A film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Wicked has officially been confirmed. 

Universal Pictures will release the film during the Christmas season on 22 December, 2021, Variety reports. The film will be directed by Billy Elliot‘s Stephen Daldry and produced by La La Land‘s Marc E Platt, the latter having produced the original Broadway version. 

The musical, adapted from Gregory Maguire’s novel, won three Tony Awards and was created by Winnie Holzman and Stephen Schwartz, who will collaborate on the film’s screenplay. It’s expected to feature two new songs.

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The story serves as a prequel to L Frank Baum’s classic 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, adapted into the 1939 musical, and traces the unexpected origins of the Wicked Witch of the West.

It surpassed A Chorus Line last year to become the sixth-longest Broadway musical of all time and has grossed $1.3bn over the past 15 years. 

Wicked will face tough competition, however, as Universal has set it to open five days after the release of Avatar 3, while also going up against an unannounced Disney live-action film and an untitled Warner Bros animated film. 

No cast members have been announced. The original production starred Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda and Idina Menzel as Elphaba; it’s unknown whether they may return in some capacity for the project. 

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