In the factory: ‘Willy Wonka’ prequel in the works

Published: October 20, 2016
Gene Wilder, who played the original Willy Wonka, died on August 29, 2016. PHOTO: FILE

Gene Wilder, who played the original Willy Wonka, died on August 29, 2016. PHOTO: FILE

LOS ANGELES: Time to indulge your sweet tooth! Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is getting a prequel.

Entertainment giant Warner Bros is developing a new movie focusing on the eccentric character and his early adventures after acquiring the rights to Willy Wonka.

According to sources, Warner Bros has acquired the rights to the Willy Wonka IP from the Roald Dahl Estate and is planning a new movie centred on the popular character. David Heyman will produce the project with Michael Siegel, who is the manager of the Dahl Estate.

However, the film will not be an original tale but a standalone movie focused on Wonka and his early adventures. It’s unknown who from the original book series, other than Wonka, will be involved in the project. If the reboot is a hit, it seems likely that characters like Charlie could be seen in future instalments of a possible franchise.

Warner Bros has been trying to lock down rights from the Dahl Estate since the beginning of the year and finally closed the deal earlier this fall. Dahl penned two books in which Wonka appeared, the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the 1972’s Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. However, he never wrote anything focused specifically on Wonka.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has since been adapted into two feature films, most recently by Warner Bros in 2005, with Tim Burton directing and Johnny Depp starring as Wonka. The original Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder, died on August 29, 2016. Warner Bros’ musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, playing on the West End since 2013, will open on Broadway in April 2017.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2016.

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