“So much time, and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it.” According to Variety, Warner Bros. Pictures has purchased the rights to the “Willy Wonka” IP from the Roald Dahl Estate, and plans to go ahead with an original Willy Wonka prequel story.
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Rather than being based on Dahl’s 1964 children’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or its 1972 sequel “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator,” the movie will tell of an early adventure of eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka. The Willy Wonka prequel will not be explicitly an origin story, and other characters from the series, like Charlie Bucket, may appear in future franchise installments if this one is a success.
Producer David Heyman of the Harry Potter franchise is set to produce the new film from a screenplay to be penned by “Man Seeking Woman” series creator Simon Rich, who also contributed material to Inside Out and The Secret Life of Pets. Courtenay Valenti (Mad Max: Fury Road) is overseeing the project for the studio.
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” has been twice adapted for the big screen, including a hit 2005 version — also released by Warners — starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton, and most famously as 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder in his most iconic role. No direct feature adaptation has been made of “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” (though elements of it were used in both films), and Dahl was developing a third Wonka book titled “Charlie in the White House” before he passed away in 1990.