The man who is known for his work on movies such as ‘The Fly’, ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Independence Day’ among many others, is bringing his talents to the two ‘Wicked’ movies that Jon M. Chu is conjuring up based on the highly successful Broadway stage show, itself adapted from Gregory Maguire’s bestselling novel reimagining the 1947 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
Variety is reporting that Goldblum will be taking the role of the Wizard of Oz, who (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the stage show, read the book or seen the movie is revealed to be Oscar Zoroaster Diggs, a very human conman who uses trickery and machinery to rule the city of Oz and control people.
Maguire’s book, and the stage show created by writer Winnie Holzman and composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz, takes place before and during the time Dorothy lands in Oz. The main focus is on young witches Galinda (who will go on to be known as Glinda the Good) and Elphaba, fated to be called the Wicked Witch of the West.
Elphaba comes from a troubled home and, with her deep green complexion is treated as something of an outsider at Shiz University. Yet she forms an unlikely – and, initially, unwilling – friendship with Galinda, the most popular girl at the college.
Together, they chart very different journeys through the land of Oz, which is changing all around them. Animals, once sentient and important members of society, are reduced to basic creatures. The small-statured Munchkins are steadily being more oppressed.
Galinda rises in popularity and political influence, but Elphaba, who speaks out against what is happening, is shunned and, when she shows her true magical powers, hated.
Chu is directing the two movies – while one was planned originally, he and the creative team (which includes Holzman and Schwartz) have realized they need two to do the story justice. “We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one ‘Wicked’ movie but two!” Chu wrote in a statement as part of the announcement. “With more space, we can tell the story of ‘Wicked’ as it was meant to be told while bringing even more depth and surprise to the journeys for these beloved characters.”
Ariana Grande is playing Glinda, while Cynthia Erivo is Elphaba. ‘Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey, meanwhile, will be Fieryo. The Big Man on campus at Shizz, he’s a party animal who prefers having a good time to thinking and gets engaged to Glinda. But his true feelings for Elphaba surface and he helps her to escape, ending up captured by the Wizard’s guards, and tortured. A spell Elphaba casts to try to save him instead — spoiler alert! — transforms him into the scarecrow we know from the movie.
The two movies are set to be released at Christmas in 2024 and 2025.