The first photo of Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka surfaced online over the weekend and naturally, the internet was set ablaze with takes ranging from unbridled enthusiasm to outright anger.
The 25-year-old actor tweeted a photo of him as the iconic chocolatier, donning a brown top hat, red velvet coat, and a multi-colored scarf. All it took was that one photo for the reactions to come flooding in.
WONKA ✨✨🍫 pic.twitter.com/ozaerNtroP
— Timothée Chalamet (@RealChalamet) October 10, 2021
Some people seemed ready to hand Chalamet an Oscar for the role before even seeing a single second of his actual acting.
timothée chalamet as willy wonka is my new favorite thing pic.twitter.com/uqZRqRHRUh
— aurs ⎊ ceo of tom holland -67 (@starkerwiitch) October 10, 2021
And, of course, since it’s the internet, people obviously had to get extremely thirsty about how scrumdiddlyumptious Chalamet was looking in that photo.
Here's the first picture of Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka. When I die bury me in his cheekbones pic.twitter.com/QGsOoHssti
— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) October 10, 2021
But not everyone was onboard, as plenty of naysayers said their nay about the photo and the idea of Chalamet playing Wonka at all.
timothee chalamet willy wonka is what happens when a hollywood focus group tries to create a tumblr sexyman. pic.twitter.com/k0Neh1DkwC
— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) October 10, 2021
And tons of fans decried the photo while declaring their eternal allegiance to Gene Wilder’s absolutely iconic performance as Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
gene wilder is the only valid willy wonka pic.twitter.com/yLgTCLo83S
— reiss "reissecup" ecup (@reissecupalt) October 10, 2021
I must admit that so far, I tend to side with the skeptics. My issue isn’t really with Chalamet, who I enjoy as an actor and am excited to see in Dune later this month. I just believe that Wilder gave an all-time performance as Wonka and anyone who comes after him in the role is doomed.
Plus, why do we need to know where Wonka came from? Isn’t a huge part of the character’s appeal the mystery? It’s the same reason the Han Solo origin movie didn’t work. The more we know about the character, the more their mystique starts to fade. And sometimes an actor delivers a performance that is so great that it really becomes untouchable and I would put Wilder’s Wonka in that category.
But then again, none of us have actually seen this movie and with it not slated to be released until 2023, it will be a long time until we actually know how Chalamet did in the role. Whether you are as angry as Veruca Salt being told she can’t have something or as enthusiastic as Augustus Gloop discovering a chocolate river, at least we can all agree that no matter how Chalamet’s performance turns out, there’s no way that it’s any worse than Johnny Depp’s extremely creepy Michael Jackson impersonation in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.