Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo and Grammy winner Ariana Grande lead the stellar cast of Wicked, bringing the Broadway musical’s magic to the big screen in the form of two movies. The first part is slated for a November 2024 release while the second half will arrive in theaters in December 2025. Wicked takes direct inspiration from the musical play of the same name that premiered in 2003 and was an adaptation of the Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. That novel was, of course, inspired by L. Frank Baum’s classic Wizard of Oz books.
Set years before Dorothy’s journey in the mystical land of Oz, Wicked traces the origins of Elphaba (the so-called Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda (a.k.a. Glinda the Good Witch) as they clash over their differing perspectives on the Wizard’s corrupt government. Directed by Jon M. Chu (In the Heights), the two-part adaptation of Wicked features a talented ensemble filling those roles and others, including an iconic Oscar winner, a pop singer, a Bridgerton star, a current Saturday Night Live cast member, and many musical veterans.
Cynthia Erivo As Elphaba Thropp
Stage, film, and TV actress Cynthia Erivo leads the Wicked cast as the eponymous antiheroine Elphaba Thropp. Starting out at Shiz University with Galinda, she is often picked on by others for her green complexion. Elphaba eventually becomes a freedom fighter to revolt against the corrupt Wizard of Oz. However, her tragic character arc paints her as the villainous Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba is a particularly sensitive character, and Erivo is bound to explore her gray areas with her dramatic screen presence. The fact that she’s also a gifted singer makes her a perfect fit to lead the Broadway adaptation.
In theater, Erivo is best known for starring as Celine Harris in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple from 2015 to 2017. Her Tony-winning performance captured Celine’s initial lack of self-confidence and eventual growth as a courageous woman. Erivo transitioned to films with credits like Widows, in which she played Belle, a babysitter who joins an elaborate heist plan, and Bad Times at the El Royale where she plays soul singer Darlene Sweet. She also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for portraying American abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Harriet and an Emmy nomination for portraying the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin in the second season of Genius.
Ariana Grande As Glinda Upland
Galinda Upland is beautiful, popular, and on her way to eventually becoming Glinda the Good Witch. She is Elphaba’s roommate at Shiz University and despite some initial enmity, she shares a close friendship with her. However, Glinda’s opposing ideologies over good and evil and a common love interest between the two lead to bad blood. Co-leading the Wicked cast as the good witch is pop star Ariana Grande, who broke out as a teen idol when she starred in the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious as the energetic yet oblivious sophomore Cat Valentine. She went on to become a two-time Grammy-winning singer.
While Grande’s music credentials are common knowledge with chart-topping albums like My Everything and Dangerous Woman, Wicked will mark the first time she leads a movie. She previously guest-starred in an episode of Kidding as the singing fairy Piccola Grande, an obvious parody of herself. Grande was also one of the high-profile stars cast in Don’t Look Up, in which she played pop singer Riley Bina and contributed vocals to the movie’s title track.
Jonathan Bailey As Fiyero Tigelaar
Fiyero Tigelaar is a Winkie prince who at a point in time also has a romantic relationship with Elphaba. However, this is an ill-fated romance as it eventually causes trouble for the affable yet naive royal. Beyond his good looks, Fiyero is also a tragic character as he’s pressured by his royal duties and social demands. He is played by Wicked movie cast member Jonathan Bailey, a Laurence Olivier Award-winning theater actor. Bailey is also beloved among Bridgerton fans as the strong-willed aristocrat Anthony Bridgerton. He previously played artist Leonardo da Vinci in the alternate history series Leonardo and ambitious news reporter Olly Stevens in the first season of Broadchurch.
Jeff Goldblum As The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wizard is an antagonist in Wicked, harboring corrupt plans to take over Oz. He relies on his charm to coerce people into doing his dirty deeds. For instance, he even temporarily manages to get Elphaba under his influence. Jeff Goldblum plays the “Wonderful” Wizard, a character reminiscent of the actor’s sly, smooth-talking celestial ruler Grandmaster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jeff Goldblum’s fan-favorite performances include those of his “nerdy scientist” roles such as the sarcastic mathematician Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park movies and the gifted inventor-turned-monster Seth Brundle in The Fly. He is also a regular Wes Anderson collaborator, appearing in three of his movies.
Ethan Slater As Boq
Boq is a munchkin who falls in love with Glinda (and later becomes the Tin Man). He’s a gullible and harmless character who laughably fails at his efforts to woo his romantic interest. The submissive Boq also has his own tragic story, as he is at the receiving end of Nessarose’s anger. Ethan Slater is part of the Wicked movie cast as Boq, a role that requires the playful nature evoked in his Tony-nominated performance as SpongeBob SquarePants in the character’s eponymous Broadway musical. Slater also portrayed actor Joel Grey in the limited series Fosse/Verdon and Steven in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 5.
Michelle Yeoh As Madame Morrible
Madame Morrible doubles as the Headmistress of Shiz University and the Press Secretary to Oz. The stern authority figure is as clever and corrupt as the Wizard, and the first to exploit Elphaba’s powers. Michelle Yeoh plays the villainous character. Recipient of the 2023 Academy Award for Best Actress for playing the dimension-traveling middle-aged mother Evelyn Quan Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar win was historic as she became the first woman of Chinese descent honored in this category. She’s also known as James Bond’s skilled fellow agent Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies and valiant warrior Yu Shu Lien in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Wicked marks Michelle Yeoh’s second collaboration with Jon M. Chu as she previously played the domineering socialite Eleanor Sung-Young in Crazy Rich Asians. While she has been a mainstay in the action and drama genres, her inclusion in the Wicked cast will showcase Yeoh’s versatility in the musical format. Yeoh is also a fantasy genre regular with some of her most memorable roles including the immortal sorceress Zi Yuan in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Shang-Chi’s fighting mentor Ying Nan in Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings, Starfleet officer Philippa Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery, and sword-elf Scían in The Witcher: Blood Origin.
Marissa Bode As Nessarose Thropp
Marissa Bode plays Elphaba’s younger sister Nessarose Thropp. Elphaba resents Nessarose for her beauty even though Nessarose herself goes down a dark path like her elder sibling. A manipulative and mean-spirited individual, she is largely a morally gray character in the story. Bode is a newcomer compared to the rest of the Wicked cast, having only appeared in two short films before the musical adaptation. Bode’s casting is praiseworthy as one of the things that the Wicked movie gets right, as she is the first wheelchair user to play the role in the history of the story, faithful to how the character was written.
Bowen Yang As Pfannee
Pfannee is one of Glinda’s college friends and can be best described as snobby and superficial. Pfanne befriends Glinda during her earliest years at Shiz University and imparts some of her negative personality traits upon her. The character is played in the Wicked movie cast by Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang. For his involvement in the sketch comedy show’s multiple skits, Yang has garnered multiple Emmy nominations for writing and acting. Yang also earned raves for playing the cynical romantic Howie in the Pride & Prejudice-inspired movie Fire Island with his character being the modern equivalent of the Jane Austen characters Jane Bennet and Charlotte Lucas.
Wicked Supporting Cast & Characters
Bronwyn James as ShenShen – Another one of Glinda’s friends from college, ShenShen is proud of her aristocratic origins and usually harbors a catty attitude. She is played by Bronwyn James, who previously appeared as good-spirited sex worker Fanny Lambert in Harlots and the responsible paranormal investigator Sergeant Wade in Lockwood & Co.
Keala Settle as Miss Coddle – The Wicked cast includes the new character Miss Coddle, who was created for the movie. Before her Wicked casting, Keala Settle played the bearded lady Lettie Lutz in The Greatest Showman, providing her voice for the Oscar-nominated track “This Is Me.” She is also a familiar face on Broadway, having earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations.
Aaron Teoh as Avaric Tenmeadows – Prince Fiyero’s close friend Avaric is played by Aaron Teoh, who previously had an uncredited role as an LEP officer in Artemis Fowl.
Colin Michael Carmichael as Doctor Nikidik – When it comes to the faculty at Shiz University, the Wicked cast features Colin Michael Carmichael as the life science teacher Nikidik. Carmichael played the reality-show-obsessed civilian Kai in the Black Mirror episode “Fifteen Million Merits” and a service station clerk in the movie Hot Fuzz.