Wilbur "Willy" Wonka Jr. is the deuteragonist of the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the film adaptations. He is an eccentric candyman, who invites Charlie and Grandpa Joe and other kids to his factory. His main goal is to find the heir to his chocolate factory.
He was portrayed by the late Gene Wilder in the 1971 film adaptation, and by Johnny Depp in the 2005 adaptation.
1971 film adaptation
Candy-maker Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) has hidden five Golden Tickets amongst his famous "Wonka Bars." The finders of these special tickets will be given a full tour of his tightly guarded candy factory as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate. The contest sets off a global craze, with everyone desperately seeking the tickets. They are eventually found by five children from around the world: Augustus Gloop from West Germany, Violet Beauregarde and Mike Teavee from the United States, and Veruca Salt and Charlie Bucket from the United Kingdom.
Before the tour of the factory can begin, Willy insists the participants sign a confidentiality form. As the children and their guardians enter the chocolate factory, among the many wonders seen, they notice strange looking people whom Wonka introduces as Oompa-Loompas, Wonka's short, orange, green haired workers whom he saved from the wild beasts of Loompaland.
The Chocolate Room is the first room encountered in the tour. Wonka states that everything in this room is edible: the pavements, the bushes, even the grass. In reality, only about 50 percent of the things in the room were edible. There are trees made of taffy that grow jelly apples, bushes that sprout lollipops, mushrooms that spurt whipped cream, pumpkins filled with sugar cubes instead of seeds, jelly bean stalks, and even spotty candy cubes. The main features of the room is the Chocolate River where the chocolate is mixed and churned by waterfall. Wonka proclaims, "There is no factory in the world that mixes its chocolate by waterfall." Pipes that are connected to the ceiling suck up the chocolate and send it to other rooms of the factory; Augustus Gloop is sucked into the pipe to the Fudge Room after falling into the river while drinking from it.
The Inventing Room is the second room that the tour goes through after that frightning tunnel ride . Mr. Wonka states that all of his ideas are simmering and bubbling in this room, and that Slugworth will give his false teeth to stay inside for five minutes. The room is home to Wonka's new (and still insufficiently tested) candies, such as Everlasting Gobstoppers, exploding candy and Wonka's greatest idea so far, The Three-Course Dinner Chewing Gum. This gum is a three course dinner all in itself, "Tomato Soup", Roast Beef & Baked Potato, and the dessert, Blueberry Pie and Cream". However, once the chewer gets to the dessert, there is a side effect: they turn into a giant "blueberry". This happens to Violet Beauregarde after she rashly grabs and consumes the experimental gum. Violet is subsequently taken to the Juicing Room to be squeezed before she explodes.
The tour then leaves the Inventing Room and arrives into the Fizzy Lifting Drink room, where Wonka beholds the liquids that evaporates lifting gas (once devoured). Wonka forbids his visitors to try it because of it's deadly force. Charlie and Joe mischievably take some to try it out.
Later, on they arrive in the room where giant geese were laying golden chocolate eggs for Easter. Veruca cajoles her father into buying her a goose. As her father tries trading with Wonka, he immediately declines, much to Veruca's disgust. Veruca tenaciously tries to extort to obtain one by vandalising the room, but she fails as she enunciates herself above a trapdoor leading down the garbage chute to the furnace. Her father risks himself to save his spoiled daughter and jumps down the trapdoor. Wonka admits after this that they will be in safe hands after the tunnel is over.
Wonka, with Charlie and Mike remaining, shows them and their guardians the quirky Wonka-Mobile, which soaks down it's passengers with ginger froth. The five get themselves cleaned however, through 'hsaW aknoW' ('Wonka Wash' backwards).
The final room is the WonkaVision Room (much to Mike's pleasure, uppity and interest), where Willy reveals a sublime to his guests. Diminish the size of a gigantic Wonka Bar, by using WonkaVision. It was unbelievably astonishing for the three others, while Mike is willing to gain fame by becoming the first person in history to be set by Television(as he called it) and jeopardizes himself through the WonkaVision device. The result was a diminutive Mike Teevee, believing he has become a celebrity, and the aftermath gave his mother disgust and anxiety. Wonka orders the Oompa Loompas to take her son to the Taffy-Pulling Room, to stretch him. He then tells her to be happy that her son will be alright, even with the complacement.
In spite of not having to be taken out of the factory, Wonka enters his office and in an aloof manner, dismisses both Joe and Charlie. Refusing to give up, they enter the office to see an indignant and disappointed Wonka writing letters. He explains with rage that they are responsible for stealing Fizzy Lifting Drinks and making the scintillating walls and ceiling dirty with their hands earlier in the tour. Joe relinquishes his quarrel with him and plans to bestow the Everlasting Gobstopper to Arthur Slugworth in order to get both their wealth and vengeance. But the sincere Charlie Bucket returns it to Wonka.
Wonka however, calls Charlie and in a eureka calling him the victor of the competition. It is revealed that the whole thing was a test for all the golden ticket finders and that Mr. Wilkinson was an agent of Wonka, and pretends to be Slugworth, after all, and that the reveal Slugworth had given up intriguing Wonka and continued his own chocolate makings. Wonka, Joe and Charlie attend to the 'Great Glass Wonkavator', where he allows Charlie to press a 'red button' he has been yearning to press, and off they fly in the sky. Willy reveals that he is given the Chocolate Factory to Charlie for being staunch and auspicious to everyone he crosses and knows when Wonka retires, that Charlie will take care of the Oompa Loompas for him. But he also warns Charlie not to forget about what happened to the man who did everything he always wanted. What happened? Asked Charlie. Wonka then replied; He lived happily ever after.
2005 film adaptation
Willy Wonka is portrayed by Johnny Depp in this remake. However, many changes were put into the character: He acts childish because of his troubled childhood, and therefore does not take any interest in the kids. He is also the protagonist in a backstory, where his father forbids him to eat candy.
One day, Willy informs the world of a contest, in which five Golden Tickets have been placed in five random Wonka Bars worldwide, and the winners will be given a full tour of the factory as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate, while one ticket holder will be given a special prize at the end of the tour. After all five of the tickets are found, Willy greets Charlie and the other ticket holders outside the factory and leads the group into the facility.
Throughout the movie, Willy has flashbacks to his troubled childhood.
During the tour, each of the bad children disobey his orders with something related to their individual character flaws. Augustus begins to drink the chocolate river until he overbalances and falls into the river and is sucked into a pipe. After a fast boat ride, the tour then progresses to the Inventing Room, where Violet chews on an experimental piece of gum against Wonka's orders. She then transforms into a large blueberry. Later on Veruca wants to buy a squirrel from the Nut Room and when Wonka and her father refuse to get her one, she goes into the room herself. But when she goes to grab a squirrel, all of the squirrels team up and throw her down the chute, and then later send her father down the chute as well.
Later on, the last two kids, Mike Teavee and Charlie Bucket, enter the Great Glass Elevator with him, and Mike picks the Television room. Once there, Willy demonstrates his latest invention, Television Chocolate, which is seemingly impossible as he clearly has no clue about how science and television work. When Mike tries to teach him the basics, he dismisses it as mumbling. He then proceeds to send a large bar of chocolate from one end of the room to another on a TV Screen. Mike is surprised when Willy dismisses any other suggestions to send through the teleporter and replies (while smiling a little), "Don't you even realize what you've invented? It's a teleporter. It's the most important invention in the history of the world. And all you ever think about is Chocolate."
Mike then teleports himself through the teleporter and gets shrunken to a few inches. As a result, Charlie is the only child left on the tour.
Willy then travels with Charlie and Grandpa Joe to Charlie's house and meets the family via the Great Glass Elevator. He also reveals that the purpose of the Golden Tickets and the tour was to make the "least rotten" child the heir of the factory itself, so he can have someone carry on his legacy when he gets too old to do so himself, and requests that Charlie come live and work in the factory with him. The only condition, however, is that Charlie must leave his family behind, since Willy believes family is a hindrance to a chocolatier's creative freedom. This is because of his father, Dr. Wilbur Wonka (who was said to be the greatest dentist in the city), denying his son candy simply because of the potential risk to his teeth. As a child, Willy had to wear headgear and braces. After secretly sampling some candy, Willy was instantly hooked and ran away to follow his dreams. As his family is most important to him, Charlie refuses the offer.
Willy then falls into a state of emotional depression, which in turn makes life for Charlie's family much better. Willy then returns to Charlie to seek advice and they travel to meet Willy's estranged father. Willy has an appointment with him, while Charlie discovers that even though Wilbur was against his son's wishes of becoming a chocolatier, he has followed his son's success regardless. Wilbur then realizes that it is his son and calmly says "All these years, and you haven't flossed". Wonka replies with "Not once". They both share a hug, and Wilbur feels tearful because of having learned a painful lesson about accepting his son for who he is and not what he does for a living. Charlie watches with a smile. Afterwards, Willy repeats his offer to Charlie, who then accepts on one condition - that his family can come too. And this time, Willy agrees.
Charlie and Willy then arrive at home in time for dinner, and the camera pans out to reveal that the house is now inside the factory. An Oompa Loompa narrates that "one thing was absolutely certain - life had never been sweeter".
Personality and Traits
Willy comes off as the eccentric chocolatier at the first glance. He spent his years in hiding turning his factory into the wonderland for the children to enjoy. Willy warned the children to not to get into trouble while he showed them a tour around the chocolate factory. When they disobey his instructions, he expressed a lack of sympathy as they end up in danger, calmly watching and snarking from the sidelines even as everyone else panics. He is highly intelligent, imaginative, and fundamentally good, but can be also be manipulative when push comes to shove. However, despite his questionable trait, Willy can show concern for the children when they are in trouble. In the 1971 film, it turns out that he was testing the children via tricky means to reach a virtuous end.