Following the start of production on Wonka, prequel film and reboot to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory franchise, three new major cast members were announced to integrate the team. Academy Award Winner Olivia Colman, two-time Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins, and the eternal Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson, are now official members of the adventure’s cast.
Wonka will explore the life of the world-famous chocolatier, Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) before he became the quirky magnate of a chocolate and candy empire. Tim Burton’s 2005 remake had already delved into a bit into Wonka’s past to try to give the character a more solid background, as opposed to 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – which provided no origin story whatsoever to Wonka (but also, it wasn’t the point). Now, the story will dig even deeper to makes fully understand what influenced Wonka, which people he met in his early years and why he turned up like he did.
Atkinson, Colman and Hawkins’ roles in the story are still being kept under wraps, but they have joined a cast that already includes Keegan-Michael Key, Tom Davis, Simon Farnaby, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Mathew Baynton, Jim Carter, and Rich Fulcher. The director is Paul King, who helmed Paddington and Paddington 2.
Inspired by the Roald Dahl fantasy children’s books, Wonka is not based on any actual novels, but rather on their most famous character. As it depicts the early years of inventor Willy Wonka, it’s unlikely it will feature the chocolate factory and nasty kids. WB’s idea, however, is to start a universe featuring other Road Dahl characters, so we might be on the lookout for more than Oompa-Lompa cameos.
The script is by King himself along with Simon Farnaby, who is also in the cast and will be the screenwriter for Disney’s upcoming new version of Pinocchio. Wonka is produced by David Heyman, who has a knack for fantasy stories: he produced all movies in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, and is also producing the live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan, based on the worldwide famous anime series.
Wonka is slated for a March 17, 2023 release date in theaters, but, as we’ve learned, nothing is set in stone.