Willy Wonka prequel: ‘Unnecessary’ origin film lambasted on Twitter following announcement

Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Warner Bros)
Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Warner Bros)

A prequel film focusing on the character of Willy Wonka from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is set to arrive in 2023.

Warner Bros announced the news yesterday (19 January) , with speculation already rife as to who will portray the eccentric chocolatier.

Watch: 'Wonka' prequel set for 2023 release

Tom Holland and Timothée Chalamet have been floated as two of the likely contenders for the role, which was famously inhabited by Gene Wilder in the 1971 adaptation Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Reaction to the film’s premise has been mixed, however, with many social media users calling it “unnecessary” and bemoaning the ubiquity of prequels and origin stories in contemporary Hollywood cinema.

“Yes, Gene Wilder was perfect,” wrote writer Zack Davisson. "But I think the bigger discussion is that the more you explain Willy Wonka, the less interesting he becomes as a character.

“Willy Wonka should have no prequel, no explanation, no motivation. He is an absolute mystery, which lends him power.”

Comedian Steve Zaragoza joked: “I remember loving Willy Wonka as a kid, but longing for an entire additional movie that explains how he acquired the building, permits, and business license to start a candy manufacturing plant.”

Writer and podcaster Gavia Baker-Whitelaw wrote: “There's an old piece of writing advice that a good story should take place at the most important/exciting moment in a character's life. Backstory prequels like ~Young Wonka~ are the opposite of this, and that's why they suck.”

Further details about the film are expected to arrive in the coming months.

Watch: Tom Holland 'is among the contenders to play Willy Wonka'