Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) daydreaming in 'Wonka'.

‘Wonka’ Is on Course To Be the Most Cheerful Supervillain Origin Story of the Year

Ever since the world caught sight of that first Wonka trailer, the responses have been about as mixed as it gets. The production value and Timothée Chalamet’s towering charisma brought in its fair share of proponents, but the controversial casting of Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa coupled with the routine groans about IP-heavy cinema made space for just as many detractors.

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Now that we know that Wonka is “rated PG for some violence, mild language, and thematic elements,” the question on most everyone’s mind should be something in the vein of “why does this prequel about a fuchsia-clad serial killer look so damn whimsical?”

Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but “bit” is the key word there. Anyone familiar with Willy Wonka or any Chocolate Factory-related works knows exactly how relentlessly morbid these stories—complete with mostly dubious fates of misbehaved children and the knife’s-edge nature of the eccentric factory owner—tend to be.

This isn’t to say that tonal departures are an inherently bad creative decision, of course, but you have to admit that watching Willy Wonka rise to the top of the chocolate world as a bright-eyed, big-hearted boy when you know exactly how unhinged he gets as an older adult might just evoke an unavoidable dissonance that takes over the viewing experience.

Still, who’s to say Wonka won’t surprise us with a darker callback to the Willys that many generations have grown up with? And who’s to say that that aforementioned dissonance won’t elevate the film in a strangely unique way for some? Whatever the case may be, Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp will no doubt be in the back of many minds once audiences start getting their tickets for Wonka, and whether that’s for better or worse, it will nevertheless be infinitely interesting to see what Chalamet brings to this cavity-happy mythos.

Wonka hits theaters on December 15.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Charlotte Simmons
Charlotte is a freelance writer at The Mary Sue and We Got This Covered. She's been writing professionally since 2018 (a year before she completed her English and Journalism degrees at St. Thomas University), and is likely to exert herself if given the chance to write about film or video games.