That Willy Wonka Prequel You Didn’t Ask for Is Still Happening

That Willy Wonka Prequel You Didn’t Ask for Is Still Happening
The one true Wonka: Gene Wilder in the 1971 film. (Screenshot: Paramount Pictures)
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Don’t worry, though — Johnny Depp is nowhere near this one.

Deadline reports that Wonka — a prequel to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that we first heard about all the way back in 2016 — is still very much in play, so much so that Warner Bros. has even scheduled a release date of March 17, 2023. Which is kind of wild when you consider the current state of film releases.

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The story is described as “a prequel to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which focuses on the candy architect Willy Wonka’s younger days before having his confection empire,” and David Heyman (the Harry Potter series) who is still attached as a producer.

Also still attached is director Paul King, who the Hollywood Reporter notes was first “in talks” for the gig in 2018. King made the delightful Paddington and the surprisingly even more delightful Paddington 2, so that bodes well for the sort of whimsical tone that a Willy Wonka origin story will presumably require — even if we’re sceptical about the existence of this one to begin with.

Deadline notes that the project is still in the very early stages — “it won’t be shooting while the UK is in lockdown” — and there’s no casting yet, though Collider has heard rumours that big-name stars like Tom Holland and Timothée Chalamet are being eyed by the studio. Even if neither of those actors end up signing on, that does give us an idea of how old the character will be when we meet the latest version of him.