Keegan-Michael Key Joins Timothee Chalamet In Wonka, The Prequel That Has Everyone Scratching Their Heads

Come with me, and you'll see, a world of confusing executive decisions... It appears that the "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" prequel that nobody asked for, "Wonka," is moving ahead full speed and has added another major star to its cast. According to Deadline, comedian Keegan-Michael Key will join Timothée Chalamet in the upcoming film.

Back Before the Chocolate Factory

Primetime Emmy winner Key has joined the cast of "Wonka, though his role and character details are under wraps. The film is billed as an origin story about the famed fictional candy-maker, who first appeared in Roald Dahl's 1964 children's novel, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." 

Chalamet will portray the titular Wonka, a role first made famous by Gene Wilder in the 1971 movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Actor Johnny Depp also portrayed the eccentric chocolatier in Tim Burton's 2005 remake. Deadline reports that Chalamet will be singing and dancing in the role, which should be interesting given his tendency towards more stoic characters. (His latest turn is as the mystical and mysterious Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve's "Dune," for example.) 

A children's movie feels a little more in line for Key, who has provided voices for the "Angry Birds" movie and the "Hotel Transylvania" franchise. He's been busy lately, starring in AppleTV+'s comedy musical series "Schmigadoon!" and the upcoming "Hotel Transylvania: Transformania" sequel coming to Amazon Prime. Singing and dancing are very much in key for Key, so it'll be fun to see him in a world as wild as the one created by Dahl. 

A Candy-Colored Vision from the Director of "Paddington"

"Paddington" helmer Paul King will direct the screenplay he co-wrote with "Paddington 2" co-writer Simon Farnaby. Prior writers on the screenplay include Simon Rich, Simon Stephenson, Jeff Nathanson, and Steven Levenson. The movie will not rehash the events of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which centers on a group of children who enter Wonka's contest to take over his factory after he dies. Instead, it will focus on the time before the contest, going back as far as Wonka's youth. 

A Willy Wonka prequel from the director of the sweetest family-friendly movies in the past decade sounds like it could be a lot of fun, though King's sentimental sensibilities don't entirely mesh with the source material's dark humor. It will be interesting to see how he bridges that gap, how Chalamet plays the notoriously strange character, and what role Key has to play in it all. "Wonka" will be produced by David Heyman, who produced "Paddington" and the "Harry Potter" franchise. 

"Wonka" is set to hit theaters on March 17, 2023.