A Willy Wonka prequel film is on the way, courtesy of Warner Bros – but not all of Wonka’s fans are that happy about it.

Eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka is – as had been rumoured some time ago – getting the prequel treatment it’s now been confirmed. The beloved Roald Dahl creation has legions of fans, both of the books and the films he features in.  Now, the forthcoming film Wonka will presumably explain how he meets the oompa loompas, becomes so legendary at making chocolate, and explore other elements of his story.

Whether it’s an enduring love for Gene Wilder’s 1971 portrayal of the character, Johnny Depp’s less-loved 2005 performance, or the ongoing interest in the original Dahl story, the character of Willy Wonka continues to engage and delight many.

Warner Bros has decided to make capital out of this interest, naming a release date of March 2023 for the prequel tale. No star has yet been named but Tom Holland and Timothée Chamalet are reportedly frontrunners for the role. Paddington director Paul King will helm the film.

Even the presence of the director of the mighty Paddington hasn’t been enough to silence the disquietude of fans though, alarmed at the prospect of a prequel tale spoiling the character’s mysterious essence by explaining his history. Movieweb has covered some of the fan backlash on social media, and it’s probably fair to say that Gene Wilder’s performance is so iconic, lots of film fans might feel the same about recasting the role. However, Depp’s performance in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory demonstrated there’s space for different takes on the character, even if the wider film itself was somewhat less well received.

When we do hear casting news regarding who’ll be getting fitted for the top hat and frills, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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