Chalamet as Willy Wonka

‘Wonka’ Trailer Breakdown and Reactions — Timothée Chalamet Transforms Into the Famous Chocolatier

Chalamet becomes the famous chocolatier in ‘Wonka.’ Does he pull it off? Here’s what he brings to the character (and what viewers are saying about the trailer).

The trailer for Wonka — a prequel to Road Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Timothée Chalamet as the eccentric chocolatier years before he rises to fame — dropped on July 11, 2023. 

In the preview of what’s to come, Chalamet seems to embody a Willy Wonka reminiscent of both Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp’s interpretations (yet arguably orients more toward the latter). He seems warm, unfettered, and full of wonder like Wilder’s Candyman, yet also a smidge zany and unnerving like Depp’s chocolatier. He’s unpredictable but harmless (right?)

Chalamet narrates at the onset of the trailer, noting that he has spent years “perfecting [his] craft, and he is something of a magician, inventor, and chocolate maker, so quiet up and listen now.” He talks a bit fast, almost as if his mouth cannot keep up with each brilliant idea that pops into his head. Each comment he must utter is more important than the one he has yet to finish. His gestures are controlled but deliciously buoyant. He arrives in town to open up a chocolate shop but is warned that he will be crushed by the “chocolate cartel.” 

The bright-eyed young man can’t even daydream about his magical future, for it’s legally restricted with a soul-crushing sign that reads “no daydreaming, penalty $3” and an officer who enforces the rule in a monotone voice with flat affect. But this doesn’t shake Wonka. He’s got a wide-eyed expression dripping with both instability and ingenuity. In the just under three-minute preview we’re awarded, Chalamet walks that fine line between genius and madness. 

He chews with a sort of exaggerated fashion and walks with a cane he clearly does not need — his shoulders back as he adapts a light-footed yet precise stride. He sends people floating into the sky, and gravity seems to work a little differently for him, as he swings around light poles, descending a bit too slowly in a moment benefiting from magical realism. He flies into the sky with the help of balloons. Oh, and there’s a giraffe running through the street at one point. 

Wonka is here to disrupt the status quo. He’s here to challenge those who hold all the chocolate power. And, it’s clear from the trailer that the robber barons of Candyland come to feel threatened by his originality. The trailer features a large choreographed dance number, flying confetti, and life-sized balls of pink cotton candy. And, right before the trailer closes, we meet Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa, who seems unusually calm while trapped in a clear jar. The Oompa Loompa song begins to close out the preview, as Grant notes that once Oompa Loompas start dancing, they can’t stop. The trailer definitely succeeds in building hype, but what are people saying about it?

Chalamet will be the current generation’s Wonka — following in Wilder and Depp’s footsteps

That being said, it’s not easy to follow perfection

Chalamet is already killing it

We have all the nostalgia feels. He did it…

Not everyone is about it…

Fingers crossed for Chalamet

Some of us are only in it for the goods

It may just be everything we’re hoping for

Wonka premieres in theaters on December 15, 2023

About the author

Josh Lezmi

Josh is an entertainment writer and editor at Thought Catalog.