Willy Wonka Prequel Film in the Works!

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 The author of the initial Variety piece speculated on Twitter whether Dahl had any unpublished writing about Wonka the screenwriter will be able to use.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.)

What do you think? Are you excited about this project or wary?

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Gene Wilder, star of Willy Wonka and Mel Brooks comedies, dies aged 83

Gene Wilder as Wonka

Like all Dahl fans, I was incredibly saddened to hear of Gene Wilder’s death this morning. He is the reason that Willy Wonka became the worldwide icon that it is today. I have donated $50 to Alzheimer’s Australia in his memory, and if you are able, I suggest you do as well!

Here are some links to information about him and his work:

Obituaries:

Links:

Tweets:

Videos:

In an interview with Larry King in 2002, Gene Wilder talks about how he got his role as Willy Wonka. Source: CNN

His entrance as Wonka:

 

45th Anniversary Screening of Willy Wonka and COSTUME CONTEST!

The Burbank International Film Festival will be showing a special 45th anniversary screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on September 10th. As part of the celebration, they’re also hosting a COSTUME CONTEST and fans throughout the world are invited to send in photos of their best Wonka-inspired costumes. More details can be found over on the Calendar or on the BIFF website.

New Wonka figurines from Funko!

Did you know that Funko have introduced even more Wonka figurines? Check it out!