The prospect of a Wicked movie is one that’s been around for some time. An announcement that the Broadway musical would be adapted to the big screen was made all the way back in 2012, with The Hours and Billy Elliot filmmaker Stephen Daldry behind the camera and the author of the Broadway book Winnie Holzman writing the screenplay. Any progress since then, however, has been slow, to say the least.

Now finally we have more solid details, with Universal Pictures having confirmed a release date for December 22, 2021.

In favour of Cats

The Oz franchise has always held a fond place in our hearts, from the original Wizard of Oz classic to the ‘80s Disney sequel to 2013's Oz the Great and Powerful. In fact, Oz has been everywhere in popular culture, such as books, games like the online casino slot game, and a series of original novels.

Since Wicked took Broadway by storm, it was only a matter of time before an adaption was in the cards. However, all has not run smoothly. Just last year, the proposed 2020 release date for Wicked was scrapped in favour of another adaption, Cats. The movie version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical will be released on December 20. However, while Cats is now in production, it appears as though Universal is finally ready to get behind Wicked.

In case you don't know the story, Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and is centred around Galinda (the Good Witch) and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West). Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel starred in the Broadway show, which is full of fantastic songs, stunning set design, and an emotional plotline. Menzel, who won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Elphaba, is probably best known in the show for her performance of the song "Defying Gravity".

If done correctly, Wicked should make for a fantastic film adaptation, so perhaps it's a good thing that Universal chose not to rush the project.

Cast yet to be announced

We'll have to wait and see who will be cast in the two main roles. Producer of Mary Poppins Returns and La La Land, Marc Platt, is on board, and director Daldry, who has also helmed much of the Netflix series The Crown, has experience in musicals, having directed both the stage and screen versions of Billy Elliot. Stephen Schwartz (Godspell), who wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway hit, will be composing the soundtrack for the movie.

As of now, the only other movies released on the same date as Wicked are an untitled animated film from Warner Brothers and an untitled live-action flick from Disney. The previous week sees the release of Avatar 3 but seeing as it will be the festive season, there will certainly be room for Wicked to make its mark.

A trio of Tonys

The musical, which has won three Tony Awards in total, was adapted by Winnie Holzman from a book written by Gregory Maguire. Marc Platt also produced the stage version, along with Universal Stage Productions, David Stone, Jon B. Platt, and the Araca Group. The big-screen version of Wicked is expected to feature two new songs.

Last year, Wicked surpassed A Chorus Line and now ranks among the top six longest-running Broadway musicals ever, grossing an impressive $1.3bn in the past 15 years. It’s also second only behind The Lion King when it comes to the highest-grossing shows in Broadway historyWicked has been produced in Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and in London's West End.