Wonka is hitting theaters and those in and around Hollywood are excited to see how it plays out. Starring Timothée Chalamet in the titular role and Hugh Grant as one of his Oompa Loompas, Wonka has gotten great reviews from critics and just might be one of the year’s biggest surprises. Warner Bros. is certainly hoping so, with Wonka looking to be the biggest holiday family release.

Beyond Chalamet and Grant, the cast is absolutely stacked to the brim with talented actors. Keegan-Michael Key, Calah Lane, Olivia Colman, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Tom Davis, and more all feature in the film. That might be enough to get most to theaters, but for those who haven’t been paying much attention to the trailers or marketing campaign, there are a few things about Wonka that might surprise you – in a good way. Here’s what to know about the movie.

The Director Of Paddington & Paddington 2 Wrote & Directed It

When Wonka was first announced, it’s fair to say few people were excited. Instead, It was more of a headscratcher, with most people wondering why we possibly needed a movie about Willy Wonka. Interest was piqued, though, when it was announced that Paul King would be directing Wonka as well as co-writing the script with Simon Farnaby.

For those wondering why the addition of King is so exciting, it’s because he does great work–he was, after all, the man behind critical and commercial darlings Paddington and Paddington 2. King has a knack for taking material that would be trite and overly twee in another filmmaker’s hands and infusing it with a depth and honest warmth that is hard to balance. It’s even more promising that he co-wrote the script with his Paddington 2 writing partner Farnaby. The pair have proven they do great work together, and they do their best work with whimsy. Wonka is right in their wheelhouse.

Yes, It’s A Musical

Though a few set photos and stills from the movie have hinted as much, the trailers have been weirdly reluctant to put the fact that Wonka is a musical front and center. The logical explanation for this is that the marketing team felt the connotation associated with musicals only draws a certain demographic to theaters when Wonka is meant to be a four-quadrant pic. But whatever the reason, yes, Wonka is a musical.

Seven original songs were penned by Paul King (more on him later) and Simon Farnaby, and composed by Neil Hannon. The cast sings them throughout the movie, including Chalamet, who tackles his singing debut with the movie. While Joby Talbot composed the score, that is, of course, separate from the soundtrack. Here are the original songs in Wonka:

  1. A Hatful of Dreams
  2. You’ve Never Had Chocolate Like This (Hoverchocs)
  3. Scrub Scrub
  4. Sweet Tooth
  5. For a Moment
  6. A World of Your Own
  7. Sorry, Noodle

In addition, Chalamet and Grant also sing new versions of “Oompa Loompa” and “Pure Imagination” from the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

It’s Also A Prequel

One might have guessed it from the trailers, but Wonka is a prequel movie. With so many franchises launching (or rebooting) with much younger versions of the main characters, though, it’s totally understandable to not be certain on that point. But a prequel it is, with Wonka telling the origin story of chocolatier Willy Wonka’s journey from a young man with big dreams to the beloved and eccentric candy maker.

When the movie begins, Wonka is just an aspiring inventor, chocolatier, and magician who arrives by ship in a new European city, bent on opening his own chocolate shop in a famous market. However, the confident young candymaker has been so busy with his head in the candy clouds that he never really had time to learn street smarts, and he’s swindled, bamboozled, and taken advantage of on his way to discovering his dreams may not be so easy to achieve. Of course, everyone knows that by the end of the movie, Willy Wonka will have opened his factory – after all, we’ve seen the original movie or read the book. But half the fun is watching him get there, and it feels right and natural that Wonka is a prequel movie.

Get tickets to Wonka.

  • Editorial