Note: for guesses specific to the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, click here.
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Wonka intended for each child to win.Each child, throughout the different adaptations, displayed skills that would definitely be useful for a Wonka as a successor. Veruca would theoretically know how to handle resources, given her upbringing, Mike would know how to handle the media, Violet and Augustus would be the perfect people to test the products on (once they had been proven non-lethal), since they were both big fans of candy and gum, and Charlie would be the perfect figurehead of the company. Really, who couldn't support a company that took in an impoverished local child to run a magical candy factory? Unfortunately for Wonka, he seriously underestimated most of the childrens' selfish thoughtlessness, and all but Charlie injure themselves, making for terrible PR. In the end, Wonka is forced to take Charlie as his sole successor, in the hope that he can train him to run the company without the help he intended for him to have.
Wonka designed the tour to try to tempt each child with a Karmic Fate, so as to better evaluate them.Because how many rooms do they enter where there is not an ideal temptation for one of the little brats? Now the question becomes, what of Charlie? Did his not come up? No. His happened, but he was smart enough or pure enough not to take it. Everlasting gobstoppers, designed for children exactly like Charlie, are one of the few things we get shown directly but that the children do not get karma'd by. The temptation for a boy like Charlie, who gets one freaking thing a year, to take one of those? Huge. And if he had tried it? Dunno. Maybe lockjaw?
Wonka is the DevilWilly Wonka is portrayed in the book looking vaguely demonic. In both the movie and book versions, he tempts the children with their sin. For example, Mike Teevee is sloth, Veruca is greed, Augustus is clearly gluttony. Many of the children have multiple deadly sins associated with them. When tragedy strikes the children, Wonka half-assedly gets help, as though he is not very interested in saving them.
Wonka is a Old Testament style God
Willy Wonka is Charlie BucketIt could be that Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka was next in line to Peter Ostrum's Charlie. The Willy Wonkas in both movies both gave their factories to the Charlie Buckets at the end of their respective movies. So it's possible that even before the book was written, a Willy Wonka has always given the Wonka factory to some nice bloke called Charlie Bucket when it's about time to retire.
Grandpa Joe is evil.Of course! What nice person would pretend to be paralyzed in order to live off their poverty-stricken kid?
Wonka invented the never-melting ice cream because of the Indian-esque prince's palace.Chocolate melts when it gets warm, as reinforced by the melting palace. Therefore, it is imperfect because it cannot be used for such long-term applications as a cake topper (applications where it would never be eaten, such as a palace that wouldn't have its parts continually replaced, would likely be blasphemy in the eyes of Wonka). While Wonka was unable to find a way to keep chocolate from melting in heat without compromising its taste, texture, or other attributes, he did stumble upon a method of solidifying sugared milk solids that would become liquid when exposed to certain enzymes such as those in saliva. The obvious use of this? Ice cream that never melts no matter how hot the summer day is, yet is still perfectly edible. If Wonka doesn't care that warm, solid ice cream would feel horrible due to the change in temperature alone, he likely wouldn't care about the compromises, and saw it as a similar acceptable lower quality for a "novelty" product such as civilian Astronaut Ice Cream. Although...
Wonka invented freeze-dried ice cream.Once a head at NASA noticed, they connected the dots between it and the freeze-dried food they used to feed astronauts before toothpaste-tube food came into vogue. This would be the perfect way to keep ice cream from melting while they transported it to their newly-designed space hotel without the cost and weight of freezing!
The stories take place in an alternate universe in which The Future came early or "on schedule," or in our future.After some terrible economic crisis, much of the world is set back decades, while some other groups (the Teevee and Salt family included) become the new technological elite. Of course, Wonka's technology was never available to anyone else, he's just that good. Evidence: there seems to be a president in office that we've never heard of, a group of pygmies we have never encountered, and a whole functioning space hotel.
Willy Wonka's factory doesn't make chocolate.Instead, it makes LSD flavored to taste like chocolate. All of the things the kids saw on the tour of the chocolate factory? An LSD induced hallucination. The kids who were kicked off of the tour had a bad trip.
All the chocolate Wonka's factory makes is laced with LSD.And so he brings the whole world to its knees before him.
All the chocolate Wonka's factory makes is laced with an addictive hallucinogen.
Between all three mediums, all seven deadly sins are presentLet's look at the list, shall we?
This is Dante's Inferno
Wonka is Haruhi SuzumiyaYes, this is on every page like the Time Lord posts, but again, it's not that unreasonable. The existence of such a bizarre factory with its impossible candy, Oompa Loompas, and various eccentricities like the chocolate room seem like the kinds of things a Cloud Cuckoo Lander Reality Warper would do.
Wonka is George WeasleyAccording to a cut chapter, Wonka makes a certain line of sweets designed to help children fake being sick to get off school. He favours a fantastical more explodey type of invention over efficiency. He is slightly sadistic to those who really deserve it and will go out of his way to tempt people into their own punishment.
An alternative; Wonka is Fred WeasleyFred didn't die during the final battle. Instead, he was attacked by a Weeping Angel which had been woken by the noise and confusion of the battle, or by all the stones/statues being destroyed. It transported him back in time 40 years or so. The 'body' was put there by The Doctor becuase he knew that he couldn't reveal the truth to the grieving Weasleys - it would cause too much trouble and confusion right after the battle, and the chaos of the wizarding world after the downfall of Voldemort and the second wizarding war could not discover the reality of the Doctor's existence or alien life. Therefore the Doctor was forced to watch the Weasleys grieving over what they thought was their son, and was unable to tell them the truth. Luna was the only one who knew. Just because. Fred, waking back in the 1950s, did not know what to do. The Doctor had told him he could not return or attempt to contact his family in any way, so he did the only thing he could - adopting a false name, he continued his and George's work in the past, creating a magical sweet factory (Willy Wonka is never stated not to also have made jokes and tricks as well; it was just that the sweets caught on in the past). Secretly, Fred always hoped that some of his merchendise (which also became popular in the wizarding community) would be enjoyed by his parents, who were children then, and so in some way he could still reach out to them. Oh, and the Oompa-Loompas? Clearly, they are House-elves; they are small, odd in appearance and are extremely loyal to their 'master'. The singing is a by-product of their obeying a master who was so carefree and cheerful himself - it rubbed off on them. The whole South America story was just what Wonka/Fred told people to explain the odd little creatures living in his factory. Now, you may go weep into your pillows.
Wonka is Xenophillius Lovegood.You-Know-Who came and destroyed his factory.
The Candy Man is HaruhiThe world tastes good because the Candy Man thinks it should.
Mr. Wonka is secretly The Mad Hatter.He is often seen wearing a top hat, and the sequel book shows that much of the factory is underground.
Mr. Wonka is a spark.This might go some way toward explaining Britain's apparent world power status In-Universe. With all the stuff he makes in the books (including space capable lifts), the odd licorice-powered laser and hard boiled warship might just be on the agenda, too...
Mr. Wonka is a DevisorThis would explain why he can create candy that is impossible as defined by the laws of physics, because as long as he thinks it works, it does. He is obviously a VERY high power devisor at that, in fact, as his candy always works right and doesn't explode everyone who touches it (unless that's what it's supposed to do, of course.)
Mr. Wonka is a GeniusHe has a special, higher than ordinarily possible, version of Beholden and Production Line that allows him to create huge amounts of wonders in Pill Form, allowing the strange effects. Pill Form prevents Havoc unless directly interfered with; eating it destroys it before it can be properly messed with. He is a rogue Staunen. Loompaland is a Bardo of all of the deepest darkest Africa stuff that got disproved once we had explored it properly. The tests were intended to find another Genius, not someone of upstanding character, by allowing them to fiddle with the Wonders before they were placed in Pill Form and seeing who didn't incur Havoc; this raises the distinct possibility that Wonka is Illuminated or at least very close. Charlie is an unaffiliated Hoffnung with psi-based Wonders. Mike Teevee is a Lemurian Neid.
Mr. Wonka is Haruhi Suzumiya's father.It is possible that Wonka fell in love with a Japanese woman and had his last name changed to hers, and then had her somehow inherit his reality warping powers.
Wonka is of some relation or other to the Witch from Hansel and Gretel.Both are twisted individuals who live in a candy-themed building and invite young children inside, promising them treats, and giving them something more horrifying. Coincidence?
In making his factory, Wonka inadvertently tunneled into GensokyoSince phenomena in Gensokyo are caused by the active disbelief of people beyond the barrier, this explains how most of the factory can shamelessly run on Nonsensoleum yet still work. The geography might be a stretch, but Gensokyo is known to have a deep underground network of... well, hells; and Yukari is more than lazy enough to not bother with someone tunneling through a weak point of the Barrier into nothing but solid rock.
Theories for the Tim Burton version]
The tickets were not random — but they didn't quite go as plannedIf they had been random, then Mike Teevee would not have been able to use his leet hacking skills to intercept one. Because the wrong person — one who hated chocolate — got the fourth one, Wonka delayed sending out the fifth one (the one Charlie ultimately got) while he thought out an appropriate trap for Mike; by the time he had, the contest was nearly over, and Wonka had to change the fifth one's target to "someone who lives close to the factory."
Charlie got the Golden Ticket because he really did want it more and never gave up hope.If he hadn't been there to hear that the original fifth ticket-finder was a fraud, then it wouldn't have been there when he opened the wrapper.
The Oompa-Loompa's only improvised a few lines.They only planned the songs for what would tempt the children, not for what flaws the children happened to have, thats why it doesn't match up all the time. The song to Augustus was a song for a glutton, at a place the Oompa-Loompa's knew someone would be greedy enough to try to take the chocolate from the rive and what would happen if they fall in, the song to Violet wasn't about competition but about chewing gum, which was all the Oompa-Loompa's probably would know about someone who greedily takes the gum, the song to Veruca was more about garbage (which the Oompa-Loompa's would presumably know that someone who tries to take a Squirrel would be considered bad and thrown down into the garbage chute) and less about being a spoiled brat, and you only got more of the spoiler brat parts towards the end, presumably after the Oompa-Loompa's had time to improvise it, and finally, Mike's song is mostly about television and not his character flaw, because the Oompa-Loompa's could only make assumptions that someone tempted by the room likes television.
Grandma Georgina is psychic
Grandpa Joe is a massive Papa Wolf in this film.If we believe the theory that the Depp film is a 'sequel' to the Wilder version, then Grandpa Joe is one of the few people who believes the tales of the previous naughty children. He might even know. He knows that Charlie could become a victim of Wonka's twisted plan. He manages to regain his mobility so that Charlie can experience his dream but still be protected.
Charlie's father will soon be hired by NASA for an absurdly high salary.Those toothpaste tubes filled with astronaut food can't screw the caps on themselves, can they?
Violet turned into a blueberry / chewing gum mix, rather than into a simple blueberry.This is why she didn't explode / burst immediately after swelling up, and this is also why, after being squeesed, she is so flexible now - exactly like a chewing gum would be. This also correspond to the fact that the transformation is triggered by a chewing gum.
Augustus was turned into full-on living fudge.As he leaves the factory, his mother chides him for eating his fingers, to which he responds "But I taste so good." Besides, stranger things have happened in that place.
Wonka Only Hates Mr. Salt.At the beginning of the film, Wonka didn't really like anybody due to his own misanthropy, but he took an immediate, strong dislike to Mr. Salt for seemingly no reason at all. The rotten kids all got in trouble because they didn't listen to Wonka's warnings, but Salt was set up. Wonka wouldn't let him go after Veruca until she'd already gone down the garbage shoot, and counted on the squirrels to knock Salt down after her if he didn't fall. Wonka hated Mr. Salt because, as a tall, posh grey-haired Englishman, he reminded Wonka of his father. Now try watching the movie again and tell me you don't see it.
Mr. Salt used to be Wonka's nut supplierAt least in the first film, it was said Mr. Salt's workers haven't done their jobs for three days. Maybe Wonka decided to get another supplier and hate Salt for failing him.
Wonka is some form of supernatural being with Reality Warping powersSpecifically, a relatively low-level trickster deity or one of The Fair Folk. In the 2005 film, he doesn't look quite human. He's not just pale; he's greyish and translucent. Since he is magical in nature, he can make such things as everlasting gobstoppers, ice cream that doesn't melt, sheep that have candyfloss for wool, square sweets that look round, etc. even if they are impossible. The squirrels are under his control because he is an elemental being. The television chocolate thing works because, although he has no idea how ordinary physics works, he expects it to work the way he thinks it does, and therefore it does. The Oompa Loompas are subordinate beings, or beings that he created or summoned up from elsewhere. This is similar to, but not the same as, the "Wonka is the Devil" WMG. In this theory, he's not malevolent or trying to punish anyone; he's just mischievous and out to cause minor chaos and have fun. Normally, he would channel those sorts of impulses by making crazy candy and messing with the Oompa Loompas (for examples, by turning them into blueberries or making them float or sprout hair all over their bodies). He became bored and decided to bring some humans into his factory to "play" with. He is like Trelane — just out to enjoy himself by messing with less powerful beings, and unconcerned about hurting them. He has a father in the 2005 film because he entered the mortal world as a Changeling.) End essay.
Everlasting Gobstoppers are made from Oompa-Loompas directly exposed to the chewing-gum-meal formula.Note that, in this film, everlasting gobstoppers are kept in a liquid tank. The liquid is the same as that which was concentrated into the chewing gum, minus the blue dye. The gobstoppers are rolled around for the same reason Violet was — to keep their shape. If someone is allowed to keep consuming that formula for much longer than Violet did, then all the effects will become permanent. The "juice" will be metabolized and turned to solid flesh; once that happens, it can no longer be squeezed out. But there will still be juice building up for as long as that formula is consumed. The end result is a nigh-featureless being who will produce juice if compressed but will grow increasingly incompressible at their core as the flesh builds up. When all of this happens to someone who was originally as small as an Oompa-Loompa, the result can pass for a large jawbreaker which can be sucked on indefinitely without getting any smaller. If that kind of everlasting gobstopper ever enters distribution, then it will eventually do to its users what the gum did to Violet's body before she was squeezed. But, since they release the formula more slowly than the gum did, it should take longer before the point of no natural return gets crossed.
Wonka's business is about to go under.This was already fitted in the WMG about the other film, but in this film, we actually see an press article stating "outlook gloomy for Wonka". There are some hidden problems with the factiory, and Wonka will hand over the company to Charlie, who will therefore take on those troubles. Before that he creates a massive demand for his products (which he sells at exorbitant prices), so he can pocket all the cash, before disappearing again from public sight; leaving Charlie and his legal guardians responsible for paying the Oompa-Loompas and countering the lawsuits from the children's families concerning the industrial accidents that befell them.
The Gene Wilder Wonka is the uncle of the Johnny Depp Wonka.Think about it: Why does Dr. Wonka the dentist detest candy and chocolate so much even as the young Willy craves it? It's not impossible for the Wonka brothers to be in rivalry, Wilbur is fed up dealing with the cavities caused by children (and adults) gorging out on sweets created by the first William, aka Gene. In revenge he is determined to keep his son away from candy of any kind as a "take that" to his brother, even as it's too late, the craving for chocolate's in the Wonka blood, and one bite is all it takes for the younger William to follow in his uncle's footsteps. Remember, when Dr. Wonka abandons his son the young Willie is still a boy; it's not impossible for Willy-Gene to take in his nephew, or at least make sure he is cared for. In doing so, this allows Willy-John access to his uncle's amazing factory, giving the younger Wonka increasing responsibility as he grew. He would have noted the potentially useful but chaotic nature of things like the Inventing Room and the Riverboat, and refined them into the larger factory seen by the children. During this time the younger Willy might also have returned to Loompah-land to recruit more Oompah-Loompahs, for the factory's growth, and possibly to bring back lady-loompahs (the ones seen in the earlier film were all male). (This might explain the difference between the initial green-haired loompahs and their dark-haired brethren, they came from more remote areas.) During this time Willy-Gene may have died, and Willy-John starts thinking of his own future. Either there never had been earlier Golden Tickets, or Willy-Gene called it off when he took in his nephew. This would allow for the twenty-year gap between the layoff of human workers and the re-emergence of a still-youthful Willy, it was his uncle who'd carried out the initial firings. Also by then, Willy-John had given up on the idea of a family at all, both his father's rejection and his uncle's eccentricity may have been too much for him and he wasn't about to risk getting entangled with people again, at least anyone that he didn't personally choose.
Wonka is, or thinks he is, Zordon.He believes that he is Zordon revived by some force, and may be right. Since he made some poor choices back in his era, he's approaching things differently. He has none of Zordon's magic items, but knows how to make some crazy ass candy, so he decides to create his Rangers a different way. For example, the Factory is the new Command Centre, with the business giving him a way to set things up. He's having trouble building the Zords so he's instead trying to create alternative means for the Rangers to combat giant monsters, such as the Shrink Ray. The Oompa-Loompa's are actually a massive group of Alpha's ranging from 7 to over a hundred, each with a faulty version of Alpha's friendly personality, resulting in the musical numbers. The kids are obviously intended to be his Rangers, and he's trying out giving them new abilities. His fondness for his Rangers makes his anger at their disobedience into what appears to be Wonka's submissive attitude to the children's fates. He just keeps thinking they're going to do the right thing. Then they don't. Veruca: Wonka tries to give his new Pink Ranger control over animals, starting with Squirrels, but she's too impulsive and ends up with his failed Repellent Pheramone experiment. Augustus: The Yellow Ranger (because even though he wears Red, he isn't really leader material) is given shapeshifting abilities after being turned to chocolate. Or at least becomes covered in it, which impedes the progress somewhat. Mike: The Black Ranger was going to get size changing powers after helping Wonka reverse the Shrink Ray, after which he'd help work on the Zords. Violet: The gum was a failed attempt to make a giant Ranger, but it worked excellently in giving his new Blue Ranger super human reflexes. Her chipper attitude once she's drained suggests that if approached again, she may accept the role of Ranger. Charlie: The Red Ranger. Charlie was supposed to be granted flight by the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, but the other potential Rangers accidents derail the tour and he never gets to that room. However, there is hope with Charlie not getting incapacitated and Violet's attitude.
Veruca grows up to be the Batman villianess The AbsenceHence her head sounding empty when the squirrels tap on it.
Wonka is a Time Lord.Someone had to say it! He just built a regular-sized factory as a cover: the front door is really the door to his TARDIS. It's bigger on the inside, and he distracts his guests with songs and dances so they don't notice when they're traveling through the time vortex. Then, when they're good and distracted, he leads them out through another door (the TARDIS's door again) into an alien planet. Oompa Loompas are aliens. And all the chocolate trees are the planet's natural flora and fauna!