Do We Really Need a Willy Wonka Prequel?


21 Jan
21Jan

Susan Leighton

The Hollywood Reporter announced that Warner Brothers will release Wonka, the prequel to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on Mar. 17, 2023. Paul King who helmed the Paddington films will be behind the camera for the production. 

This particular incarnation will be focused on Wonka’s youth before he became a world-renowned chocolatier. Social media has been weighing in on the news with casting suggestions. The forerunners are Timothée Chalamet and Tom Holland with Janelle Monáe and Andre 3000 not far behind. 

When the story first broke, most people questioned why is this even happening? The original 1971 film starring Gene Wilder is a beloved fan favorite. Tim Burton’s 2005 remake starring Johnny Depp was an interesting adaptation and closer to Roald Dahl’s 1964 book. 

In Burton’s version, there were flashbacks to Wonka’s past which leads us to the next question. Must EVERY character have an origin story? Is it really necessary? 

Hollywood is doing everything in its power to keep business afloat, we get that. In order to ensure a huge return on investment, most studios are going through their vaults and dusting off popular titles that will guarantee them an audience. 

From a business standpoint, it is more cost efficient to go back to the well than finance a script from a new writer that isn’t a proven entity. It doesn’t make for exciting and original work but that seems to be the route that the industry is taking. 

Plus, there is a very real push to develop material specifically tailored to the younger demographic. However, instead of Wonka, why not consider remastering Gene Wilder’s effort? Release a 4k version or when it is safe to return to theaters, IMAX would offer an immersive experience that would definitely incite fans of the original to take their families to see the film. 

As of yet, there is no information on when Wonka will begin shooting. Until then, why not revisit Wilder’s classic? You can stream it on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, VUDU and Amazon Prime.

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