I’m Happy The Wicked Trailer Isn’t Hiding That It’s A Musical, But I Am Worried It Is Hiding Something Else

 Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in Wicked.
Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in Wicked.

With the recent trend of movie musicals like Wonka and Mean Girls dead set on hiding the fact that they were actually musicals in their trailers, I was worried that Wicked would be doing the same thing. It wasn’t looking great after the Super Bowl teaser was released, but now that we have a full trailer that includes clips of Ariana Grande actually singing “Popular” on the screen instead of just serving as background music like Cythnia Erivo’s “Defying Gravity,” my fears have subsided greatly. Director Jon M. Chu and his team might not be hiding the fact that the movie is a musical, but after watching the recent trailer, I am afraid they’re hiding something else.

What we know about Wicked has remained limited since the project was first announced, with Chu and the cast adamant on keeping things as spoiler-free as possible for the Tony-Award-winning musical adaptations. However, one thing that has always been publicly spoken about is that the movie would be split into two parts. Part one is set to be released in November as part of the 2024 movie schedule, with part two's release getting shifted from Christmas 2025 to November 2025.

The two-part flick isn’t news to anyone who has been religiously following updates about this movie. What is shocking is that the recent trailer failed to address the fact that only part of the story will be told when fans head to theaters later this year. In fact, none of the recent marketing has mentioned the fact that the movie will be told in two parts.

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Ariana Grande's head on Cynthia Erivo's shoulder in Wicked
Ariana Grande's head on Cynthia Erivo's shoulder in Wicked

Is Splitting Wicked Into Two Movies A Good Thing? Cynthia Erivo Shares Thoughts

Splitting movies into two parts based on long source material has become a trend in Hollywood over the last few decades. The Harry Potter film franchise was one of the first novel adaptations to be released in two films, and recently, the sci-fi hit Dune has followed suit. In both of these cases, however, the split was clearly and concisely advertised in marketing campaigns, with the films being toted as part one or part two.

That doesn’t seem to be the case with the recent string of trailers for Wicked. It’s peculiar that a movie whose marketing has been so detailed that Erivo and Grande have been appearing at red-carpet events in green and pink would fail to include the important detail of the split in its recent trailers. It’s so strange that fans have started to wonder if Cho and Universal Pictures changed their minds and have decided to release the complete story come November.

It’s not even just the lack of “part one” being included on the posters or in the trailer that has fans thinking that, but also some of the material shown in these campaigns. In fact, the confusion first began after the Super Bowl teaser included a clip of Dorthoy, who never appears on stage in the theater production but does make an off-stage appearance late into the second act. Small details like that have fans of the musical confused about what they’re going to see on the big screen later this year.

Given that both parts of Wicked were shot concurrently, it is possible that the studio has decided to edit down everything so that the story fits into one movie. However, that would come at the cost of plot points and hit songs, which would not fare well with the musical’s devoted fanbase; just look at how Mean Girls fans reacted to the cutting of songs.

The bottom line is that things will get messy if Wicked doesn’t start clearly advertising that what’s coming is only part one of the story. I can only imagine the outrage that will come from non-musical fans when they realize they paid money to see an incomplete story that they weren’t warned about and now have to wait an entire year to see the conclusion.

Hopefully as November approaches, this marketing mishap will be fixed. If not, we’ll all be going into theaters on November 27, unsure what to expect.