You heard it here first, Tumblr.
As many of you have already figured out, this was a hoax. I’m an art student, and those clips were something I put together in 6 hours in Photoshop (those of you mindlessly raging about “Flash” can simmer down now). I apologize for upsetting some of you. I absolutely love Wicked, and the prospect of an animated adaptation would get me excited too. I wasn’t trying to troll the fans, or make fun of them for getting worked up over a lie. There was a reason I tried to pass off these images as real and not as a fan project.
And the reason is, I wanted to show the interest for an animated Wicked production is there, and that it’s strong.
Not terribly long ago, a Disney artist posted a fan-made animatic for Defying Gravity. I was completely blown away when I saw it. I only had the most superficial knowledge of Wicked before that video came along, and when it did I was hooked. Not only did I fall in love with the musical, but I gained a new appreciation of what American feature animation could be. As one commenter put it, it was like Disney meets Dragon Ball Z…heartfelt sentiment meets thrilling action. I wanted to see a film like that! So I crossed my fingers and hoped the girl’s animatic would raise some eyebrows at Universal.
Apparently, it didn’t.
While an actual live-action movie adaptation for Wicked has been in some form of development for years, the word was always that the original cast members were “too old” to reprise their roles. But in animation, there really isn’t such a thing as too old. Frank Welker has been playing Fred- a teenager- from the Scooby-Doo franchise since 1969. Voice actors in their 40s, 50s, 60s, even 90s (shameless June Foray shoutout) play characters younger than them all the time. So in my eyes, and in the eyes of many fans, animation was the perfect solution to what the powers-that-be saw as the “age” problem.
Not only that, but the musical itself is reminiscent of the animated movies we all grew up on. It has that magic, that optimism, that tongue-and-cheek humor, even a similar kind of pacing…but with a darker edge, a more political twist. Imagine how subversive it would be if this story were packaged and sold like a traditional cartoon musical, but then surprised moviegoers with its content and message. It would be a striking statement, and one that would reach a very wide audience. And on top of things you wouldn’t have to worry about the special effects being believable!
A Wicked adaptation would benefit greatly from hand-drawn animation. You could even say it needs it. And truth be told, hand-drawn animation needs Wicked.
Presently, every animated movie that comes out in America is 3D animated. While the majority of television cartoons are still hand-drawn because the animation is done overseas, 3D CG dominates the big screen. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with 3D animated movies. It is, after all, one of many animation techniques that could be used for a film based on the needs of the story being told. But 3D animation seems to be the only technique American executives are interested in pursuing. According to them, hand-drawn is too expensive and too time consuming…any movie made with this technique would need to be a blockbuster hit to make the profits of a 3D animated film. And, well…the last few hand drawn films were not blockbuster hits.
But Wicked could be.
It has a built-in audience. It has a solid story, beloved characters, and well-known songs. And it would mitigate almost all of the risk normally involved with a hand-drawn film. If one of the major studios invested in a Wicked animated project, they wouldn’t have to worry about it paying off. It could be the project that makes audiences fall in love with hand-drawn animation again. It could be the project that wakes sleeping beauty once more.
So that’s why I did what I did. I needed to build a soapbox to give my piece from. I only hope that someone with the power to make this happen ends up seeing this. Because Wicked is the story that hand-drawn animation is waiting for, and it’s a story that needs to be heard by more people…and not everybody lives near a tour stop.