Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa Can Fix A 60-Year-Old Willy Wonka Controversy

Wonka will tell the story of a young Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet), including how he met his famous friends the Oompa Loompas, and Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa in Wonka can fix an old Willy Wonka controversy. Joining the current trend in the film industry of reboots, “requels”, and prequels is the musical fantasy Wonka, directed by Paul King, which serves as a prequel to Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was famously adapted to the big screen in 1971 with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and in 2005 with Johnny Depp as the famous (and eccentric) chocolatier.

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Plot details about Wonka are still unknown, but as mentioned above, it will serve as a prequel to the novel, following a young Willy Wonka and his adventures before he opened the world’s most famous and whimsical chocolate factory. Wonka will count on the presence of the Oompa Loompas, Wonka’s loyal assistants at the factory, with Hugh Grant playing the role, and while an official image hasn’t been released, the first footage of the movie shown at CinemaCon included the first look at Grant’s Oompa Loompa and how he met Willy Wonka, and the movie seems to be on its way to fix one of the novel’s biggest controversies: the Oompa Loompas’ origin story.

Related: Why Roald Dahl Hated The Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Movie


Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa In Wonka Can Fix Long-Running Controversies

According to descriptions of the Wonka footage shown at CinemaCon, Grant plays the first Oompa Loompa that Chalamet’s Willy Wonka meets, and he appears trapped in a glass case. Although Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a children’s novel, it has gone through various revisions and changes due to racist and offensive terminology and descriptions in Dahl’s original novel. At the center of those controversies are the Oompa Loompas, who in the first published edition were described as Black pygmies who wore “the usual deerskin slung”, and the way Wonka brought them to his factory resembled slavery. After a film adaptation of the novel was announced, a statement from the NAACP was released expressing concern over the portrayal of Oompa Loompas, after which Dahl published a revised edition in which the Oompa Loompas were described as having “rosy-white” skin and golden brown hair.

In the 1971 movie adaptation, the Oompa Loompas were played by actors with dwarfism and were portrayed as orange-skinned and with green hair, and their homeland was changed to Loompaland. For Tim Burton’s adaptation, the Oompa Loompa’s design and story were changed again, and this time, they were played by Gurdeep Roy, who was digitally cloned to create all the Oompa Loompas that helped Wonka at the factory, and Roy once shared that Burton saw them as being “strictly programmed, like robots” as all they did was work. Hugh Grant’s Oompa Loompa is also orange-skinned, but in the footage revealed at CinemaCon, he already showed a lot more agency than in previous versions, including the ones in the novel, showing that Wonka might be on its way to finally fixing the Oompa Loompa’s long-running controversies.

Why It Makes Sense For Wonka To Give Oompa Loompas A New Origin Story

Although Wonka is a prequel to the novel, it doesn’t mean that it has to continue the book’s biggest problems. As the origin story of Willy Wonka, which wasn’t explored in the books, the writers have a lot of freedom to build his story, which also includes the origins of the Oompa Loompas and how they met, so it makes sense that their backstory will be retconned and (hopefully) fixed. Of course, there’s still a lot more to learn about Wonka, its story, and its portrayal of the Oompa Loompas, but so far, it looks to be on the right track.

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