He already knows a thing or two about how to run the show as a mean ol' dictator. But at least Jeff Goldblum didn’t have to sing while presiding as the Grandmaster over Sakaar's gladiatorial bread and circuses in Thor: Ragnarok. Now the versatile king of comedic deadpan is reportedly warming his pipes for a role far from the Marvel and Jurassic Park worlds that's firmly in the land of musical fantasy, suiting up as the Wizard — as in, the mighty Wizard of Oz — in Universal Pictures’ upcoming pair of Wicked films.
Variety reports that Goldblum “is in final talks” for the role as the man behind the curtain in the two-movie Wicked adaptation helmed by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu. The films themselves represent an expanded retelling of the iconic 2003 Broadway musical of the same name, which itself is based on author Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
The Wizard might’ve been a shrinking little string-puller in MGM’s extravagant 1939 Oscar-winning feature film (which is based, of course, on author L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). But as a prequel, Wicked gives him a deeper backstory, fusing his despotic destiny with that of daughter Elphaba (the eventual Wicked Witch of the West) and her ex-friend and roommate Galinda, who goes on to become the familiar Glinda the Good Witch from the older, canonical Oz stories.
Photo: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
Chu’s Wicked adaptation already has its musical leads, with mega-music star Ariana Grande in the role of Galinda and Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba. Jonathan Bailey (Bridgerton) reportedly will star as Elphaba’s love interest Prince Fiyero, with Goldblum’s Wizard holding court at the Emerald City with an iron hand... and presumably crooning out a magical number or two.
Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth respectively played Elphaba and Galinda in the Wicked Broadway musical, which Universal has spent the better part of 20 years attempting to develop as a feature film. Chu teased a sprawling spectacle when Wicked was revealed as a two-movie double feature earlier this year: “[W]e decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one Wicked movie, but TWO!!!! With more space, we can tell the story of Wicked as it was meant to be told while bringing even more depth and surprise to the journeys of these beloved characters.”
Slated to whisk in on a broom over consecutive Christmases, the first Wicked movie is set to premiere on Dec. 25 of 2024, followed a year afterward by the second and final film.
Looking for some fantasy content? Click here for our list of the best fantasy films available on Peacock.