A Willy Wonka prequel movie is officially on the way.
Warner Bros. is moving ahead with Wonka, an origin film that has been circling a start for a number of years at the studio. WB has handed the film a US release of March 17th, 2023.
The film, as described by WB, will focus on “a young Willy Wonka” and tell of “his adventures prior to opening the world’s most famous chocolate factory.”
On board to direct the film is Paul King, who directed and co-wrote the two acclaimed Paddington movies. The current draft of the screenplay comes from King and Simon Farnaby, who worked together in writing Paddington 2. The original draft for Wonka was penned by Simon Rich (Inside Out, An American Pickle).
The character of Willy Wonka, the eccentric owner of the Wonka Chocolate Factory, was created by British writer Roald Dahl and had his debut in Dahl’s 1964 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and was also in the book’s follow-up, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (1972). On the screen, Wonka was memorably played by Gene Wilder in Mel Stuart-directed classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s 2005 remake, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
While the idea of a Willy Wonka prequel is certainly one that seems to require an eye-roll (and the announcement is drawing plenty online), I’m usually of the ‘let’s wait and see’ mindset. Plus, King certainly earned promise with those wonderful Paddington movies. Fingers crossed this goes well.