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Timothée Chalamet to Star in Willy Wonka Origin Story and … Okay?

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Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name and Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Timothée Chalamet is heading to his own chocolate factory in an origin story for the famed chocolatier Willy Wonka. Wonka, the movie no one asked for, is set to give us the story of how Willy Wonka grew to fame and became a recluse in his own chocolate factory. Why this is happening is beyond me, but here we are.

According to Deadline, the movie will be a musical adventure for Chalamet and the first time that he gets to sing and dance onscreen, but it also makes me a little more optimistic about the movie, because at least that way it’s more in the same vein as the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from 1971.

“Timothée Chalamet is ready to head to a world of pure imagination as the Oscar-nominated actor is set to star as the iconic inventor and chocolate maker in Warner Bros and the Roald Dahl Story Co.’s Wonka. Based on characters created by Roald Dahl, the story will focus on a young Willy Wonka and his adventures prior to opening the world’s most famous chocolate factory. Sources also tell Deadline that Wonka will mark the first time Chalamet gets to show off his singing and dancing skills with several musical numbers set to appear in the film. He’s been the top choice for some time but scheduling was a hurdle that had to be overcome as training for those numbers is included in the prep for this film.”

Both Chalamet and Tom Holland had been up for the role, and it sets a very specific timeframe for Wonka. Both actors are in their mid-twenties, and when we see Willy Wonka reopening his factory, he’s in his mid to late 50s. So, the prequel could get into a lot of who Willy Wonka ends up becoming. But also, as our Kaila Hale-Stern wrote, do we even need this?

While I love Chalamet, I have some questions. Mainly: Why? One thing I’ve never understood is the dedication that people have to remaking Willy Wonka’s story or telling us how he ended up becoming the recluse we meet with Charlie Bucket, and there is a perfectly good sequel story that no one has ever tried to make into a movie. When will I get my Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator justice?

With this “origin” story of sorts, we’re just getting too much information about the man behind the tricks that we don’t need. The point of Willy Wonka is that he always is one step ahead of Charlie Bucket and has his plans set in motion. He’s an aloof figure whose entire allure came from the fact that no one really knew what happened to him.

Granted, I will give the movie this: We’re learning about how he became the great chocolate man, not why he went into hiding or what happened that led to him opening his factory up with the chocolate tickets. Still, I don’t necessarily think that’s information we need to have with Willy Wonka.

What’s going to be a bit interesting is seeing how Chalamet tackles a role like this. While he showed his comedic prowess hosting Saturday Night Live, he has a track record for playing more dramatic roles onscreen, so the showman that is Willy Wonka will be a bit of a departure for the Call Me By Your Name star.

I don’t want to completely write this off because I love the legacy of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but mainly because I love Gene Wilder. So, if Chalamet is gearing up to channel his best Wilder vibes into this role, I’m here for it. Otherwise, I’m very much side-eying this entire adventure—especially because, again, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator exists and we can just make that!!!!

(via Deadline, image: Sony/Paramount Pictures)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.