Taika Waititi has been tasked with launching Netflix’s animated Roald Dahl Universe – a gig that will manifest with TWO series adaptations based on the legendary author’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Netflix has tapped Waititi – who’s coming off a recent Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar win for JoJo Rabbit – to write, direct and executive-produce the two original shows, each of which will explore distinct sides of Dahl’s most famous literary offering, the two-time-movie-adapted 1964 novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. One series will be a straight adaptation of the traditional story and characters, with the other set to focus on candy man Willy Wonka’s diminutive helpers, the cautionary-song-singing Oompa-Loompas. As Netflix describes of its plans:
“The shows will retain the quintessential spirit and tone of the original story while building out the world and characters far beyond the pages of the Dahl book for the very first time.”
The developing Charlie offerings will be the first manifestations of Netflix’s grandiose plans – initially announced back in November 2018 – to bring about a full slate of canon-connected adaptations for a wide array of the literary catalogue of Dahl, who passed away back in 1990. The animated offerings have been unambiguously referred to by the streaming giant as a “universe” (a specifically potent term in a post Marvel Cinematic Universe world).
Indeed, said slate is the result of a partnership between Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company, which will see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory eventually joined by titles such as Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, George’s Marvellous Medicine, Boy – Tales of Childhood, Going Solo, The Enormous Crocodile, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Henry Sugar, Billy and the Minpins, The Magic Finger, Esio Trot, Dirty Beasts, and Rhyme Stew.
Waititi is currently one of the most-sought creative talents today. Having first made waves in his native New Zealand with his Oscar-nominated 2004 short, Two Cars, One Night, his path would eventually lead to vampire comedy movie What We Do in the Shadows (later adapted for TV on FX,) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople before breaking into the mainstream blockbuster realm directing the 2017 action-and-humor-oriented Marvel threequel, Thor: Ragnarok, a gig he will repeat with 2021’s Thor: Love and Thunder. Yet, the recent awards season success of his dark World War II comedy, Jojo Rabbit, has cemented Waititi as a true visionary to industry eyes, and not just some quirky kiwi with a camera. Consequently, the appointment of the filmmaker to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory shows is quite the coup. As Netflix Vice President of Original Animation Melissa Cobb lauds of the addition:
“I grew up reading Dahl stories and lived large parts of my young life in those magical worlds, so finding just the right creative partner to bring Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Oompa-Loompas to life in animation was a daunting task…until Taika walked into the room. Then, it was really obvious. If Dahl had created a character of a filmmaker to adapt his work, I’m pretty sure he would have created Taika.”
Gideon Simeloff, Commercial and Entertainment Director of the Roald Dahl Story Company, chimes in similarly, stating:
“In the words of Willy Wonka himself – we are ‘Delighted! Charmed! Overjoyed!’ with Taika’s appointment on this project. There is something undeniably Wonka-esque about Taika’s creative flair and inimitable sense of humor and we cannot think of anyone more perfectly suited to leading the creative charge on these first of their kind, feature quality Netflix shows.”
There’s currently no timeframe for Netflix’s two Charlie and the Chocolate Factory TV series, but we’ll keep you updated on the news as it arrives.