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

Gene Wilder and the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

It has been a little 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 a little less than a year from now, 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 (and hopefully cane) 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 upcoming movie, 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 when Wonka lands on the big screen. 

What Is The Wonka Release Date?

Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

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 15, 2023, 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 identities of their respective roles, outside of Chalamet as a young Wonka, have not yet been revealed by Warner Bros., but the cast 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.

Expect to hear more about the Wonka cast, and the identities of their characters, as we get closer to the film’s December 2023 release date. 

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

Blair Dunlop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Unlike the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Tim Burton’s 2005 reimagining Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the upcomingWonka will follow the titular character long before he was running a successful (and rather dangerous) candy factory. What kind of adventures Willy Wonka will explore in this fantastical origin story have yet to be revealed but expect them to be pure and full of imagination, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll involve the song-and-dance enthusiasts known as the Oompa Loompas

Though the clip has not yet been made public, Variety reported in April 2022 that Warner Bros. showcased some footage at CinemaCon that showed Chalamet’s version of Wonka selling chocolate (and the prospect of joy and happiness) on the streets before being chased by the police and clergymen. The trailer also reportedly featured several musical numbers involving Wonka and other characters.  

Wonka Is Being Helmed By Paddington Director Paul King

Paddington in Paddington 2

(Image credit: StudioCanal)

Again, we don’t yet know much about the story or plot details concerning Wonka, but the prior work of the film’s writer/director could be an indication and what we can expect. Warner Bros. has announced that Paul King, the filmmaker behind 2014’s Paddington and its successful 2017 sequel Paddington 2 (both of which received perfect scores here at CinemaBlend) who has since left the franchise, co-wrote Wonka alongside Simon Farnaby and will direct the upcoming origin story. 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

The Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory cast

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

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, Timothee 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.  

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

Timothée Chalamet in The French Dispatch screenshot

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

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, Timothée 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 Willy Wonka, only this time we’ll see him before he became the famous reclusive candy maker. 

Expect to hear a lot more about Wonka as we get closer to the movie’s December 15, 2023 release date. 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 yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.