It’s not exactly a state secret that Warner Bros is among the studios that is desperately trying to find a franchise that can do for them what Marvel has done for Disney. Unlike the similarly desperate Sony, Warner has a number of properties in house (such as the DC heroes), though that certainly hasn’t stopped the studio from scooping up any film rights that it feels have franchise potential.
Warner’s most recent acquisition, according to ‘Variety‘, is the film rights to Willy Wonka. To clarify, those rights would appear to encompass not only the two published Wonka stories (‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’), but also the character generally. That might seem like a small detail, but on top of the announcement of the rights acquisition, Warner is also announcing that they have a film in development focused specifically on the Willy Wonka character.
The as yet untitled film is being developed under the stewardship of producer David Heyman, who is perhaps best known for his work on the ‘Harry Potter’ films and the soon to be released ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’. Writer Simon Rich (of ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ fame) is attached to provide the screenplay. ‘Variety’ cites anonymous sources in reporting that the film – intended as the first in a series – will “not be an origin,” but will focus on Wonka’s “early adventures”, a subject never addressed by original author Roald Dahl. If the film is successful, as Warner obviously hopes it will be, further installments will no doubt follow, presumably culminating in a adaptations of Dahl’s original works. This could prove contentious, as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ in particular is not only a beloved work unto itself, but has previously been adapted in the classic 1971 film starring Gene Wilder and a less well-regarded version by Tim Burton in 2005.
Do Warner’s plans for the license sound like something you’re interested in? What would you like to see from future Wonka films? Let us know in the comments!