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Willy Wonka
Willy Wonka.1
Gender: Male
Portrayed By: Gene Wilder (1971)
Johnny Depp (2005)
First Appearance: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka is a fictional character in Roald Dahl's 1964 children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, its sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and the film adaptations of these books that followed. The book and the film adaptations both vividly depict an odd Wonka, a feature arising from his creative and eccentric genius. He bewilders the other characters with his antics, but Charlie enjoys Wonka's behavior. In the 2005 film adaptation, Willy Wonka's behavior is viewed more as a (sympathetic) character flaw. Wonka's reasons for giving away his fabulous factory is never revealed in the books, but in the 1971 film adaptation Wonka tells Charlie he can't live forever, so he wanted to find a sweet child he could trust his candy making secrets too.

Appearances

1971 film adaptation

Candy maker Willy Wonka has hidden five Golden Tickets amongst his famous "Wonka Bars." The finders of these special tickets will be given a full tour of his tightly guarded candy factory as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate. The contest sets off a global craze with everyone desperately seeking out the tickets. They are eventually found by five different children from around the world (Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and Charlie Bucket).

Charlie enters the chocolate factory too and among many things sees Oompa Loompas, Willy Wonka's short orange workers whom he saved from the wild beasts of Loompaland.

Eventually, Charlie Bucket is the only remaining child. Wonka informs him that the tour is over, politely dismisses him and Grandpa Joe, and disappears into his office without mentioning the promised prize of a lifetime supply of chocolate. Grandpa Joe and Charlie enter the office, where Wonka tells them that Charlie does not get the prize because he broke the rules. When questioned on the existence of the said rules, Wonka irritably reveals the forfeiture clause of the contract Charlie signed. Charlie's part in the theft of Fizzy Lifting drinks earlier in the story means that he violated the contract, and therefore he receives nothing. Now seemingly enraged, Wonka again dismisses them with a furious "Good day!".

When Charlie subsequently returns a gobstopper to Wonka that Grandpa Joe thought could be used as revenge, Wonka joyfully tells Charlie that he "won" and begs his guests' forgiveness. He reveals that the spy "Slugworth" is actually an employee named Wilkinson, whose offer to buy the gobstopper was a morality test for the Golden Ticket winners, and Charlie was the only one who passed. Wonka leads Charlie and Grandpa Joe to the "Wonkavator", a multi-directional glass elevator, and fly out of the factory in it. As they soar over the village, Wonka tells Charlie that his actual prize is not just the chocolate but the factory itself, as the Golden Ticket search was created to help Wonka search for an honest and worthy child to be his heir. Charlie and his family will reside in the factory and take over its operation when Wonka retires.

2005 film adaptation

Willy Wonka, the owner of a famous chocolate factory, has long closed access to his factory due to problems concerning industrial espionage that ultimately led him to fire all his employees, among them Charlie's Grandpa Joe. One day, Wonka informs the world of a contest, in which five Golden Tickets have been placed in five random Wonka Bars worldwide, and the winners will be given a full tour of the factory as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate, while one ticket holder will be given a special prize at the end of the tour. After all five of the tickets are found, Wonka greets Charlie and the other ticket holders outside the factory and leads the group into the facility. During the tour, Wonka tempts each of the bad children to disobey his orders with something related to their individual character flaws. Wonka then invites Charlie to come live and work in the factory with him, and reveals that the purpose of the Golden Tickets and the tour was to make the "least rotten" child the heir of the factory itself, so he can have someone carry on his legacy when he dies. The only condition, however, is that Charlie must leave his family behind, because Wonka believes family is a hindrance to a chocolatier's creative freedom, a philosophy Wonka developed due to his dentist father, Dr. Wilbur Wonka, denying his son candy because of the potential risk to his teeth. After secretly sampling some candy, Wonka was instantly hooked and ran away to follow his dreams. After being refused Charlie's offer, Wonka falls into a state of emotional depression and returns to Charlie to seek advice. Wonka soon reunites with his estranged father and allows Charlie's family to live in the factory, forever.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Films vte
Main Films Willy Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory
Characters Augustus GloopArthur SlugworthCharlie BucketGrandpa JoeMike TeaveeVeruca SaltViolet BeauregardeWilly Wonka

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