Wonka: Release Date, Trailer And Everything Else We Know About The Movie

Timothée Chalamet giving a speech in a square in Wonka.
(Image credit: Warmer Bros.)

It has been more than 50 years since the late Gene Wilder took us to a world of pure imagination in the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and in just a few months, Timothée Chalamet will take us back to where it all began for Roald Dahl’s beloved chocolatier. In the very near future, one of Hollywood’s brightest stars will don the iconic coat and top hat as he stars in Wonka, an origin story for Willy Wonka and how he came to be the most famous candy maker of all time.

If this is the first you’re hearing about the prequel, worry not, for we have put together a quick yet comprehensive guide of all the scrumdiddlyumptious information we have so far, which includes the release date, cast, and what audiences can expect to see in the upcoming book-to-screen adaptation.  

What Is The Wonka Release Date?

The Wonka logo

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Fans who have been waiting to see the origin story of one of Roald Dahl’s most iconic characters don’t have all that much time to kill as Wonka is set to open in theaters on December 15th, according to Deadline. The movie was slated for a Spring 2023 debut, but the release was pushed back by a little less than nine months as part of Warner Bros.’ March 2022 reshuffling of its release schedule.

The Wonka Cast Includes Timothée Chalamet, Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins, Keegan-Michael Key And More

Timothée Chalamet in Little Women; Rowan Atkinson in Love Actually; Sally Hawkins in Paddington; Keegan-Michael Key in Dolemite is My Name

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing; Universal Pictures; StudioCanal; Netflix)

Taking on the role of the titular chocolatier in Wonka will be Timothée Chalamet, who will be joined by a few of the most charismatic faces (and voices) in show business today. The Wonka cast also includes Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Colman, Mathew Baynton, Jim Carter, Tom Davis, Simon Farnaby (who also co-wrote the film), Matt Lucas, and Natasha Rothwell, according to Deadline. It was revealed by IGN in April 2023 that Hugh Grant had joined the cast as an Oompa Loompa in the upcoming picture.

The Wonka Trailer Offers A Glimpse Of A World Of Pure Imagination

Timothee Chalamet in Wonka

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In July 2023, Warner Bros. gave the world its first taste of what’s to come later this year with the first Wonka trailer. This magical, humorous, and visually impressive two-and-a-half-minute preview of the prequel based on one of Roald Dahl’s most beloved characters is full of charm, wit, and yes, even Hugh Grant’s dancing Oompa Loompa. If you have ever wanted to know how Willy Wonka became a legend of the candy world, iit looks like this movie will set us on our way.

In addition to delectable chocolate treats and fantastical sweets with effects that defy gravity and logic, the trailer also introduces some of the major players who’ll be front and center throughout the movie, including those characters supporting the boy wonder as well as the dreaded Chocolate Cartel who’ll stop at nothing to put a stop to Wonka’s fun.

The Movie Will Follow A Young Willy Wonka Before He Opens His Iconic Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka daydreaming of a chocolate store in Wonka

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Unlike the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Tim Burton’s 2005 reimagining Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the upcoming Wonka will follow the titular character long before he was running a successful (and rather dangerous) candy factory. Judging by what we’ve seen in the first trailer, the movie will see the inventive and magical chocolate-maker try to make his mark on the world, a journey that puts him on a collision course with the Chocolate Cartel, which includes longtime rival Arthur Slugworth (Paterson Joseph) and his established candy-makers.  

Wonka Is Being Helmed By Paddington Director Paul King

Paddington in Paddington 2

(Image credit: StudioCanal)

Paul King, the filmmaker behind 2014’s Paddington and its successful 2017 sequel Paddington 2 (both of which received perfect scores here at CinemaBlend), and who has since left the franchise, will helm Wonka, which he co-wrote alongside Simon Farnaby. Those two movies, which were well-received by critics, children, and parents alike (a rare feat in today’s world) and were all around charming adventures. With his experience in adapting beloved children’s books into box office hits, it looks like Wonka is in good hands. 

Wonka Will Feature At Least Seven New Original Songs

A dance number in Wonka

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Like the previous two adaptations of Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the upcoming movie will also be full of great and magical musical moments. Warner Bros. has announced that Neil Hannon, the creative mind behind the Northern Irish pop-rock band The Divine Comedy, has been tasked with creating new original songs for Wonka. Throughout his career, Hannon has performed songs that have appeared on Doctor Who as well as the theme songs for Father Ted and The IT Crowd.

It has not yet been revealed if we’ll get a new rendition of “Pure Imagination” or hear any of those classic Oompa Loompa cautionary songs, but when speaking with British Vogue in October 2022, Timothée Chalamet revealed that he will be be singing seven songs, though he didn’t reveal if there were numbers in which he wouldn’t be involved.   

An Actual Chocolatier Was On Set Throughout The Wonka Production

Timothee Chalamet and Hugh Grant in Wonka

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Paul King and company could have very well used plastic or rubber props to stand in for all of the imaginative treated concocted in Wonka, but as the director told People in July 2023, the production enlisted the services of a chocolatier, who cooked up everything from small treats to an “enormous vat” of hot chocolate for a scene in the movie:

We had this incredible chocolatier. She made these incredible concoctions, and we would taste them. They tasted much better than they needed to, because obviously actors are good at pretending things, but the miracle was they tasted every bit as good as they looked. … We actually made an enormous vat of hot chocolate — not scalding, just warm hot chocolate for them to immerse themselves in. So there was a lot of chocolate around.

The director also joked about how the chocolate and other sweets were so delicious that it was a “miracle” that star Timothee Chalamet remained so thin throughout the whole process.

Wonka Is A ‘Companion Piece’ To The 1971 Gene Wilder Classic

Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Even though some would argue that Wonka’s version of the titular chocolatier misses the point of the original character, director Paul King views the upcoming movie as a “companion piece” to the 1971 classic starring Gene Wilder. When speaking with EW after the release of the first trailer, King had this to say about not wanting to reinvent the beloved movie:

What I wanted this movie to be was like a companion piece to that movie. If you imagine those people in that world 25 years earlier, that was my starting process. Eventually, he would grow into that person and that factory.

And judging by what we’ve seen in the trailer, the prequel very much feels like it’s part of that original story. Sure, Chalamet’s interpretation of the character is more sincere and hopeful than Wilder’s iconic take, but we have to remember that this Wonka is much older and less jaded than the one who may or may not have killed young children.

Timothée Chalamet Has Described Wonka As Being A ‘Celebration Of Being Off-Center’

Timothee Chalamet in Wonka

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Many of Roald Dahl’s classic novels and short stories can be seen as being dark and cynical, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is no different. However, this doesn’t mean the imaginative writer didn’t champion the weirdness of his various characters, which appears to be the case in the upcoming Wonka. In an October 2021 chat with Time Magazine, Chalamet touched on the film’s tone and what audiences can expect, saying:

It’s not mining the darker emotions in life. It’s a celebration of being off-center and being O.K. with the weirder parts of you that don’t quite fit in.

This “celebration of being off-center” seems to be very much in line with previous versions of the character, only this time we’ll see him before he became the famous reclusive candy maker.  

Well, now you know everything there is to know about Wonka ahead of its December 15th release. If you want to know what else is coming to the big screen (as well as the various streaming services), check out our 2023 movie schedule so you don’t miss a thing.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.