Many of us grew up with the classic 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, based on the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Its brilliant and wacky characters made us laugh, touched our hearts, and stayed with us through the many remakes. We suffered through the 2005 remake starring Johnny Depp as Wonka, however there are high hopes for the most recent film, Wonka, which is a prequel to the “big contest.”
To celebrate the release of Wonka, we have curated list of the wonderful character names of the Wonka universe:
Willy Wonka – Alliterative names – names where the first and last names start with the same letter – are always memorable in a cast of characters. In fact Stan Lee knew this when naming many of his characters such as Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, and
Charlie Bucket – Charlie is the main protagonist child in the story. A “bucket” suggests an occupation like housekeeper or janitor, implying that Charlie was of meager means. His lack of wealth is emphasized in the fact that both sets of grandparents lived with him and his mother. What a better and more deserving child to win the golden ticket?
Grandpa Joe – As a Biblical name, Joseph has been a common name in many English speaking countries. In the U.S. it has been in the top 10 for boys from 1900-2017. It is the perfect name to put to a grandfather sidekick character who is there to support the protagonist, but not detract from him.
Augustus Gloop – Augustus an obese, greedy, 9-year-old boy who can’t help himself around food, especially candy. The name Augustus in 1964 would have been uncommon for boys in both the U.K. and American. But it is similar to the word “gastric” – the part of your body which digests food. Gloop is a nonsense word and name that sounds muddy and “goopy.” Gloop’s demise, if you remember, is falling into the river of Chocolate – very goopy!
Veruca Salt – Veruca Salt is the wealth, spoiled child in the bunch of children who won golden tickets. She is entitled and privleleged, and her name literally means “wart” in Latin (Dahl did his name research)! Her surname, salt, is the opposite of sugar – indicating she is not a “sweet little girl” but is forever “salty” for not getting what she wants.
Violet Beauregard -Violet Beauregard is a rude, self-centered, braggart out to get what she wants as well as all the attention. She is the butt of the most iconic name joke in the classic film: “You’re turning violet, Violet!” after she chews an everlasting gobstopper. At the time the novel was written, both names were quintessentially British, possibly Dahl making a statement about British youth in the early 1960’s.
Mike Teavee – Mike Teavee is obsessed with television, hence his last name. In 1964 television was barely a decade old and often used for “babysitting” while parents grabbed time to themselves (similar to the iPad today). Children’s TV series blossomed during that era, and kids were obsessed. This was definitely Dahl’s take on the influence of television on youth culture during that time.
(Arthur) Slugworth – Slugworth is initially displayed as an evil villain, stalking the children who won the golden tickets and trying to tempt them into selling their prize. Eventually we find out that he is an employee of Wonka’s and used as a “test” to see if the children were honest and loyal to the candymaker. The word “slug” is synonymous with a slimy, slow-moving, worm-like mollusk – definitely an association that Dahl wanted to evoke. Arthur signifies his importance in the Wonka world, as it was a name of a fabled British king.
The Oompa-Loompas – Oompa-Loompas are a diminutive people who work in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. They sing songs throughout the story, explaining what is happening and the particular mistakes that each child makes. They are the Greek Chorus of the novels and movies and take us forward through the plot. Their songs even begin with their name: “Oompa loompa doompa-de-doo…” In the story Oompa-Loompa is not a given name, but a category of being that is small and has orange skin. It’s important to note that using this name for someone of smaller stature is considered offensive in modern culture.
Wonka 2023 Characters
The names created by the writers of the 2023 Wonka film are true to the whimsical style that Roald Dahl created for his books. Here is a list of the cast of characters:
Miss Bon Bon
What is your favorite Wonka iteration? The novel? The original classic movie? The Johnny Depp Remake? Or the prequel? We hope the Wonka universe will last for years to come, as it disguises its morality play into a perfectly played universe.