Wonka: Release date, cast, plot for the Timothée Chalamet prequel

Timothee Chalamet will play the chocolate factory owner in a new prequel

·5-min read
Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.  12th October 2021.  Scenes for the new Wonka movie starring Timothée Chalamet being filmed on The Cobb harbour at Lyme Regis in Dorset this afternoon.  Timothée Chalamet who is playing the young Willy Wonka, is seen riding on top of a van roof. Picture Credit: Graham Hunt/Alamy Live News
Scenes for the new Wonka movie starring Timothée Chalamet being filmed on The Cobb harbour at Lyme Regis in Dorset. (Graham Hunt/Alamy Live News)

Fans of the Roald Dahl classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be wanting to grab their golden tickets once more, as 2023 marks the release of Warner Bros. blockbuster Wonka.

Following in the footsteps of the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and the 2005 adaptation with the same name as the novel, the new film will explore the early years of the eccentric chocolatier.

Warner Bros. first acquired the rights to Willy Wonka himself back in 2016, with initial production negotiations beginning in 2018.

Read more: Why is Warner Bros. making a Willy Wonka prequel?

Here’s everything we know about Wonka so far.

Wonka release date

Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Credit: Paramount)
Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (Paramount)

Wonka is currently scheduled to be released on 15 December, 2023.

The film was initially scheduled for release in March 2023, but was pushed back through adjustments to the Warner Bros. 2022/2023 film slate.

With the majority of filming taking place in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s more than likely that Wonka will be ready for its new December release date.

Wonka cast

American actor Timothée Chalamet during the photocall for the presentation of the film Bones and All, at the Hotel de la Ville. Rome (Italy), November 12th, 2022 (Photo by Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Timothée Chalamet, seen here in 2021, will play the chocolatier. (Getty Images)

Only three stars currently have confirmed roles in this adaptation of Wonka.

Bones and All and Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet will appear in the titular role, fresh from the November release of Dune: Part Two. He was announced to play Willy Wonka in 2021. The famous chocolate maker was previously played by the late Gene Wilder, in the beloved 1971 original film, and Johnny Depp, in the 2005 remake.

Peep Show actor Paterson Joseph is also set to star as Arthur Slugworth, one of Wonka’s rival chocolatiers.

Also, as revealed during CinemaCon 2023, Hugh Grant has been confirmed to appear as an Oompa-Loompa, with footage of his performance shared with those in attendance at the event in Las Vegas.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 14/09/2021 - Programme Name: Vigil - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 5) - Picture Shows:  Newsome (PATERSON JOSEPH) - (C) World Productions - Photographer: Screengrab
Paterson Joseph recently starred in the BBC's submarine drama Vigil. (World Productions)

Though their roles are yet unknown, there are plenty of other cast members slated to star in Wonka. Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson is set to appear in the film, alongside The Shape Of Water actress Sally Hawkins.

The Favourite Oscar-winner Olivia Colman is also billed on the castlist, with Matt Lucas and Keegan-Michael Key additionally scheduled for Wonka roles.

Other names include The Mighty Boosh star Rich Fulcher, Ghosts' Simon Farnaby, Downton Abbey's Jim Carter, comedian Natasha Rothwell, Murder in Successville's Tom Davis, Horrible Histories' Matthew Baynton, and stage actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.

Wonka director and writers

LYME REGIS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Timothée Chalamet is seen as Willy Wonka with director Paul King during filming for the Warner Bros and the Roald Dahl Story Company's upcoming movie 'Wonka' on October 12, 2021, in Lyme Regis, England. This film will focus on the young Willy Wonka on his earliest adventure and how he met the Oompa-Loompas. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka with director Paul King during filming on Wonka in October 2021. (Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

Wonka is set to be directed by Paul King, who has previously worked on films including Paddington and its 2017 sequel, and Bunny and the Bull.

King was officially announced as the film’s director back in early 2021, alongside the announcement of the film’s new title.

Read more: Roald Dahl hated Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

The screenplay has been co-written by both King and Simon Farnaby, who is known for his work on Horrible Histories and Paddington 2.

The production team includes David Heyman, Luke Kelly, and Alexandra Derbyshire.

Wonka filming locations

Jordan Fry, Adam Godley & Johnny Depp Film: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (USA/UK/AUS 2005) Characters: Mike Teavee,Mr. Teavee & Willy Wonka  Director: Tim Burton 10 July 2005   **WARNING** This Photograph is for editorial use only and is the copyright of WARNER BROS. and/or the Photographer assigned by the Film or Production Company and can only be reproduced by publications in conjunction with the promotion of the above Film. A Mandatory Credit To WARNER BROS. is required. The Photographer should also be credited when known. No commercial use can be granted without written authority from
Jordan Fry, Adam Godley and Johnny Depp in 2005's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. (Alamy)

Filming took for Wonka place across England and Utah in the United States. In early 2022, Chalamet was spotted on set at Verulamium Park in St. Albans, which had been transformed into a wintry landscape with the help of fake snow.

Other UK locations have included Bath, Lyme Regis, Mapledurham and Wendover Airport, as well as the Warner Bros. studios in Leavesden, near Watford.

Wonka plot

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory Year : 1971- USA Director : Mel Stuart Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder with the Oompa Loompas in 1971's Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. (Alamy)

It has been revealed that Wonka will act as a prequel to the original 1964 novel, following a younger version of Willy Wonka in the days before he set up his infamous chocolate factory.

Specific plot details are as yet unknown, but it has been announced that Wonka will be a musical adaptation. In an interview with British Vogue, Chalamet revealed that he has seven musical numbers throughout the film, citing them as an “escape” to everyday life.

Read more: Movies delayed by legal battles

Speaking to ScreenRant in early 2022, star Natasha Rothwell said: “I can't give away anything. I feel like I signed everything away to do it. But I had so much fun. I literally got back a few weeks ago from shooting in London. I was there for five months and I just think audiences are going to enjoy it.”

The current IMDB synopsis for Wonka reads as follows:

“The story will focus specifically on a young Willy Wonka and how he met the Oompa-Loompas on one of his earliest adventures.”

Wonka trailer

Scenes for the new Wonka movie starring Timothée Chalamet being filmed on The Cobb harbour at Lyme Regis in Dorset on 11th October 2021. Picture Credi
Scenes for the new Wonka movie starring Timothée Chalamet being filmed on The Cobb harbour at Lyme Regis in Dorset in 2021. (Alamy)

Currently, there is no trailer for Wonka.

The movie is in post-production, but expect the first trailers to appear during the summer blockbuster period.

Some behind-the-scenes footage has been released on YouTube, including a clip of Chalamet filming a scene in Lyme Regis.

In another short clip, he can he heard singing atop a vehicle moving through The Cobb harbour.

Wonka is coming to cinemas on 15 December.