First Look At Timothée Chalamet As Willy Wonka Or Possibly Gonzo The Great

There's a "Charlie and the Chocolate factory" prequel movie on the way, because of course there is, and star Timothée Chalamet has shared a first look at himself as a young version of eccentric chocolatier and labor law dodger Willy Wonka.

Currently titled "Wonka," the movie might sound like a soulless cash-in, but it has a little magic up its sleeve — or rather, behind the camera. Paul King, who directed the delightful "Paddington" and "Paddington 2," is helming "Wonka" and co-wrote the screenplay with his "Paddington 2" writing partner Simon Farnaby. If anyone can wash the cynicism from our hearts and make us believe in Everlasting Gobstoppers again, it's the man who staged a bombastic closing musical number featuring Hugh Grant in a pink prison uniform.

In front of the camera is actor Timothée Chalamet, who was the boy next door of 2017 thanks to his performances in "Lady Bird" and "Call Me By Your Name." This year Chalamet will be trying to save House Atreides from betrayal in Denis Villeneuve's new adaptation of "Dune," but in his spare time he's dressing up in a top hat that's bigger than his head — as seen in this first look from the set of "Wonka."

What is Wonka?

Now — is Timmy (as pointed out by /Film's own Chris Evangelista) dressed almost exactly like Gonzo the Great in "The Muppet Christmas Carol." Yes. Is this all the more reason to look forward to the young Willy Wonka movie? Also yes.

Chalamet's costume is effectively a slightly scruffy and dressed-down version of the top hat and purple coat that Willy Wonka wore in Quentin Blake's original illustrations for Roald Dahl's 1964 book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which "Wonka" will serve as a prequel to. Costume designer Lindy Hemming has some impressive credits to her name, including "The Dark Knight Rises," "Die Another Day," and (of course) the "Paddington" movies, so it will be interesting to see what other looks she creates for "Wonka."

One unavoidable problem with Chalamet's outfit is that he has big shoes to fill. The late, great Gene Wilder gave a definitive performance as the unpredictable candy creator in 1971's "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Fifty years later, is the world ready for a new Wonka?

Well, if they invent lots of weird tie-in candy products to promote the movie, I'm in.

"Wonka" arrives in theaters on March 17, 2023.