Warning! Spoilers For Snowpiercer and Dune ahead
A popular Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory fan theory poses that Wonka is actually a child serial killer, purposefully choosing terrible children to visit his factory so he can kill them. Charlie Bucket, a poor boy whose biggest luxury is a Wonka Bar, miraculously finds a Golden Ticket in his chocolate bar and joins four kids on a tour of the Wonka Factory. The five families explore the secret factory and its fantastic candy world, advanced science, and multifaceted laboratories while every misadventure is cleaned up by the singing Oompa Loompas.
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Willy Wonka is one of the most memorable characters in modern history, leading the popular 1971 film to change the title from the book’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (also the 2005 remake’s title) to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Wonka has lived in isolation since closing his factory to the public after competitors tried to steal his recipes, fueling the eccentricity seen in his encounters with his factory guests. Wonka is wary of human nature, and his invitation to tour his factory is his way of testing his theory of human selfishness and greed on an international group of children.
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Willy Wonka’s own theories about children aren’t the only fascinating ones to consider, however. Plenty of bizarre hypotheses exist about Willy Wonka himself, thanks to the cult following that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has amassed over the years. Here are some of the top theories about the mysterious Gene Wilder/Johnny Depp character.
Was Willy Wonka Really A Serial Killer?
Wonka’s solitary and peculiar nature has inspired a fan theory that the chocolate factory owner is a child serial killer. The theory is based on the idea that Wonka intentionally chose his victims for the tour and tempted them with a weakness he knew they would succumb to, leading to their deaths. Augustus Gloop is sucked into the chocolate river, Veruca Salt is projected down an ambiguous garbage shoot, Violet Beauregarde is turned into a human blueberry, and Mike Teevee is shrunk to 3 inches. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory never details exactly what happened to the four spoiled kids, but it’s assumed their demises led to death.
The four kids who “die” throughout the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie aren’t sympathetic characters. They are the antitheses to Charlie’s kind nature, so Wonka may (wrongly) believe that murdering them is a way to rid society of greedy people. Augustus is a gluttonous boy whose only desire is to eat, at whatever cost. He may have been notable to the factory for consuming high quantities of Wonka Bars, gaining the attention of Wonka himself. Veruca is a spoiled, rude brat whose vast wealth and bad manners are noticed by anyone who comes into contact with her. Wonka likely heard of her family’s selfish and extravagant tactic for finding one of the Golden Tickets, making sure she got one. Violet is self-obsessed, arrogant, and impulsive, which made her the easiest for Wonka to dupe into eating an unfinished product. Mike is a technology-obsessed know-it-all, an easy target for Wonka’s new technology laboratory.
Another note for Willy Wonka’s serial killer nature is his nonchalant, apathetic reactions to the life-or-death situations of the antagonistic children. It seems as if their demise was assumed since Wonka had no concern for their wellbeing. This perspective is corroborated by the Oompa Loompas’ clean-up, who tend to the deformed or transported children and exit the scenes singing songs about the immorality of each child. Just like Wonka, the Oompa Loompas in the borderline-horrific Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie are unfazed by the kid’s plight, as if their job is more to clean up after their boss’s murders than to maintain the factory.
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If the other children were all spoiled and greedy, purposefully brought in to be killed by Wonka, one might wonder why Charlie, a gentle poor boy, was also chosen. Wonka may have wanted to see if poor children could be just as greedy as wealthy children, originally intending for Charlie to die. Charlie was almost killed when he and Grandpa Joe drank some of the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, so he nearly fell in with Wonka’s supposed hypothesis. Since Charlie survived and ends up inheriting Wonka’s factory, it’s theorized Charlie will be groomed by Wonka into also becoming a serial killer of perceived terrible children.
Other Completely Bonkers Willy Wonka Fan Theories
In line with the concept that Wonka grooms Charlie into a new maniacal murderer, there’s a wild theory that Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer movie is a Willy Wonka sequel in which Charlie ends the world. Surprisingly, many aspects of this bizarre theory hold up rather well. In a scenario in which Wilford is really a grown-up Charlie Bucket, his knowledge of how to build a whimsical, self-sustaining mechanical world like the Snowpiercer train could logically have come from Willy Wonka, whose factory operated on similar principles. Likewise, Wilford, a.k.a. Charlie, uses a similar method for finding a successor that Wonka does, hiding messages in food for Curtis to find. This theory also coincides well with the idea of Willy Wonka being a serial killer, as he would have surely passed a total disregard for human life onto Charlie, a disregard which Wilford absolutely displays.
Will Timothèe Chalamet’s Willy Wonka Pick Up The Serial Killer Theory?
The upcoming Willy Wonka prequel movie starring Timothèe Chalamet has the opportunity to extend the Wonka-as-serial-killer theory. While it seems unlikely that Wonka would want to tarnish an almost universal childhood favorite by giving it such a dark twist, Chalamet could certainly handle such a story. His starring role as Paul Atreides in Dune will force him to play a similarly dark character in Villeneuve’s next films, as Emperor Paul Atreides becomes responsible for the genocide of billions. This might seem like a far cry from the whimsical Willy Wonka, but if the candy genius does have major skeletons in his closet, Chalamet seems like a great choice to explore this in Wonka.
When Is Wonka Coming Out And What Do We Already Know About It?
Exactly what take the Wonka prequel will offer on the iconic character remains to be seen, but the film is currently slated for a December 2023 release. At one point Wonka’s release date was in March of 2023, but Warner Bros. bumped it back along with several other COVID-delayed projects. Very few details are currently available about Wonka’s story other than the fact that it will highlight the candyman’s younger years. In addition to Chalamet, Wonka also features such notable stars as Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key, Sally Hawkins, and Rowan Atkinson, according to IMDb. If Wonka attracts even close to the cult following that the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has, it’s sure to generate plenty of buzz, serial killer or not.
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About The Author
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Jordan Williams is a Movie/TV Feature Senior Staff Writer for Screen Rant. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Media Studies.
Jordan is based in Seattle, Washington and enjoys exploring the natural beauty the PNW has to offer. She runs on coffee and classic movies, taking pride in having watched every film on AFI’s 100 Greatest Films list and every Best Picture Oscar winner.
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