We all know the story of Willy Wonka, the eccentric candy man who lives in a vaguely European town and owns a candy factory that nobody ever enters or leaves (on a totally unrelated topic, the employees all love to work there and they definitely get a fair wage). But where did Wonka come from? 1971's Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was largely unconcerned with that information, rendering the title character as just a vaguely magical weirdo who definitely treats his employees right and really wants to give aways his life’s work to some kid. Tim Burton’s 2005 remake, in an attempt to do something different, revealed that Wonka was the son of a dentist who had forbidden him from ever eating candy—transforming Wonka from just a weird guy who likes candy to a weird guy who likes candy and also didn’t get to eat candy as a child.
It wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but Hollywood is now getting yet another chance to tell the story of Willy Wonka and his appreciate for candy, because Warner Bros. is officially moving forward with Wonka, its prequel film about the origin of the beloved… candy weirdo, and it’ll be released in March of 2023. A version of this project has been in the works for a long time, like in 2016 when Man Seeking Woman creator Simon Rich came on board to write, and now The Wrap says that Paddington director Paul King has successfully aced Wonka’s cruel candy quiz and has been named as the film’s new director. That’s about all we know, but The Wrap notes that Warner Bros. might want to turn this into “a franchise,” meaning “characters like Charlie Bucket” could appear in future Wonka movies. You know what that means? Cinematic universe, baby!
On a semi-related note, this news comes just over a month after the family of original Charlie And The Chocolate Factory author Roald Dahl put out a statement apologizing for his infamous antisemitic views and the “lasting and understandable hurt” they caused. The timing is probably unrelated, since it’s not like Dahl has made any new antisemitic comments since he died in 1990 and Hollywood never stopped adapting his work, so this is more of a heads-up.