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SYFY WIRE Willy Wonka

Sweet! Willy Wonka origin movie officially a go at Warner Bros. with Harry Potter producer

By Josh Weiss
Gene Wilder Willy Wonka

Quick question: Who can take a sunrise....Sprinkle it with dew...Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two? 

Warner Bros. is officially entering a world of pure imagination with an origin movie about eccentric candy mogul, Willy Wonka, Variety confirmed early Tuesday afternoon. The deliciously sweet project — currently titled Wonka — has been in development for quite some time, but the studio has finally decided to provide a green-light with David Heyman (executive producer of the Harry Potter and Paddington films) running point.

While there are no plot details to report on at this time, it's widely accepted that the movie will explore Wonka's formative years and how he became he preeminent inventor of mind-blowing confections. Paddington director Paul King is attached to direct and the screenplay was written by An American Pickle scribe, Simon Rich. Deadline reports that production is eyeing a September 2021 start, with WB planning to release the feature on March 17, 2023.

Casting has yet to take place, but it's worth mentioning that Ezra Miller was previously considered for the title role made famous by a standout Gene Wilder in 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. However, it's unclear if The Flash star is still in the running.

Gene Wilder Willy Wonka

The character was created by author Roald Dahl, who first introduced the iconic candyman in his 1964 children's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wonka returned in 1972's, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which continued the story of Charlie Bucket, an impoverished young boy who, thanks to his pureness of heart, ends up inheriting Wonka's factory. Tim Burton re-adapted the first novel in 2005, with Johnny Depp inhabiting the role of the reclusive businessman.

Netflix is currently working on its own Wonka content, with Taika Waititi (Thor: Love and Thunder) writing, directing, and executive producing two animated series based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. One will be a more traditional adaptation, while the second provides a wholly original take on Wonka's singing factory workers: Oompa-Loompas.