Because Hollywood thinks everything nowadays needs to be a franchise, Warner Bros. is rebooting Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Only they’re not really focusing on the “chocolate factory” part, as Variety reports the studio is looking to tell a tale about the titular character’s early adventures.
(Guys, Gene Wilder is barely even cold. Reel it in, huh?)
WB recently acquired the IP rights for the Wonka character from the Roald Dahl Estate and has tapped David Heyman, who has had a formative hand in the Harry Potter franchise, to produce. He’ll work alongside Michael Siegle, manager of the Dahl Estate, and executive producer Kevin McCormick. Simon Rich (The Secret Life of Pets) has been hired to pen the script.
Although the film won’t be a true origin story, Variety reports that the standalone feature will follow the eccentric candy maker on an adventure that pre-dates Dahl’s story. Presumably, this means we could see a young Wonka traipsing through Loompaland and battling hornwogglers and vermicious knids. The idea is that if the film is a success, a possible franchise could be launched with characters like Charlie Bucket showing up in the sequels.
Of course, Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been adapted twice before, once in 1971 under the Willy Wonka title with Gene Wilder in the lead role (a movie Dahl hated), and again in 2005 under the proper title with Johnny Depp as the star (a movie Wilder hated). The former is a classic and the latter is best forgotten. As heartless an idea as this one sounds, hopefully it’s at least worth the celluloid.