Taika Waititi will tackle the Oompa-Loompas for upcoming Netflix series

The mysterious Oompa-Loompas were either the unsung heroes or subtle villains of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, depending on how you interpret the story. And now they’re finally going to get their time in the spotlight, courtesy of Netflix and Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi.

Fresh off winning an Academy Award for penning the screenplay for Jojo Rabbit, which he also directed, Waititi will write, direct, and executive produce a pair of original animated series for Netflix based on the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dahl’s 1964 novel about a young boy who wins a chance to meet the Willy Wonka, an enigmatic chocolate maker and tour his fantastic factory.

The book has been adapted for the big screen twice, in 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and later in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

According to Deadline, one of Waititi’s series will be based on the characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, while the other will focus on the Oompa-Loompas, the race of diminutive factory workers who help Willy Wonka make his wondrous treats. The series will reportedly expand on the world of Dahl’s novel, which featured a group of children who find that Willy Wonka’s factory holds plenty of dangers along with his amazing creations.

“I grew up reading Dahl stories and lived large parts of my young life in those magical worlds, so finding just the right creative partner to bring Willy Wonka, Charlie, and the Oompa-Loompas to life in animation was a daunting task … until Taika walked into the room,” Netflix Vice President of Original Animation Melissa Cobb said in a statement. “Then, it was really obvious. If Dahl had created a character of a filmmaker to adapt his work, I’m pretty sure he would have created Taika.”

The shows mark the start of a deal between Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company that will have the streaming media company adapt several well-known stories penned by Dahl. Along with Waititi’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory shows, the deal also sets up projects based on Matilda, and The BFG, two stories that have been adapted in the past but will be reimagined for Netflix.

The director of Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel Studios, Waititi most recently wrote and directed Jojo Rabbit, and directed the first season finale of The Mandalorian for Disney+. He previously directed the critically acclaimed indie films Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows, with the latter film recently adapted into a well-received television series for FX.

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