Willy Wonka producer David Heyman confirms the new movie about the eccentric candy entrepreneur will be a prequel. The project has been in the works at Warner Bros. for the past couple of years, but things are admittedly progressing at a slow pace. Since that initial announcement, updates on the Willy Wonka front are few and far between, though WB recruited Paddington director Paul King to call the shots. It's currently unknown when the studio is aiming to start production, but the film remains in development for the time being.
Other than the question of who's playing Wonka this time around, the biggest mystery surrounding the movie is its plot. Since the new Willy Wonka is not going to be another adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic novel, it seems likely King will bring an original story to the big screen. Earlier reports indicated it would be an origin story, and now Heyman has confirmed that's the case.
“We are still trying to figure out how to tell that story, what the story is. It’s a prequel, it’s not a sequel. What makes Willy—when we find him at the chocolate factory doing the golden ticket, where is he before that? What leads him to that place where he’s locked himself away?… It’s how does he get there? So we’re playing around with that.”
Some may argue that a Willy Wonka origin story is a dubious prospect at best, but it could be a hit if executed properly. King reads as an inspired choice for the film, seeing that his Paddington adaptations are renowned for their striking visual style and heartfelt narratives. His sensibilities should be a nice fit for Dahl's material and it'll be interesting to see what he brings to Willy Wonka. The film's quality will also depend on the actor tasked with portraying the candy man. Donald Glover and Ryan Gosling were said to be on the short list, but that was months ago and things may have changed. Those A-listers are also constantly in high demand, meaning they may not be available to take on the role when the project is ready to move to the next phase.
For now, it sounds like Willy Wonka is stuck in the earliest stages as Heyman and his team figure out how to crack the story. That's encouraging, since it indicates they aren't going to rush something out to capitalize on a brand name and the popularity of Dahl's books. They want to make sure they have a tale worth telling, which should only ensure the new Willy Wonka movie will be an entertaining ride through that magical universe.