Variety is reporting that David Heyman and Warner Bros, having developed the Harry Potter books as a blockbuster movie franchise, have turned to everyone’s favorite chocolatier, Willy Wonka, the subject of two previous films based on the book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” for the subject of a new movie. No word exists on the plot except that it will not be an origin tale but will depict some of Wonka’s earlier adventures.
“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was released in 1971 starring the late Gene Wilder as the title character. The movie was remade as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. Both movies told the story of how a young boy named Charlie wins a prize along with four other children to tour Willy’s chocolate factory and to earn an unknown grand prize. Lots of music and lessons about life ensue.
The prequel does not have a screenplay, actors, or a director yet. However, the studio hopes that the film, if successful, can be spun into a franchise of Willy Wonka movies. If the franchise takes off, it is likely that the character of Charlie will eventually make an appearance.
The novel was written in 1964 and had a 1971 sequel, “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” in which Wonka makes an appearance.
Jump-starting a Willy Wonka franchise will take a degree of sensitivity, notes The Verge. The Johnny Depp version was not very popular, and fans are still in mourning over the recent death of Gene Wilder.