Back in February, we learned that Paddington 2 director Paul King was in negotiations to direct a Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory prequel for Warner Bros., a development which left many of us split right up the middle: on the one hand, if you're gonna make another Willy Wonka movie, Paul King would definitely be a great choice to direct it; on the other hand, the world has no real need for a Willy Wonka prequel.
Today we learn that WB and King are moving ahead with the project, and are now in the process of casting the film's lead. According to a new report from our friends over at Collider, their wish list includes three very surprising names:
"Four months after hiring Paddington helmer Paul King to direct its new Willy Wonka movie, Warner Bros. has begun putting together a shortlist of stars for the titular role, and we hear it’s led by Ryan Gosling, Donald Glover and Ezra Miller."
If you're only just now hearing about this, King's film will tell the backstory of Willy Wonka, professional candy man. Presumably, the film will tell us where he got his start, where he got his hat, where he got his ideas, and how he came to be best friends with Chewbacca.
If this project sounds familiar, it's because another Willy Wonka prequel was making the rounds back in 2014. That script, titled Wonka and written by Jason Micallef, was one of the craziest things we've ever read, a dark-n-gritty telling of Willy Wonka's origin that featured - among other things - a moment wherein Willy Wonka finds himself framed for sexual assault. Rest assured, this is not that movie. King's script was written Simon Rich, and will almost certainly skew a little less, uh, gross.
Anyway, what do we think of their wish list? These are all fine choices - casting Glover or Miller in the role feels particularly inspired; Gosling kinda feels like the outlier here - but again: we're still not convinced this movie needs to exist (admittedly, that may be the acute Prequelitis talking).
Head on over to Collider to read the rest of their report, or just hit the comments section to share your own thoughts and feelings about the concept of a Willy Wonka prequel, as well as the casting choices floated above. We'll let you know when further updates roll in.