The Wicked trailer premiered at the Super Bowl: magical or saccharin?

After much anticipation, the long-awaited Wicked trailer, which you can watch below, premiered at the Super Bowl. The movie, based on the beloved Broadway show, (which was based on the much darker novel by Gregory Maguire), will be split into two parts. Part One will be released on November 27. The first trailer, a minute-long teaser, shows clips of Elphaba and G[a]linda, played, respectively, by Cythia Erivo and Ariana Grande, set to a sampling of “Defying Gravity.” It also reveals Michelle Yeoh as Madam Morrible, Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, and Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard. SpongeBob Sidepiece (Ethan Slater) is not in it, but I didn’t expect to see Boq or Nessa’s characters in a teaser for the first half of the musical, as their storylines are a big catalyst in Act II.

The first teaser trailer for the movie musical Wicked: Part One debuted during Super Bowl Sunday, showing the first footage of Cynthia Erivo as the witchy Elphaba and Ariana Grande as bubbly Glinda.

Directed by Jon M. Chu, who also brought In the Heights from stage to screen in 2021, Wicked will be a two-part adaptation of Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s Tony-winning Broadway show. Part Two is set to be released Nov. 26, 2025.

A prequel to the events of The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is the origin story of “a green-skinned woman,” the film’s logline states, who “becomes the Wicked Witch of the West.” Its source material is Gregory Maguire’s hit 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Joining Erivo, 37, as that green-skinned heroine and Grande, 30, as her schoolmate-turned-best-friend is Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard, Marissa Bode as Nessarose, Bowen Yang as Pfannee, Keala Settle as Miss Coddle, Ethan Slater as Boq, and Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible.

“This movie has everything: giant musical numbers, big action pieces,” Chu told the audience at CinemaCon 2023 in April, introducing first-look footage. “And using a classic story you all know, The Wizard of Oz. At the end of the day, it’s actually not about those things. It’s about change and [how] it’s necessary for things to get better.”

The musical’s original Broadway cast included Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda and Idina Menzel as Elphaba. The latter actress earned one of the production’s three Tony Awards, for leading actress in a musical.

In 2022 around the time it was filming, Erivo told Entertainment Tonight that the Wicked film adaptation would be “unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”

She continued, “I think we’re going to enjoy the magic of it. We’re going to try and put our own spin on what we know already and show you a story about two women [who] are sisters.”.

[From People]

The teaser itself is fine, I guess. I don’t know, guys. I’m curious to hear what y’all think. While I have no doubt that Erivo will be a spectacular Elphaba – she sounds great in the trailer! – and that Yeoh will bring it as Madam M, I fully admit that I am skeptical about Ariana’s Glinda. It’s not the acting, it’s the vocals and general lack of enunciation. We didn’t get much from her in the teaser, so I will refrain from judgment until we see a full trailer. I just don’t want another Russell Crowe situation. But yeah, I don’t know how I feel about this whole thing overall. Also, I had completely forgotten that it would be two parts. I’m guessing that they split the movies up to correspond with each act?

And now, if I may, let me drop a story about that one time that my friend and I went into NYC on a snow day and got reasonably-priced orchestra tickets to see Wicked. It was Friday, January 7, 2005. That performance also happened to be the last full show Idina Menzel did before falling through the trap door during the following performance, a day before she was supposed to end her run as the OG Elphaba. We also stood outside of the stage door and met Joey McIntyre. It blows my mind that this happened almost 20 years ago. What I mean to say here is that I have tentatively high hopes that this movie will be good.

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70 Responses to “The Wicked trailer premiered at the Super Bowl: magical or saccharin?”

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  1. B says:

    A) magical
    B) saccharin
    C) irrevocably tainted by two people’s spectacular levels of messiness and poor judgment?

    I feel sorry for the rest of the cast and production.

    • TigerMcQueen says:

      Very much C for me.

    • Kate says:

      Totally C for me as well, compounded by the fact that this absolutely never needed to be split into two movies. EDIT YOUR G_DD_MN movies people.

      • agirlandherdogs says:

        I just don’t understand how a show that has run for decades as a 2 1/2 hour show couldn’t be made in one movie.

    • Whyforthelove says:

      C to the highest power. I could not agree more. Feel awful for the non messy cast

    • Tate says:

      Most definitely C for me.

    • Sass says:

      C for me, too. Wicked has been a favorite novel of mine since I was 19. I’ve never seen the musical despite it being a runaway hit. I was interested in seeing this and it still honestly looks worthwhile but I can’t get past the ick of Grande and Slater.

      • Whyforthelove says:

        The musical is outstanding. Passing on this movie though

      • BeanieBean says:

        I ‘read’ the book, too–listened to it on a long, multi-state drive for work–and remember thinking, ‘I don’t know about this’ but I was intrigued enough to put the second CD in, and still thought, ‘I don’t know about this’, but remained intrigued & by the third CD was totally hooked. That is such a great book! Although for the longest time I was so confused how they could have made this into a musical that children would attend. I mean, there was an orgy in it! And ah, I see, they ‘lightened’ it. I’m definitely going to watch the movie, ignoring little pipsqueak Glinda; I’m all in for Elphaba!

    • Mario says:

      80% “C” for me. If I see it (and I’ve seen the stage musical three times, once on Broadway) it will be on a streamer after it’s included in the price.

      The other 20% is splitting it into two parts. The stage show is 2.5 hours, if I recall (and that is with the intermission, I believe) so that means the two halves would be under 1 hour and 10 minutes each. That’s WAY to short for a film, so I suspect they plan to add ~20 minutes to each act. A new song each, to be sure (gotta chase that Oscar!) and some unnecessary padding to boot, all while neither Act feels like a satisfying or complete enough story on its own to justify that much of a wait in-between.

      I’m just not here for a longer, try-hardier, hardware-seeking version of a near perfect musical experience, and with the Ariana-Spongebob Sidepiece factor, I’m okay living in a world where I never see this, er, these.

    • Mustang Sally says:

      Exactly like Don’t Worry Darling. The antics of 2 people tainted the entire project and the other people involved were collateral damage.

  2. JanetDR says:

    I loved how the musical turned the whole story into something completely different! I’ve got some medium-high hopes I will enjoy the movie as much.

  3. seaflower says:

    I found Ariana vapid in the trailer, even for Glinda

    • Becks1 says:

      Based on the trailer alone, she looks like the weakest link. But I am trying to reserve judgement bc I think my opinion is based on how messy she’s been lately.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Yeah ITA plus am not convinced she has the pipes to pull off the songs without it being auto tuned to hell and back.

      • Nic919 says:

        The dyed eyebrows don’t help.

        But honestly I just don’t think she has the skills to match what Chenowith did with the role.

        At least Erivo will do a good job with this, but then again she has a Broadway background. That makes all the difference in the world.

    • Cessily says:

      I actually read the book, and was a little shocked to see kids attending the Broadway show. If you read the book you will understand perfectly. I was lucky enough to have seen the original cast preform this play on Broadway so I don’t think anyone can top that. I will watch but I’m not expecting much, kind of like watching a tv show based off of a hit movie is what I’m expecting.

    • BeanieBean says:

      ‘…even for Glinda’. I always, always, preferred the Wicked Witch of the West in the original.
      Far more interesting than Glinda.

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      I did, too.

  4. Becks1 says:

    I thought for a teaser/trailer, it looked really good – I would have liked to have heard more of the songs, but for a first teaser, I liked it. It looked magical and like another world, which is what you want from Wicked, obviously.

    I get why its two parts but I also wish it wasn’t. Or if it was going to be two parts, that they were released closer together – maybe November and then again in March or something.

    • Nic919 says:

      It smacks of greed and not good for the story. The musical is about 3 hours and they could cover all the important elements in about that time.

  5. Digital Unicorn says:

    I will see this and it looks good but not feeling Ariana as Galinda (esp as she’s been shagging Boq who’s obsessed with her in the musical/book – creepy).

  6. Jais says:

    I can’t tell if it’ll be good. At least it’s brighter than some of the stills. Maybe Ariana will wow me even though I’m very meh about her.

  7. M says:

    I was so distracted by the bad hair and eyebrows on the donut licker. It’s all I can see.

    • FancyPants says:

      Is that what it is? I couldn’t put my finger on it, but as I was watching, the thought “they should have picked somebody prettier to be Glinda” popped into my head.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Blonde just doesn’t go with her skin tone, makes her look ill.

  8. WiththeAmerican says:

    Ariana looks very different when not able to control exactly how she’s photographed. I’m not sure I can get over my issues with her as a person to watch this movie, but I’m not not huge on musicals unless done by Baz L.

  9. Steph says:

    AG looks so bad in this. I’ve never seen or read Wicked. Is Glenda supposed to be sick?

  10. StillDouchesOfCambridge says:

    Trailer is good. But it’s a no for me because of ariana and her last song about how she doesn’t care. Oh well. I feel bad for the rest of the cast

    Also, 2005 was not 20 years ago, it was about 5 years ago…

  11. Bumblebee says:

    Saw the musical 10+ years ago. Absolutely loved it. Still remember the flying monkeys climbing all over the frames at the back of the stage. Don’t know if I’m brave enough to watch the movie. Will it be a hate watch?

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      I’m finding the trailer fascinating. Love Yeoh and Cynthia. Let’s be honest. 99.9% of people cannot name the actress that played Glinda in The Wizard of Oz. At least, hopefully, 50% could name Margaret Hamilton. Both were great in that movie. FYI, Billie Burke, actress that played Glinda.

      I kind of don’t care about Ariana’s messy personal situation. Things happen. It’s really messy and she allowed it. grrrr Yeoh & Cynthia are brilliant actresses. I will watch for them.

  12. SAS says:

    It’s bizarre that Elphaba is sinking into the background in each of the still shots. It’s such an antithesis to the character. If you showed it to someone not familiar with the story, it really signals Glinda as the main character? So that’s my peeve.

    Will retain further judgment until the full trailer.

  13. Mia4s says:

    Why do the visuals suck? Seriously. I saw someone say it looks like a Skittles commercial and now I cannot unsee. I am decidedly underwhelmed.

  14. Elsa says:

    Ariana ruins it for me. I will probably watch it when it streams.

    • Robert Phillips says:

      Because to get anything greenlit you have to have a name attached. The upper upper management at the studios are killing all the creativity.

      • Jais says:

        That’s true however there are other big names out there. That said, Ariana comes in with a built in fan base so I get it even if don’t love it.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        @JAIS, I think that’s why Disney cast Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast, even though she can’t act or sing, and ended up being dog-awful in it. But the movie made a lot of money, so that ploy does work.

  15. Raspin says:

    Two parts? That’s a decision.

  16. Jemimaleopard says:

    I think Cynthia Erivo is going to kill it but I’m not sold on Grande either. That one second of Jonathan Bailey tho …. I’’m sat!!

    • SarahLee says:

      Ariana has the ability to do this role. She’s a musical theatre kid and her lack of enunciation is all in her pop music. That being said, WILL she do what she needs to do in this role? Time will tell on that one, but if she mumbles and fails to enunciate, that’s an acting choice that the director let her get away with.

  17. Shady Lady says:

    In the trailer, Ariana seems to be wearing the same expression she has in Cat and Jack and that was unbearable then. I really hope she doesnt ruin it.

  18. sevenblue says:

    I remember people were discussing that Ariana’s enunciation would be a problem and she recorded her singing “somewhere over the rainbow”. She sounded good and actually I understood every word. lol. I don’t know if I can share a link. Let me try:

  19. Lucía says:

    Yeah, no. I’m too distracted by Ariana’s…everything. Not in a good way.

  20. Cheshire Sass says:

    I LOVED the Broadway show, so I’m hoping the the movie will be at least 70% comparable, if not better. Actors are messy beings a lot of the time, whether it’s published or not, so I’m not concerned about the love life affecting production. AG has been outed as a hot mess and not very nice person ever since she was found licking donuts and putting them back – So her current behavior tracks, and still she gets jobs – So, we’ll see.

    • Justjj says:

      It’s the eyebrows, the messiness, the little girl aesthetic even though she’s a grown woman in her 30s, her voice has a very tinny quality too. I can’t get behind this trailer. She sucks the air out of every scene and seemingly uses it for that breathy, whispery, nasally, baby voice. I can’t. It’s unfortunate that she cheated with SpongeBob Sidepiece and ruined this movie. I will probably watch it when it comes out for free on streaming.

      • Raven says:

        Have you never seen or heard Kristin Chenoweth the original Glinda talk ?

      • Justjj says:

        I’ve never seen Wicked or heard the original cast. Is it too dark for early elementary age kids? I was going to maybe see it next month.

      • Cheshire Sass says:

        My daughter was a young teen ager when we saw it, she loved it, I think it depends on the kids. I would be more concerned that they would not be able to sit still for the length of the show. I just saw something that said it’s not suitable for children under seven – so I guess it depends on the age/maturity level.

      • Kittenmom says:

        I took my daughter to see it at aged 9. She loved it and was totally absorbed. I’m not sure I would have brought her before that age though. It was quite long and rather dark.

      • Raven says:

        My sister went with her school years ago when she was 8 and she loved it. I agree with CHESHIRE SASS it really based on your child. I would say check out some videos on the musical on YouTube .

        Kristin Chenoweth is in her mid 50’s and has a natural baby voice that’s high-pitched, and she is tiny.

  21. Raven says:

    Based on the teaser trailer, the movie looks good.

  22. Lau says:

    That Russell Crowe’s rendition of Stars is tragic. Still quite shocked that it made it into the final film.

  23. Flamingo says:

    I went to Wicked years and years ago, loved the show. I had high hopes for the Trailer. It looks better than Cats at the least (I hated Cats, but my mom loved it). So, no shade to anyone that liked that movie.

    I didn’t know it was going to be two movies. I hope that means it’s really about expanding the story and not a cash grab.

    I bet it will be fantastic in IMAX, looking forward to it.

  24. Grant says:

    IDK, I’m actually kind of excited for this? I thought the trailer looked really good. And I don’t really care that much about Wicked…

    It’s a strange decision to split the movie in two though.

  25. JP says:

    The waifish look on Ariana is so over the top that it’s distracting.

  26. Latte says:

    Looks like it will be good despite Ariana. SpongeBob Sidepiece had many cackling with my coffee lol. 😂

  27. Rnot says:

    There’s just something very uncomfortable about casting a black actress and painting her green to play opposite someone with such a history of blackfishing.

  28. Shells_Bells says:

    Even though I loved the musical. Ana Gasteyer (spelling?) was Elphaba and when I saw it and I was impressed… never knew she could sing like that.

    I’m going to pass on this movie for a 2 big reasons:
    -Ariana – Her inability to enunciate makes me crazy. I just can’t believe that she hasn’t had tons of voice coaching that could have corrected that! And she seems overall horribly miscast (and horrible in general)
    -2 parts? With a year in between? Terrible move. Too much commitment required from me.

  29. QuiteContrary says:

    I loved the Broadway musical so much. This trailer looks so meh.

    Ariana Grande has too small a voice for this. Kristin Chenoweth is also tiny, physically, but she has a big voice.

  30. Fig says:

    I do think the weakest part is that the movie is in two parts. When has the general public ever asked for MORE musicals?