We actually thought we knew everything there was to know about Willy Wonka. We are fools. The Guardian just shared an unpublished chapter from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and we are freaking out a little bit.
Bare in mind, the chapter is from an early draft of the book, and Dahl probably didn’t expect the world to dig it out fifty years later. When you’re a writer, lord knows how many drafts you write, re-write, throw in the garbage, then retrieve from the garbage, then throw in the garbage again. This is true even when you’re super-famous, like Roald Dahl. And isn’t that comforting?
This previously unseen chapter, “Fudge Mountain,” takes the doomed children of Willy Wonka’s factory tour to the Vanilla Fudge Room. We all know the original story: five children win golden tickets to see inside Wonka’s secret and wacky world. However, this chapter reveals there were originally as many as 10 children and that our hero, Charlie Bucket, was chaperoned by his mother, not Grandpa Joe. Wait, wha?
You may also note that Wonka has men working for him in the factory, and hadn’t yet imagined up the Oompa Loompas we know so well. But, happily, the whimsically macabre mood of the published story is firmly in place:
The chapter was cut for being too subversive. Nuts to that! Sometimes kids need to learn. By being chopped up into neat little squares. Totally reasonable.
And now for a few Wonka trivia bits to continue the celebration:
–There’s another cut chapter from the book called “Spotty Powder” that was discovered in Dahl’s notes written backwards in mirror-script.
–Dahl threw out the first draft, wherein Charlie falls in a chocolate vat and becomes a chocolatey figurine, after his young nephew deemed it rubbish.
–The chocolate river in the original film was made of real chocolate and cream, which of course shortly went bad and stunk up the whole studio.
-At one point, Martin Scorsese was attached to direct the remake but went with The Aviator instead.
-Despite reports that Roald Dahl hated the film version of his book, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes photos of him on set looking pleased as punch. Curious, very curious!