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New ‘Willy Wonka’ Prequel Will Challenge Your Belief in a World of Pure Imagination

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory may be a world of pure imagination where the sky is the limit and anything is possible, but it’s hard to say the same about major movie studios, which keep returning to the same well of established franchises (including board games and toys) to cash-in on name recognition — why risk millions on an original, inventive idea when they can just repurpose a tried-and-true classic? Such is the case with good ol’ Willy Wonka, who is returning to the big screen in a new prequel film from the producer of the Harry Potter series.

According to Variety, producer David Heyman, who is also behind the upcoming Fantastic Beasts franchise, is teaming up with Warner Bros. for a new Willy Wonka film that will reportedly explore the earlier adventures of the character. The Secret Life of Pets scribe Simon Rich will write the screenplay for the project, which is not an origin story, but more of a prequel that follows a slightly younger Wonka.

It’s a concept that Wonka himself would probably despise — repackaging proven consumer favorites as something new and exciting, when it’s really just more of the same, but slightly different. Where’s the imagination there?! Still, WB has secured the rights from the Roald Dahl estate, which contains two Wonka stories: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

This news is particularly unsettling for the ScreenCrush editorial team: Not even an hour ago, we were cracking jokes about Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s acting skills (or lack thereof), when Matt Singer warned us that he’s the new Johnny Depp and not long from now, he’ll probably star in a new Willy Wonka reboot.

And then this Wonka prequel news happened. Imagine our terror.

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