with the Super Bowl trailer:
“We didn’t want to end up making one four-hour movie and then cutting out songs. We want to satisfy the fans of the musical. Film allows you to create a place and a time — a university like Shiz, an extraordinary Emerald City governor’s mansion. There’s so much more to explore.”
Hiding the fact that “Wicked” is two films makes sense for the trailer: audiences are hesitant to pay for only half a story. We saw this when “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” performed weaker than anticipated at the box office just last year, spurring Paramount to drop “Part One” for its release on Paramount+ and retitle its follow-up. However, that wasn’t the case for “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” which hid any indication it was the first half of a two-parter in its marketing (as did “Dune”).
Creatively, I’m not convinced this split is a great idea either. The “Wicked” films will include brand-new songs and story material to fill out their runtime, which sounds an awful lot like Disney turning one of its tightly-paced 90-minute animated classics into a bloated two-hour-plus live-action affair. Hopefully, I’ll be proven wrong about that.
“Wicked: Part One” hits theaters on November 27, 2024, with “Part Two” following in 2025.