First 'Wicked' Set Photos Ignite Controversy

First 'Wicked' Set Photos Ignite Controversy

BYJoan SummersApr 17, 2023

It's easy to tell nobody went to Coachella this year, considering everyone has the time to get upset about a movie that's a year and a half away.

Director Jon M. Chu shared the first production stills from the upcoming Wicked movie, which stars Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande as Elphaba and Glinda respectively. In the caption, he wrote: "Green & Pink. It always starts with green and pink. #WickedMovie coming to you in 2024." The internet went into a tizzy over the photos, considering the musical's massive audience and the casts' respective fanbases, before things quickly turned to controversy.

Take a quick peek at the photos and one can see they look quite dark. This would make sense, as they are teaser images, and there are still over two months left of production on the film. While I don't think either are necessarily camera RAW stills — the file type popular amongst moviemakers these days — they are definitely not color graded to the standards of the final project just yet, nor are they necessarily indicative of what the film might look like.

This didn't stop the internet from spinning out over the supposed quality of the film. Many claimed nefarious executives had intentionally made the whole film dark and gloomy because that's just how Hollywood does things these days. To back this up, they cited the upcoming The Little Mermaid live-action adaption, which is another movie that hasn't come out yet. Some even claimed he had made the film look like the "MCU." That is, surprisingly, an insult these days, one which almost brings tears of joy to my eyes.

The controversy got so out of hand, however, that Chu had to eventually step in. We live in an age of extremely literal people, and so Chu laid it out for the film's rabid fans in the most literal way he could.

Shockingly, even award winning author Roxane Gay was caught in the crossfire when she offered her two cents: "Shame. I was excited for this but they don’t have a lighting budget. This is really infuriating. LIGHT YOUR ENTERTAINMENT SO IT CAN BE SEEN." Chu, in response, said "Don’t worry we still have a year and half to show you our colors! Trust me, plenty of colors in Oz. ;) we still have 70 days to shoot left."

It's worth noting that Chu's previous films include Crazy Rich Asians and the recent In the Heights, both notable for their use of vivid imagery and eye-catching fashion to aid in his storytelling capabilities. Sadly, that might be too many IMDB links to click for this particular outrage cycle.

Photo via Eric Liebowitz/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal