- This article is about the 2005 film character, you might be looking for the original character.
Willy Wonka is owner of the titular Chocolate Factory and the deuteragonist of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
He is portrayed by Johnny Depp
Wonka is a tall and lanky man with brown eyes and brown hair that he keeps lush with his hair cream that he makes in the factory. He is always seen wearing a red coat that covers his entire body, as well as a top hat and a cane.
Wonka is seen as an extremely eccentric and childish yet brilliant and innovative entrepreneur, having a personality that made a positive impact on Grandpa Joe when he worked on the factory. He is seen as a genius, constantly creating new types of sweets that revolutionized and improved the market, making his brand so popular that his rivals started sending spies to steal his ideas. However, because of this, Wonka decided to fire all of his workers, including Grandpa Joe, and close his factory to the open, although he still constantly produced candy. As a result of this decision, Wonka lost contact with civilization and started to become more self-centered and awkward, focusing more on improving his factory rather than interacting with other people. This is shown all throughout the tour, as he acted awkwardly towards most of the adults and was visibly disgusted with Scarlett Beauregarde's infatuation towards him.
Thanks to Charlie Bucket, however, Wonka was able to start becoming more open, slowly revealing his childhood to Charlie. This also changed Wonka as a person, because throughout his life he had never experienced what it was like to have a family, as he was initially disowned by his father Wilbur Wonka, who, in an ironic twist, was a dentist who hated candy, especially chocolate. As such, Wonka believed that his father despised him, and was afraid to confront him, causing him to have a dislike for parenting and parents to the point where he refuses to even mention the word, and potentially a reason why he did not marry. When he realized his mistake, he also realized that family was important, and that it was something missing from his life, which led him to quickly accepting Charlie's family into his life.
Wonka was born to Wilbur Wonka on an unknown date. As a child, his father was very strict, forcing Wonka to wear headgear that made it hard for him to talk, and burning his Halloween candy. Because of this, throughout most of his childhood Wonka did not know what candy tasted like. This changed when, one day after Halloween, he discovered a piece of chocolate that survived Wilbur's fire, and ate it, experiencing pleasure that he had never experienced. As a result, he started going against his father's words and spent his allowance on candy, displeasing his father. Wonka then decided to run away from home to "the candy capital of the world," however he was not able to get very far as he was just imagining his travels. When he got back to his apartment, however, his father had physically lifted the apartment away, leaving Wonka as a homeless orphan.
After many years, Wonka started his own business making chocolate, starting off at a small store on Cherry Street and employing many people, including Grandpa Joe, to help make chocolate. In order to stand out from the chocolate industry, Wonka invented new designs for not just chocolate, but for sweets as a whole; Grandpa Joe remembered a chocolate that produced a chirping candy bird when melted, an impressive feat that no other candy maker had done before. As a result of his innovations to the candy business, his candy sold like wildfire, and Wonka eventually became a millionaire. With all of this money, Wonka decided to build his own chocolate factory, which opened to grand fanfare.
At the height of his success, his creations were so innovative that the prince of India, Prince Pondicherry, requested that he make him a chocolate palace in New Delhi, India. Wonka did what he was told, building the entire palace out of dark and white chocolate. When Wonka warned the prince to eat all of the chocolate, Pondicherry refused, intending on living inside the palace. This caused the whole palace to melt, nearly killing his family. After this incident, instead of suing him, Pondicherry simply requested another chocolate palace.
However, this success will not last long. Because of his success and also his lack of investment in trade secret security, rival businesses started to send spies to steal his sweet ideas. As a result, Fickelgruber, Prodnose, and Slugworth took Wonka's ideas and made a profit out of it. Because of this, Wonka fired all of the employees and announced that he was closing his chocolate factory and stopped selling chocolate. After a long time, however, his factory was seen to have smoke coming out of it, and Wonka started selling chocolate again, however his factory remained closed.
While the factory was closed, Wonka was at hard work trying to create new candy ideas, so he went to Loompa Land to search for ingredients. After barely surviving and killing a Wangdoodle and tasting its blood, Wonka came across the Oompa-Loompa's settlement, where he stayed a few days and befriended the chief. He then offered them to come to his factory, offering them cocoa products and safety from Loompa Land's terrible predators, in exchange for their assistance at the factory. The Oompa-Loompa chief agreed, and all of the Oompa-Loompas went to Wonka's factory, serving as its workers in place of his former workers. As the years went on, the Oompa-Loompas became Wonka's only friends at the factory, and he became a hermit inside his own factory.
Many years after closing the factory, while having a check-up with an Oompa-Loompa, Wonka discovered a stand of white hair coming off of him. This caused him to panic, fearing what would happen to his business and the Oompa-Loompas once he passes away from old age. This forced him to create a competition, hiding five golden tickets inside his Wonka Bars, and announcing a tour and a grand prize. Throughout the search for the golden tickets, Wonka was able to keep himself updated with the winners, although he did not make a public appearance until the day of the tour
When the day of the tour arrived, instead of greeting the winners at the door, he set up a performance with dolls and happy music, choosing to privately show up right next to them. When he did try to greet them, he was unable to communicate properly and had to rely on note cards to introduce himself and the factory. This awkwardness and antisocial facade would plague him for the rest of the tour, leaving disconnections between him and the tour members.
Throughout the tour, Wonka demonstrated his brilliance by showing them things that the tourists believed were impossible, such as a gigantic chocolate room, as well as introducing them to the Oompa-Loompas. He also showed how he was able to survive without leaving the factory, creating his own products out of candy such as hair cream. While all of this amazed the tourists, the disconnect between them and Wonka was apparent, especially with the parents, who were all weeded out by Wonka's demeanor. The only exception was Scarlett Beauregarde, who was seemingly in love with Wonka.
Wonka also showed a lack of care for the children, focusing more on the safety of his factory. For example, when Augustus Gloop fell into the chocolate river, Wonka was only concerned about his chocolate being tainted, and when Violet Beauregarde swelled into a blueberry, Wonka, while showing some remorse, did not care about what Scarlett thought about the situation, playing it all off as a joke. This further caused a rift between him and the tourists, except for Charlie Bucket, who was seemingly oblivious to Wonka's awkwardness and instead was awed by what was in the factory.
Eventually, after all the other children were eliminated, Wonka congratulated Charlie on his victory, and brought them out of the factory through The Great Glass Elevator, breaking the ceiling and scaring Charlie and Grandpa Joe. When he arrived back at Charlie's house, he crashed into the roof, ignoring the damage that it caused, and offered only Charlie to come with him to the factory. When Charlie refused, Wonka was surprised and became depressed, knowing that all he had done was a complete waste. As a result of this depression, his candy production started to go down.
Reuniting with his father
Trying to find answers for his sadness, Wonka secretly met with Charlie while Charlie was shining his shoes, asking Charlie what makes him happy. When Charlie answered that his parents made him happy, Wonka scoffed at the thought, and when questioned what he had against his parents, Wonka simply answered that he disliked how they told him what to do. However, after some persuasion from Charlie, Wonka decided to travel to his father's house, which he somehow discovered through the Great Glass Elevator, and made an appointment with him, who initially did not recognize him. However, Wonka was surprised to notice that even though they had a falling-out, his father followed his entire career with newspapers that he hung on his walls.
Wonka then had his teeth checked up by Wilbur, who realized that the teeth were the same as his son. Once recognizing him, Wilbur initially showed a stern face before lightening up after Wonka told him that he never flossed once. Wonka then hugged his father, and made amends with him, finally reconnecting their relationship.
Reconciling with his father gave Wonka a new look on family, and he immediately invited Charlie's entire family to live in his factory. While setting up the table for dinner, Wonka was shown to have once again warmed up to humanity, even giving Grandma Georgina a hug. He then enjoyed the family meal with the Bucket's, ending on a happy story.
- Wonka seemed to be somewhat holding a grudge against Mr. Salt due to Veruca's spoiled attitude, which is shown when Wonka rudely tossed away Mr. Salt's business card.
- Despite being a candy maker, Wonka heavily dislikes gum, which may be the reason why the Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum has yet to be perfected.