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After 11 years, Roald Dahl‘s Willy Wonka may return to the big screen for a new prequel adventure, and possibly even a franchise.

According to Variety, Warner Bros. and Harry Potter producer David Heyman have secured the rights to make a new movie about Willy Wonka, which will be “a standalone movie focused on Wonka and his early adventures.”

All we know for now is that the proposed Willy Wonka movie will not be an origin story, because who would want that? Wonka is such a great character that inventing a complete backstory for him would undermine his charm. Johnny Depp played Wonka in the 2005 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But it’s the late Gene Wilder’s performance as the title character in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that ensured Willy Wonka’s place in cinematic history. Whoever follows in that role will have a very tall order.

Because this new story by The Secret Life of Pets writer Simon Rich will reportedly take place years before the events depicted in the Chocolate Factory, it would seem to rule out appearances by Charlie and several of the other characters in that novel. That said, Warner Bros. is apparently hoping that the first film will lead to sequels that could potentially adapt Charlie’s story for a third time. Dahl reportedly didn’t like the first adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is why his sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, has never been filmed. Presumably that would also be on the wishlist for Warner Bros.

As with many prequels, we’re not sure we need a Willy Wonka prequel. But if we had to dream cast this pic, there’s only one man whom we have in mind: Neil Patrick Harris. Think about it! The man is innately charming, plus he can sing, dance, and he’s a hell of a great actor. If anyone can pull off Willy Wonka, it’s him.

Who do you think should be the new Willy Wonka? Share your picks in the comment section below!

How many fizzy lifting drinks would it take to actually float?

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Image: Paramount Pictures

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