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Two-Part ‘Wicked’ Movie May Become A Musical Dilemma

Jon M. Chu’s decision to split the Wicked movie into two parts created a whirlwind of remarks from the musical world. This decision is a new concept that will indeed come with huge obstacles. The movie adaptation will be the first time the act will appear on the big screen. It will follow Gregory Maguire’s novel rather than L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz.

The Wicked Witch

Glinda Elphaba Wicked

In this play, Wicked tells the story of Glinda and the citizens of Oz celebrating Elphaba’s demise in the opening act, “No One Mourns the Wicked.” Musicals usually do not pause at any act or scene; it flows chronologically until it arrives at the conclusion. The finale will bring back the audience to the beginning act. Thus, splitting the story does not make any sense at all.

On Two-Part Movie Adaptation

Chu has already directed another stage musical, In the Heights, which was both a success and a relief to the fans. But, unlike Wicked, the previous film was only a one-part. Usually, screenplay writers try to condense a two or three-act play into a single movie. Each act contains its own beginning, middle, and end parts, so it is inevitable to omit some scenes that might affect the core of the story.

Wicked Play

Musical fans refer to Chu’s past successful stage adaptation. In the Heights included a scene that is not originally found in the musical, although it was the screenwriter’s idea (Quiara Alegría Hudes). Maguire will be co-writing the upcoming Wicked film, and the original music composer Steven Schwartz will contribute as well.

Still, creating a split movie for a single-stage play adaptation is a risky decision. The creative team can include as many song numbers and scenes, but it won’t give the same effect as a single, full movie. The team might need to reconsider this option before diving straight into production.