Well, this is typical of Hollywood. Gene Wilder’s body has barely been cold for twenty minutes, and already there’s talks of recasting his most iconic role.
Warner Bros has announced plans to create a remake of the beloved children’s nightmare fuel Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Here’s the catch this time around: the movie won’t feature any of that boring nonsense with Charlie Bucket and his opportunistic grandfather—“I’ve been in this bed for twenty years, but if there’s a free trip to a chocolate factory for me, suddenly I can walk perfectly!”—and will instead be an origin story for Willy Wonka himself.
Warner Bros has plans to turn Wonka into a long-running franchise, like Harry Potter. They want it to be like Harry Potter so much, in fact, that they’ve hired David Heyman, the producer for many of the most recent Potter movies, to oversee the project.
So expect this adventure of the young Willy Wonka to see him exploring weird and wonderful foreign lands, discovering exotic candy recipes, and enslaving indigenous Oompa Loompas as he does so.
If they don’t call the movie Fantastic Sweets and Where to Find Them, they’re really missing a trick.
According to Variety, who broke the news of this story, Warner Bros has spent the better part of this entire year trying to pin down the Dahl estate long enough to get their hands on the movie rights to a Wonka prequel.
This seems like a strange choice—are WB struggling so much to find new ideas that they feel a Willy Wonka series is worth this much hassle?
Well, considering that the studio is responsible for the DCEU, it’s pretty clear that they don’t have a lot of good decision makers in-house.
Between the Snyderverse, five Fantastic Beasts movies, and now a Wonkaverse, it’s pretty clear that the current Warner Bros business model is to grab hold of any vaguely notable pop culture property, and just ride it into the ground until everyone hates it.
Look, Warner Bros, if you’re this desperate for ideas, we can all chip in and get you guys back on your feet.
How about a dark and gritty Animaniacs movie, in which Pinky and the Brain actually succeed in taking over the world? There’s probably an audience for that.
You could adapt some public domain literature. We’ve not had a decent Charles Dickens movie in a while, so why not adapt Great Expectations, but cast a tween YouTuber in the lead role? There’s some decent cross-demographic appeal in that.
Considering that a Tetris movie is in the works, why not adapt another classic video game franchise? See if you can do a movie based on the 1983 Atari version of Pac-Man?
Or, if all else fails, you could spin Space Jam into a franchise. Taz playing Aussie Rules soccer. Coyote and Roadrunner at the Olympics. Elmer Fudd filibustering the US Senate. These would all make better movies than an endless Willy Wonka franchise that nobody asked for.
Oh well. At least Warner Bros can’t do any worse with a Wonka movie than that awful Johnny Depp film.