Following two iterations of the iconic chocolatier Willy Wonka comes the 2023 Wonka movie. The upcoming Warner Bros. film serves as a prequel to Roald Dahl’s famous story of the man with the chocolate factory.
So fans, get ready for your golden ticket! Here’s what we know so far about the 2023 Wonka movie, including its connection to the other films.
The Origin Story
The 2023 Wonka movie was announced by Warner Bros in 2021, as a prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The book, written by Roald Dahl and published in 1964, follows a boy named Charlie Bucket, who wins a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The movie has two iterations, the 1971 version with Gene Wilder, and the 2005 version starring Johnny Depp. Depp’s version of the titular chocolatier also showed somewhat of an origin story shown in the film.
However, the 2023 Wonka movie will give a further look into the character’s origins before he became the candy man we all know today. The film was a few years in the making, with some of the producers having signed on as far back as 2016.
Paul King directs the 2023 Wonka movie with a script he co-wrote with Simon Farnaby and Simon Rich. David Heyman and Luke Kelly are the movie’s producers, while Michael Siegel and Alexandra Derbyshire are executive producers.
For those wondering where production took place, filming began for Wonka in September 2021. Filming locations were scattered across the UK, including Beth, Verulamium Park, Watford, Lyme Regis, Abbey Mill Lane, and Oxford (Hertford College and Radcliffe Camera) – just to name a few.
For the 2023 Wonka movie, Timothee Chalamet will be playing the titular character. Warner Bros. was also interested in Tom Holland for the role until they ultimately came to Chalamet. Keegan-Michael Key, Tom Davis, Hugh Grant, Simon Farnaby, Matt Lucas, Justin Edwards, Colin O’Brien, Paterson Joseph, Natasha Rothwell, Rakhee Thakrar, Ellie White, Freya Parker, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Matthew Baynton, Jim Carter, Sally Hawkins, Olivia Colman, Rowan Atkinson, and Rich Fulcher are also part of the cast.
Key praised Chalamet’s performance in November 2022.
“There’s this wonderful effortlessness about how he plays Wonka, not to mention the fact that there’s this hopeful quality that he gives the character, a kind of indomitable quality that he’ll never quit, he’s always up for the next thing. He’s like ‘Ok, that didn’t work out? We’ll do this and we’ll try something else.’ And Timothee Chalamet, what can I say? Sacrebleu! This kid, you know, he drips charisma and a wonderful confidence. He’s just a really delicious artist,” said Key.
Chalamet also talked about this approach to the titular character.
“I hate to say it, but the dream as an artist is to throw whatever the f*** you want at the wall, you know? And I guess what I’m realizing is that one’s personal life, one’s adult life, can be quite boring and the artist’s life can still be extraordinary,” said Chalamet.
Earlier this year, Chalamet revealed to Vogue what drew him to Willy Wonka.
“To work on something that will have an uncynical young audience, that was just a big joy,” said Chalamet. “That’s why I was drawn to it. In a time and climate of intense political rhetoric, when there’s so much bad news all the time, this is hopefully going to be a piece of chocolate.”
Wonka Official Trailer
What to Expect
The first trailer for the 2023 Wonka movie dropped on July 11, 2023. Based on the trailer alone, fans can probably expect a film that is in a similar tone to the Paddington movies while maintaining its whimsical nature.
However, one thing we should not expect from the 2023 Wonka movie is any connection with either Wilder or Depp’s iterations of the character. The movie is mostly influenced by the world in the book. It’s still possible that Chalamet would take inspiration from the two other films, but his movie will not take place in those worlds.
King talked about how the movie fits into the world in an interview with EW.
“I didn’t want to reinvent those things ‘cause it felt like that ‘71 movie had come up with these incredibly enduring, iconic looks. What I wanted this movie to be was like a companion piece to that movie. If you imagine those people in that world 25 years earlier, that was my starting process. Eventually, he would grow into that person and that factory,” said King.
As the 2023 Wonka movie would be a musical, Chalamet revealed to TIME that he recorded songs at Abbey Road. Chalamet also revealed that he has seven musical numbers in the movie. King also talked about the musical numbers in the film.
King said Chalamet has “got a beautiful singing voice. The person it reminded me of was Bing Crosby. There’s quite a range because it does go from a couple of bigger, showstopper-y sort of things to moments of real, pure emotion and he can do it all.”
What Else to Expect
In an interview with Rolling Stone, King talked about Chalamet’s performance in the 2023 Wonka movie. King revealed that Chalamet was his first choice to play the titular character.
“It was a straight offer because he’s great and he was the only person in my mind who could do it,” said the director. “But because he’s Timothee Chalamet and his life is so absurd, his high school musical performances are on YouTube and have hundreds of thousands of views.”
At CinemaCon 2023, Grant was announced that he will be appearing in the movie as one of Wonka’s Oompa-Loompas. Chalamet said it was probably “the first time people saw Hugh Grant as the Oompa Loompa.”
“It was a trip. Hugh is one of our greats…It was a dream to work with him,” said Chalamet.
In July 2023, fans got another look at Grant as an Oompa Loompa with more stills released by PEOPLE.
2023 Wonka Movie Release Date
The 2023 Wonka movie was initially set to premiere on March 17, 2023. But it was pushed back to the 2023 Holiday season. Warner Bros. slated the movie to be released in theaters on December 15, 2023, following its international release a week earlier on December 6, 2023.
When will Wonka be available for streaming? The film will likely be available to stream on HBO Max in early 2024. This is due to Warner Bros. giving a 45-day theatrical release window for its films, a decision made in 2021.
As far as talk of a sequel to the film, the studio hasn’t officially announced plans to make a sequel to the 2023 Wonka movie. We’ll have to see how this film does at the box office when it premieres this December.