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The witches have arrived in first look at Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo in big budget 'Wicked' adaptation

We're not in Kansas anymore, folks!

By Josh Weiss
Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande header GETTY

Director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) is most certainly not in Kansas anymore with a haunting first look at Cynthia Erivo (The Outsider) and Ariana Grande (Don't Look Up) in Universal Pictures' two-part adaptation of Wicked, which is currently in the middle of principal photography. "You weren’t told the whole story," Chu teased on Instagram alongside the sneak peek production stills. "What happens when you veer off the Yellow Brick Road?" 

Based upon the hit Broadway musical (itself adapted from the novel of the same name written by Gregory Maguire), the films will explore the origins of the Wicked Witch of the West, who began life in the wondrous land of Oz as a green-skinned outcast by the name of Elphaba (played by Erivo). Grande co-stars as Glinda, Elphaba's best friend and future guide to young Dorothy.

RELATED: Watch: From 'Wizard of Oz' to 'Blair Witch' we rank the Top 3 witches in cinema

If you've read the book or seen the acclaimed stage performance, then you'll know that the so-called "Wicked Witch" wasn't all that wicked, but the unfortunate victim of a highly successful smear campaign overseen by the Wizard. And speaking of the sinister man behind the curtain, Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic World Dominion) has been tapped to play the most famous resident of the Emerald City.

The ensemble cast also includes the talents of recent Oscar-winner Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Jonathan Bailey (Bridgerton), Ethan Slater (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live), Bronwyn James (Lockwood & Co.), Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman), Colin Michael Carmichael (Black Mirror), and relative newcomers Marissa Bode and Aaron Teoh.

"We're going to have Oz, and you're going to be in this crazy world, and you're going to revisit this innocent place and you're going to see that it's not as innocent as it had been in the past. But you're also going to see that the relationship between these two women [Elphaba and Glinda] is more real than ever, that we're going to be that close to them," Chu told Collider in June 2021. "We're going to root for them to try to get into that school or when one crosses the other. You're going to hate the other one at some point. You're going to want them to make up at another point, and you're going to feel when they separate. That's the most important thing. The spectacle? That's the easy part, we can hire a lot of people to do that. It's those little moments... that's what's going to make that."

Wicked: Part One will ride a twister onto the big screen Nov. 27, 2024. Part Two is slated for release on Dec. 25, 2025.

Suddenly in the mood for some Oz-universe fun? Head on over to Peacock and check out The Steam Engines of Oz starring Ron Perlman, William Shatner, and Julianne Hough.