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Wicked film adaptation still happening, even after being clawed away from 2019 release by Cats movie

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Sep 17, 2018, 1:43 PM EDT

Don't start mourning the wicked just yet. Hollywood's adaptation of Broadway's Wicked is still in the works, even after losing its December 2019 release date to a movie version of another beloved musical, Cats

While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the play's lyricist and composer, Stephen Schwartz, said:

“I will tell you 100 percent there will be a movie of Wicked and it won't be that far away but it won't be next year because we're still writing. Pre-production hasn't even begun, but that could start in the not-too-distant future."

Besides, the project's original Dec. 20, 2019 release was more of a placeholder than anything else. A cinematic version of Cats, a tale of felines living in a junkyard, will debut on that day instead. 

“That was always a fake date. There wasn't a prayer in hell,” Schwartz said, implying that a Wicked movie would never be ready by that date, anyway. 

Based on Gregory Maguires 1995 book of the same name, Wicked is a story told from the point of the Wicked Witch of the West, as she grows up in Oz. The central theme of the show is that history is written by the victors and that the Witch (real name: Elphaba) may not have been the purely evil character we first met in The Wizard of Oz

Schwartz is also working with legendary Disney composer Alan Menken on the soundtrack for the Enchanted sequel, which he revealed is currently titled Disenchanted. After the release of Matt Groening's Netflix series of a similar name, Disney may change the name in order to avoid confusion.