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Netflix now owns Willy Wonka, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach & more in massive deal for Roald Dahl catalog

By Josh Weiss
Gene Wilder Willy Wonka

Netflix just unwrapped the biggest golden ticket of them all. The streaming giant announced that it has officially acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company in a massive new deal that includes the screen rights to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, and many more classics.

The purchase represents a major step forward for the two parties, which have been in partnership since November of 2018. Netflix figured it was probably time to just eat the whole candy bar or get off the pot. That's how the saying goes, right? As of this writing, there are already a slew of confirmed projects: a pair of Willy Wonka-inspired shows (hailing from the duo of Oscar-winner Taika Waititi and Oscar-nominee Phil Johnston), as well as a musical adaptation of Matilda. With the full purchase closed, expect a whole lot more to head into development soon.

"As we bring these timeless tales to more audiences in new formats, we’re committed to maintaining their unique spirit and their universal themes of surprise and kindness, while also sprinkling some fresh magic into the mix," Netflix wrote in a blog post. "We want to say a huge thank you to all the people who have contributed to this great story so far. Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue the close working relationships established by RDSC with existing rights holders, publishing, theatre and entertainment partners, and many others to protect and grow the great legacy of these beloved stories."

Watch the announcement video below:

"Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company share a deep love of storytelling and a growing, global fan base," continued the blog post. "Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to write multiple new chapters of these beloved stories, delighting children and adults around the world for generations to come."

Wonka is obviously the sweetest IP of them all (no pun intended), with Warner Bros. currently moving forward on its own big screen adaptation of Chocolate Factory: a musical origin story centered around the eccentric candy mogul. Helmed by Paddington director Paul King, the feature (titled Wonka) will star Dune's Timothée Chalamet as a young Willy.

Given Netflix's promise to work alongside "existing rights holders," it doesn't seem like the acquisition of the Roald Dahl library will affect WB's confectionary plans in any significant way.

This marks one of Netflix's biggest acquisitions of existing IP to date, putting several iconic stories under the company's purview. The move seems similar to Netflix's 2017 acquisition of Mark Millar's Millarworld, which partnered the streamer with a major creative force in the comics world — and gave the streamer access to several of his comic series for TV and film development, including the recent Jupiter's Legacy series.

Harry Potter