Wow. The news feeds are full this week with stories that the Roald Dahl estate is working with Warner Bros. to produce a new film about Willy Wonka. No, it’s not the official sequel Charlie and the Great Class Elevator. Instead it’s going to be a prequel story that comes before the events of the first book. It won’t be an origin story, but rather ” a standalone movie focused on Wonka and his early adventures”. The filmmakers are clearly trying to establish a Potter-like franchise, and they think Wonka could provide the hook.
Reaction seems to be mixed so far. Some fans are upset at this happening and feel it somehow insults Gene Wilder’s memory so soon after his death. Others are surprised that the notoriously picky Dahl estate would back the project.
I’m a little ambivalent about this one. Studios are rushing to establish franchises and “cinematic universes,” but I’m not sure if the Charlie books have enough world-building in them to support it. And unlike the Potter example, we don’t have Dahl himself around to bless the extended canon. The author of the initial Variety piece speculated on Twitter whether Dahl had any unpublished writing about Wonka the screenwriter will be able to use. I’d be surprised if that were the case. (The only scraps I’ve ever seen were from excised chapters and later sequels that never got finished.)
Couldn't get this confirmed but got the feeling Dahl may have written unpublished material that could be used to help build new world
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) October 19, 2016
What do you think? Are you excited about this project or wary?