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Prequels can be hit or miss, but when the original cast is all for it, it’s hard to go wrong.
In an exclusive chat with People, four original cast members of 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory explained their thoughts on the upcoming Timothée Chalamet-led Wonka film, set to release sometime in 2023. Also discussing their OG film for the 50th anniversary, actors Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket), Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt), Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee) and Michael Bollner (Augustus Gloop) all seemed pretty excited about the latest in the film’s legacy.
“As Julie [Dawn Cole] likes to say, ‘There’s room for all of us,” Ostrum said. “We can all play well together in the sandbox. And the prequel will shed more light on early Wonka.”
The actor added that there’s “been so many different versions of Willy Wonka, be it on Broadway, opera, a pinball machine … you can’t kill the Willy Wonka story. So all of it is good. It’s a great story. And people enjoy whatever different version they’re watching; it’s fun to watch. So I think we’re all looking forward to the prequel.”
Ostrum explained that the 2005 Tim Burton and Johnny Depp adaptation of the film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, helped introduce a new generation to the original movie.
“Parents saw that film with their kids and their kids had never seen the original and the parents’ reaction was, ‘This was nice, but you need to see the original.’”
Speaking on Gene Wilder, the late actor who starred as the first film’s titular character, Themmen said the cast has “nothing but nice things” to say about him.
“We were all very fond of Gene,” Themmen says. “He was obviously a very talented guy, but also a very nice guy.”