Wonka: first look, release date, cast, plot, and everything we know

Timothée Chalamet is seen as Willy Wonka during filming in Lyme Regis, England. (Image credit: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

Wonka is a highly anticipated new film that will focus on a young Willy Wonka, prior to the events of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The film is directed by Paul King and written by both King and Simon Farnaby. 

This will be the first time we've seen Willy Wonka on-screen since Johnny Depp played him in the 2005 film. Prior to that Gene Wilder took on the role in 1971. But both of these showed Wonka when he already owned the chocolate factory so, in the upcoming film, we'll be getting a look at who he was prior to that.

Here's everything we know about the film so far...

Wonka release date

Wonka is set to be released on Friday, December 15, 2023, having been pushed back from its original release date of Monday, March 17, 2023. So fans have a little while to wait before we'll be seeing the new adaptation on the big screen.

Check out our new movies 2023 guide for movies coming out in 2023.

What is the plot of Wonka?

We don't have full plot details yet, but we do know it's going to be a prequel. The official synopsis so far is: "An origin story that explores the vivid, mythical beginnings of the imaginative young inventor before he becomes the renowned scrumdiddlyumptious Mozart of chocolate."

According to Deadline: "Wonka will mark the first time Chalamet gets to show off his singing and dancing skills with several musical numbers set to appear in the film. He’s been the top choice for some time but scheduling was a hurdle that had to be overcome as training for those numbers is included in the prep for this film."

Once we know more about what to expect from the prequel's storyline, we'll be sure to let you know!

Who's in the cast?

Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) has been cast in the lead role of Wonka. In October last year, he shared a first-look image of himself in the iconic costume with the top hat and brightly colored jacket. The second photo shows a tiny wrapped present in what could be the famous Willy Wonka cane. It's hard to tell but the suspense is killing us — just like Timothée, judging by his caption!

This will also be the first film to feature Timothée Chalamet singing and dancing, with musical numbers written by The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon. Timothée's most recent role saw him as the lead of Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Other names have been confirmed, but it's not yet clear what roles each person will be playing. Names attached to Wonka include Keegan-Michael Key, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Colman and Jim Carter.

Meanwhile, new reports have teased that Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves star Hugh Grant plays an Oompa Loompa in the upcoming movie. 

Reporting from Cinema Con, Germain Lussier said: "Extended trailer for Wonka too. Shows him originating all of his special chocolates against the will of an evil chocolate cartel. Ends with HUGH GRANT as an Oompa Loompa, the first one Willy meets. He sings for him. Looks very joyous and bright and fun."

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Is there a trailer yet?

It's way too early for a trailer, but we'll share one here once it arrives!

Where is Wonka being filmed? 

Wonka is being filmed all over the UK. The cast and crew have been spotted in Lyme Regis in Dorset, Eltham Palace in southeast London and Bath in Somerset. Filming is also taking place at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, where the Harry Potter films were shot.

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress