‘Wonka’ Trailer Teases a Sweet and Whimsical Origin Story

When Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory came out in 1971, it was a fun, delightful, slightly dark in tone musical escapade that explored the morality of humanity and how some of the characters got just what they deserved for their unruly behavior.

Over 50 years later, Paddington director Paul King is giving us Wonka, an update that just as whimiscal and slightly more hopeful. And with Timothée Chalamet in the title role, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time — proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

Wonka is an origin story that explores Willy’s start as a candy confectioner with hopes and dreams of becoming a premier chocolatier. The trailer opens with some exposition, where the title character talks about his travels and how he’s been perfecting his craft. It’s an eccentric and whimsy performance and one that has echoes of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka, but with just a little bit more charm to it since Chalamet is in the role. There doesn’t seem to be a hint of malice or agenda in this film as all Wonka wants to do is remind us that there is still good in this world. Of course, since this is coming from the guy who has directed two Paddington films, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it shares the same energy.

So it will be interesting to see if Chalamet is up to the task of honoring the Wilder performance while also making it is own.

Starring alongside Chalamet are Calah Lane (The Day Shall Come), Emmy and Peabody Award winner Keegan-Michael Key (The Prom, Schmigadoon), Paterson Joseph (Vigil, Noughts + Crosses), Matt Lucas (Paddington, Little Britain), Mathew Baynton (The Wrong Mans, Ghosts), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, the Paddington films, Spencer), (the Johnny English and Mr. Bean films, Love Actually), Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), with Oscar winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite).  The film also stars Natasha Rothwell (White Lotus, Insecure), Rich Fulcher (Marriage Story, Disenchantment), Rakhee Thakrar (Sex Education, Four Weddings and a Funeral), Tom Davis (Paddington 2, King Gary) and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Paddington 2, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Mary Poppins Returns).

WB opens the doors to Wonka in theaters on December 15, 2023.