The Witch makes a deal to lift the evil spell she placed on the Baker's household if they collect the items to help restore her beauty.
The Witch, rather than being truly evil, simply distrusts people and the world in general and tries to keep Rapunzel sheltered from it. In the play, Rapunzel is among those killed by the Giant, hinting that the Witch's eagerness to sacrifice Jack is partly due to her grief for her lost daughter. In the film, Rapunzel's fate is unknown, although the Witch still expresses strong grief from Rapunzel's departure.
Into the Woods
The Witch is first seen barging into the home of the Baker and his Wife, whom she lives next door to. She tells the couple that when the Baker was a young child, his father stole from her vegetable garden to feed his wife, who was expecting a second baby. She was then a beautiful young enchantress with a magic garden. But after the Baker's father stole her magic beans, she was cursed and turned into a hideous hag. As revenge, she takes the family's newborn daughter to raise as her own, naming her Rapunzel. She then curses the entire family, so the Baker would never have children of his own. She tells the baker and his wife that if they can find her a white cow, a red cape, a golden slipper, and yellow hair before the third midnight to come, then she can reverse her curse and will gift the couple with a child of their own. During the journey, the witch continually appears to intimidate the couple and rushes them to find the ingredients as fast as they can.
Meanwhile, as in the original fairy tale, the Witch raises Rapunzel locked in a tower, refusing to allow her outside. When she discovers Rapunzel has been visited by a Prince, she casts a mass of thorns on the Prince's path, causing him to lose his vision. The Witch then cuts off Rapunzel's hair and banishes her to an island in a snake-infested swamp.
After the Baker and his Wife finally find the right ingredients, the Witch returns to her former self and gifts the couple with a child. Soon after, a giant (who was the wife of the giant that Jack had killed earlier in the film) comes down to the ground and demands that the villagers hand over Jack, causing much destruction. The Witch's magic garden is destroyed, except for a few of the beans. She then attempts to reconcile with Rapunzel and warn her of the giant, but the girl, at first not recognizing her, refuses to return to her. The Witch tries to curse the Prince, only to discover that the potion took away her magic powers. The Prince, now knowing it was the Witch who blinded him, leaves with Rapunzel.
Eventually, only a small group, including the Witch, the Baker, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Jack are left. The Witch suggests that they hand Jack over to the giant, but the rest of the group refuse to do so. However, they soon start fighting over who is responsible for the Giant's presence, and soon they all turn on the Witch, deciding it is her fault for growing the magic beans in the first place. Hurt and fed up, the Witch gives up on the main characters and angerly accepts the blame. She then begins to hurl several magical beans into the ground, expecting more giants to invade the kingdom and her mother to curse her again with ugliness. Instead, her mother sucks her down into a tar pit to her presumed death, which the main characters then use to trap and kill the giant.
- Stephen Sondheim, the composer of the music for Into the Woods, wrote a song especially for Streep's character called She'll Be Back; however, the song was cut due to time constraints.
- In the original Broadway production, the Witch was portrayed by Bernadette Peters.
- In 2012 script readings held to convince executives to give the film the greenlight, Donna Murphy, voice of Tangled's Mother Gothel, would read for The Witch. She had previously auditioned for the part in the original Broadway production and eventually would play the character on stage for a 2012 revival.
Into the Woods