Ever since the Wicked movie musical was announced, fervent fans of the long-running stage musical have been excitedly awaiting a glimpse of the Jon M. Chu-directed adaptation. Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande are set to star as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, joined by a star-studded cast that includes Jonathan Bailey, Michelle Yeoh, Jeff Goldblum, Bowen Yang, and Ethan Slater. The minute-long teaser was released shortly after Super Bowl LVIII started and garnered an enthusiastic reaction from social media users.
There wasn’t much dialogue in the trailer, but there was one musical moment in particular that prompted a conversation on social media. At the end of the teaser trailer, we can hear Erivo’s ending riff of one of the show’s most well-known numbers, “Defying Gravity.” Her rendition introduces some slight changes to the version popularized by Idina Menzel, and the new take divided fans of the musical. “Cynthia's Defying Gravity climax had me shouting in this apartment,” one person wrote on X.
“This looks incredible, although I’m not sure how I feel about Cynthia’s run at the end of Defying Gravity,” another person wrote.
The excitement for the trailer was palpable on social media as people posted their reactions.
Shortly after the teaser trailer was released, Vanity Fair released the first interview with Erivo and Grande, where they talked about the making of the movie. Producer Marc Platt spoke to the decision to cut the movie into two parts. “We didn’t want to end up making one four-hour movie and then cutting out songs,” he said. “We want to satisfy the fans of the musical.” Some fans opined that the musical's better songs are in its first half.
Wicked is beloved among the theater community and one of the most successful musicals ever to hit the Great White Way, so any changes are sure to inspire conversation. The original show made its debut on Broadway in 2003, and last year, the show celebrated its 20th anniversary. Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel originated the roles of Glinda and Elphaba. The story, adapted from Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, essentially serves as a prequel to the Wicked Witch of the West’s story in The Wizard of Oz and follows the two witches who become friends and later rivals.
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