Here's everything we know about the film.
The world inside Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is one of pure imagination, and the story of how Charlie Bucket became his heir with a legendary golden ticket is a fantasy for generations of kids. It was only a matter of time before someone in Hollywood dove into the origins of how the factory came to be. With Timothée Chalamet’s Wonka, fans will get a deep dive into what made the famous chocolatier tick.
There have been two films based on author Roald Dahl’s seminal classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (although, perhaps unsurprisingly, none based on the sci-fi-and-alien invasion-filled sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator). The original novel is a morality play for children, in which four extremely naughty children and one good one wind up on a tour of Willy Wonka’s marvelous chocolate factory, which, up until then, no one has ever been inside. Each naughty child is given their comeuppance (along with the parents who allowed them to become that way), while Charlie inherits the earth, or at least the patch of it on which the chocolate factory sits.
In the original novel, Wonka tells a few tales about his past to the assembled families traveling with him, but the stories are so outlandish, no one believes them. With the new film, fans will learn the truth about Willy Wonka. Here’s everything to know so far.
Wonka First Look
Word about the Wonka film has been circulating since 2016, when The Hollywood Reporter announced Warner Bros. Pictures had gained the rights from the Dahl estate. But the production gained steam in 2021 when it was announced David Heyman, the man behind the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, had boarded as a producer. And when Timothée Chalamet was cast as the titular young Wonka, the project began to take off at light speed.
On Oct. 10, 2021, Chalamet posted the first picture from set, featuring himself in costume. Although the top hat and red coat invited at least a few comparisons on Twitter to another famous Victorian duds-clad figure, interest in the project immediately hit a new high.
Although Chalamet is the leading man of this prequel film, he’s not alone in it. Much like the Harry Potter films, the Wonka movie is surrounding the actor with some of the BBC’s best and brightest. For example, Oscar winner Olivia Colman will join the production fresh off her award-winning run as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. Jim Carter, who Downton Abbey fans will recognize as Mr. Carson, is also in the cast. The famous Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson, will bring his comedy chops to the film, as will The Shape of Water star Sally Hawkins and The Great British Baking Show’s Matt Lucas.
The rest of the cast is also full of stars, some of whom are American, like Keegan-Michael Key, Natasha Rothwell (The White Lotus), Rich Fulcher (Marriage Story), and Calah Lane (This Is Us), and newcomer Colin O’Brien. But most of the co-stars are from the U.K., including Mathew Baynton (You, Me and the Apocalypse), Paterson Joseph (The End of the F***ing World), Rakhee Thakrar (Sex Education), Tom Davis (Drunk History: UK), Simon Farnaby (the Paddington films), Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Mary Poppins Returns), and Ellie White (Stath Lets Flats).
Warner Bros. Pictures is keeping the details of Wonka mostly under wraps. So far, all that has been confirmed is that the film is “focused on a young Willy Wonka and his adventures before he created the chocolate factory” and that this will be the first Chocolate Factory installment in which Charlie Bucket does not appear as a character.
But there is one detail fans can get excited about. The film will be a musical like the beloved 1970s film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder. Northern Irish singer/songwriter Neil Hannon, best known for his band The Divine Comedy, is writing original songs for the film. Chalamet will apparently record original songs for the film, so fans can expect to hear the actor sing.
As filming has only just begun, there is no Wonka trailer yet. But with the cast and crew hard at work, hopefully Warner Bros. Pictures will have the first teaser of footage out by early 2022.
Wonka Release Date
Wonka is currently slated to arrive in theaters on March 17, 2023.