It’s long been rumoured that a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory prequel is in the works.
The 1971 original starring Gene Wilder as Wonka remains a classic 50 years on, and the Johnny Depp-led remake in 2005 allowed us a small glimpse into the chocolatier’s early life. According to a release from Warner Bros., Wonka will involve “a young Willy Wonka and his adventures prior to opening the world’s most famous chocolate factory”. The studio have also tipped the prequel for release on March 17, 2023.
Given Warner Bros. fairly vague description of the movie’s subject matter, we don’t know much for sure. But we can surmise that we might hope to see the story’s iconic – and problematic – Oompa Loompas, Wonka’s diminutive work force. The story behind Wonka employing the Oompa Loompas draws a striking resemblance to slavery, and it will be interesting to see how a new movie will answer the awkward question of their exact role in Wonka’s life.
According to reports from Collider, Tom Holland and Timothée Chalamet are Warner Bros. first choices for the role. It’s interesting to note that Holland bears a passing resemblance to Wilder, and Chalamet more obviously resembles a young Johnny Depp, which is undoubtedly one of the reasons they’re being eyed by the studio.
Of course, the source material for the franchise is Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, written in 1964. While the book (and its sequel) offer a little insight into Wonka’s past, there’s certainly not enough information to surmise a plot for an entire movie, so Warner Bros. will certainly need to get creative. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, hopefully the studio will do justice to Dahl’s work, as the he reportedly hated the now-classic 1971 movie.
Wonka is still a long way off, so stay tuned for any updates!