Less than two months after Gene Wilder’s death, it was announced today that a new Willy Wonka movie is in the works. Sources told Variety that Warner Bros. “acquired the rights to the Willy Wonka IP” — how magical! — “from the Roald Dahl Estate and is planning a new movie centered around the eccentric character.” It won’t be an origin film — which means the “reimagining” won’t take place in the same universe as Wilder’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory or Johnny Depp’s regrettable Charlie & the Chocolate Factory — but rather, a “standalone movie focused on Wonka and his early adventures.”
Harry Potter producer David Heyman will produce, with a script from Simon Rich, a former SNL writer who also created FXX’s very funny Man Seeking Woman and helped pen Disney’s mega-popular The Secret Life of Pets. (Rich is an unlikely choice, but Man Seeking Woman‘s dark absurdism isn’t too far removed from the original Willy Wonka‘s creepy quirkiness.) But no matter how good this movie ends up being, it will always be pegged as coming out “too soon.” Wonka is Wilder’s defining role, or at least most well known, even more than “The Waco Kid” and Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, and his passing is still fresh in our minds. The backlash has already begun online.
On the bright side, it can’t be worse than the Tim Burton version!