A Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel film, titled Wonka, will hit theaters on the 17th March 2023 and be released through Warner Bros. This will have no relation to Tim Burton‘s 2005 film, also owned by Warner Bros.
Gene Wilder played Willy Wonka in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
The film is to be directed by Paul King, who is best known for directing the recent live-action Paddington movies, both of which proved to be hits critically and commercially. Wonka will see King re-team with his Paddington producer David Heyman, who has produced a range of films including the Harry Potter franchise.
Not much is known about the story aside from that the film will focus on a younger Willy Wonka before he becomes owner of the famous chocolate factory. The film will therefore not be directly based on a specific Roald Dahl novel, as opposed to Willy Wonka’s previous screen appearances.
The script was co-written by King and Simon Farnaby, based on a draft by Simon Rich (An American Pickle).
It is currently unknown who will play the role of the titular character. Previous incarnations have seen Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp portray the extravagant chocolatier. A source for Collider has said that Warner Bros. are currently eyeing either Tom Holland or Timothée Chalamet, with the hopes of creating a franchise. However, this is not confirmed.
Holland is best known for his role as Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the third instalment due to release in December 2021. Outside of that, fans can expect to see plenty more of the actor this year as he has three additional films schedule to release. First is the much delayed Chaos Walking from director Doug Liman (Swingers; The Bourne Identity). The sci-fi film will see Holland star opposite Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) and was originally intended to release in March of 2019. The film will finally hit cinemas in early March 2021. Shortly after comes the crime drama Cherry, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (Avengers: Endgame), an Apple TV exclusive due to release in late March. Finally, Holland will play Nathan Drake in the video game based movie, Uncharted.
As Holland dominates the world of blockbusters, Chalamet has been appearing in more awards friendly films. Chalamet received an Oscar nomination for his role as Elio in Call Me By Your Name. He has also appeared in many critically successful indie films, like Greta Gerwig‘s Lady Bird and 2019 novel adaptation Little Women. As for upcoming projects, Chalamet will appear in Wes Anderson‘s The French Dispatch, Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up and will play music legend Bob Dylan in James Mangold‘s Going Electric. In addition to these awards centric films, the upcoming Dune remake will see the actor stepping foot into blockbuster territory, seeming to indicate that Wonka is not outside the realm of possibility.
While neither actor has expressed public interest in Wonka, both would seem like a good fit for the role if Warner Bros. do wish to spawn sequels due to their star power.
The film is currently scheduled to film in September, though this could change depending on permits, laws and licenses imposed by the pandemic.