Two different versions of Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder and Timothée Chalamet.

Did You Catch All the Connections ‘Wonka’ Made to the Original Movie?

The new Wonka movie is a prequel to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) so how much do the two connect?

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Most know Willy Wonka as an eccentric recluse who makes the world’s best candy, famously played by Gene Wilder. But how did he get to that point? Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet as the titular chocolatier, hit theaters over the weekend. It tells the story of how a young man with a dream and not much else started a legendary candy company. With the help of some new friends, charm, and luck, Willy Wonka spins his magic over the town. His biggest obstacle isn’t making the candy. Before becoming a success, he has to go against the Chocolate Cartel of three other chocolate makers: Slugworth, Prodnose, and Fickelgruber. Even though the movies were made decades apart and feature many different characters, they link together in many fun and interesting ways.

1. “Scratch that, reverse it!”

Willy Wonka tends to speak in the wrong order. Maybe that is because his mind runs at a much faster speed than his mouth. To fix that, he simply says “Scratch that, reverse it.” We know it from the 1971 movie, but he also does it in the new version.

2. Wonka’s unique stair walk

In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wonka shows his factory guests into the building. When they go into the main area, he walks down the steps quickly, then backs up a few steps before going down them again. As we saw in Wonka, even when alone, that’s just how Willy walks down the stairs.

3. Coin in a storm drain

At the start of Wonka, Willy heads off of a boat with a dozen coins to use to make his fortune. Sadly, he loses most of them quickly. One of them falls into a storm drain and Willy writes it off as a loss. It might not be the same coin, but Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka is only able to buy the chocolate bar with the winning tickets after finding a coin in a storm drain.

4. Edible decor

When Willy Wonka first opens the candy shop in Wonka, the decor of the shop is edible. They even encourage the customers to eat the shopping baskets. It’s a prelude to the wonderful scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where the main factory room is full of mind-blowing decor that you can eat.

5. Slugworth, Prodnose, and Fickelgruber

Willy Wonka told us about the villainous candy maker Slugworth, who stole Wonka’s recipes along with Prodnose and Fickelgruber. There are even products in the candy shop Charlie goes to that have candy with their names. Those same three candy makers are the ones who try to prevent Willy from selling any kind of chocolate.

6. Chocolate Boat Ride

Willy Wonka grew up on a riverboat with his mom. His whole drive in life is to recreate the happiness he felt at that time. In his first chocolate shop, there is a blue river with little boats. It really sets up a new meaning for the boat ride that he takes the tour group on.

7. Oompa Loompas

Oompa Loompas work in Willy Wonka’s factory. Without them, he couldn’t make as much candy as he does. In Wonka, Willy unknowingly visits Loompaland and steals some chocolate beans. An Oompa Loompa (Hugh Grant) had to go after Willy to get a 1,000-fold payment. Later Willy offers the same Oompa Loompa a job in the candy factory’s tasting department. (This is a welcome departure from the Oompa Loompa’s original dark origin story in Roald Dahl’s novel.)

8. Reading a contract’s fine print

Young Willy fails to read the fine print of Mrs. Scrubitt’s (Olivia Colman) contract. Because of that, he ends up owning her a lot of money and must work it off in her laundry. Willy never forgot that lesson, as he later implemented lengthy contracts for the Golden Ticket winners to find. He even tells them to make sure to read the fine print.

9. A lifetime supply of chocolate

The five Golden Ticket winners have an opportunity to win a lifetime supply of chocolate in Willy Wonka. But it was back in Wonka, before he even had a factory, that Willy first offered a lifetime supply of chocolate to Noodle (Calah Lane) as part of their business agreement.

10. Wonka products make you fly

Charlie Bucket and his Grandpa Joe drink Fizzy Lifting Drink during the tour of Wonka’s factory. They float up into the sky and must burp to get back down to the ground. Willy first created a different candy with similar effects with Hoverchocs. These chocolates made you fly because of a little bug in them that you had to fart out to get rid of.

11. Oompa Loompa song and whistle

Every time a child gets into trouble in Willy Wonka, the Oompa Loompas sing a song to explain how to be good children. The first time Willy heard that song was when a captured Oompa Loompa sang the song to tell Willy he stole beans. That Oompa Loompa uses a whistle to set the tune that looks and sounds just like one the older Wonka uses to summon the Oompa Loompas.

12. Laundry service

Willy, and the new friends he meets, are forced to work in Mrs. Scrubbit’s laundry, much like Charlie Bucket’s mother does. I guess it is a universal feeling that no one wants to do laundry.

13. Drowning in chocolate

Everyone knows that scene where Augustus Gloop falls into the chocolate river during the Wonka factory tour. Covered in chocolate, the adults (besides Wonka) feel he will drown before he is sucked into a tube and eventually blasted out to the fudge room. Wonka, and his friend Noodle, know how that feels as they almost drowned in chocolate themselves until the Oompa Loompa saved them.

14. Wonka’s inventions

The older Wonka is an active inventor, always trying to find new ways to make tasty candies. It’s a tendency he’s had for a long time. The younger Wonka seems to have limitless gadgets he’s made. He also can toss together something to make their lives easier, like he did in the laundry. It was all very similar to how his factory would eventually run.

15. Belt popping

The Chief of Police (Keegan-Michael Key) in Wonka loves chocolate. He balloons in size after eating hundreds of bribery chocolates. He grows so much that the buckle on his belt pops. It’s not the same as when Violet Beauregarde turns into a blueberry, but their belts react in the same way. Also, both characters had physical ramifications for taking things they shouldn’t have.

16. “Good day, sir!”

The ending of Willy Wonka had Willy yelling “Good day, sir!” Well, he may have picked up that exasperated turn of phrase from Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa when he tries to leave the younger Wonka.

17. Wonka’s cane

Wonka’s cane seems to be an extension of the man himself. It’s something unique and unlike most other canes. We don’t know how he got the cane, but it is something Wonka has had for a long time. It can stand on its own. It also has other little secrets, like creating a coat and hat rack.

18. The Golden Ticket

Young Willy Wonka holds onto a chocolate bar his mom made him. When he finally thinks he’s succeeded, he unwraps the bar. Inside is a little gold paper with a heartwarming message from his mom explaining the secret to good chocolate is who you share it with. Now we know why he picked Golden Tickets for the prize factory tour later on.

19. A world of pure imagination

At the end of Wonka, Willy sings the song “Pure Imagination” as a factory takes shape in an abandoned castle. It’s the same song Gene Wilder’s character famously sang when bringing the kids into the factory for the first time.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.