‘Wicked’ Gets Blasted by Anti-Woke Mob After First Trailer Premieres

in Movies & TV

Elphaba Thropp (Cynthia Erivo) in the 'Wicked' trailer

Credit: Universal Pictures

Somewhere over the rainbow, there’s a world in which movie trailers don’t cause whirlwinds of controversy. But we dream.

You’d think a highly anticipated movie like Wicked (2024), the big-screen adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name (based on the 1995 book of the same name), would bring nothing but joy and excitement. But not these days. What a world, what a world.

The Wicked trailer, which dropped alongside many others during Sunday’s Super Bowl, has already amassed 3.1M views on YouTube (via the Universal Pictures channel). But as it’s 2024 and all, it has also swiftly found itself at the receiving end of the “anti-woke mob.”

Check out the official trailer below, per Universal Pictures:

It seems the decision to cast British actress and singer Cynthia Erivo as the green-skinned Elphaba Thropp, who goes on to become the iconic Wicked Witch of the West — the main antagonist of L Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1990) and the film adaptation The Wizard of Oz (1939) — has led to many accusing Wicked of being “woke.”

But criticizing the casting of actors of color into roles previously played by White actors/portrayed as White is nothing new.

The Witch's hat in the 'Wicked' trailer
Credit: Universal Pictures

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Last year, Disney’s The Little Mermaid (2023) came under fire for featuring African-American actress Halle Bailey in the titular role. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) was also at the receiving end of online sewage for portraying news reporter April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri) as African-American.

Sadly, these are just two of many examples in recent years where films and television shows have been blasted for diversifying their cast line-ups. But in the case of Wicked, critics of the trailer are missing the point.

Glinda Upland (Ariana Grande) in the 'Wicked' trailer
Credit: Universal Pictures

Related: Is ‘Wicked’ a Prequel or Reboot? First Official Trailer Revealed

Whether it’s the 1995 book by Gregory Maguire or the musical adaptation, or, in this case, the new film adaptation, Wicked centers on someone who’s “different,” addressing themes of discrimination and acceptance, which undoubtedly make the story an allegory for racial prejudice. Nevertheless, many X users have called the film “woke.” Here are some examples to give you an idea of what’s being said online.

Warning: Some language may offend.

One user seems to be able to predict the future, saying that the film is “already a woke failure”:

Wicked witch movie is already a woke failure

This user says the film looks “horrible” and “woke”:

That Wicked movie looks HORRIBLE and WOKE!!!

Another says that “these woke movies are starting to write themselves” (do they know it’s based on a book and a stage play?):

Making a black chick, the green, wicked witch, or the west who’s in control of a bunch of flying monkeys these woke movies are starting to write themselves

Fortunately, not everyone is up in arms about the film.

This person is “baffled by the number of people saying that the Wicked movie is woke for casting Cynthia Erivo, a Black woman in the role of Elphaba, a green witch!”:

I’m baffled by the number of people saying that the #WickedMovie is woke for casting Cynthia Erivo a black woman in the role Elphaba a green witch! I’m sorry…What? I’ve heard some bad takes on modern movies, but this is next level. Proof, the word woke has lost its meaning!

Another calls out the critics for having not read the novel or seen the musical, adding that “complaints about the casting of the actress in the lead role sounds extremely racist”:

So the same ol’ grifters are calling “Wicked” woke? I guess they never read the very different novel or saw the Broadway musical this movie is based on (which has been running for 20 years) Complaints about the casting of the actress in the lead role sounds extremely racist too.

Wicked stars Cynthia Erivo (Elphaba Thropp), Ariana Grande (Glinda Upland), Michelle Yeoh (Madame Morrible), Jeff Goldblum (the Wonderful Wizard of Oz), Jonathan Bailey (Fiyero Tigelaar), Ethan Slater (Boq), Marissa Bode (Nessarose Thropp), Bowen Yang (Pfannee), Bronwyn James (ShenShen), and Keala Settle (Miss Coddle).

The film is the first of two parts and is scheduled for release on November 27, 2024.

What are your thoughts on the new Wicked trailer? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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