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Is Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Snowpiercer’ a Sequel to ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’? One Fan Theory Says Yes

Ellen Gutoskey
Gene Wilder in 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.'
Gene Wilder in 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.' / Warner Home Video
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Strictly speaking, Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 sci-fi movie Snowpiercer has nothing to do with the 1971 children’s classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. But a certain fan theory claims otherwise.

According to the so-called “Wonkapiercer” theory, developed by YouTuber Rhino Stew, Snowpiercer is actually a sequel to the Gene Wilder-starring adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved book.

*If you haven’t already seen both movies, you might want to stop reading here: Spoilers abound further down.*

Rhino Stew begins their comprehensive video breakdown by first drawing some surface-level parallels between the plots of the two films. “They’re both two movies about groups of people that work their way through a large, fantastic structure,” they explain. “One by one, a person from the group is removed in each room until one person makes it to the very end, who then [finds] out that the entire thing was a test because a wealthy industrialist needed to find a new successor.”

Both also tackle “sacrifice, choice, and free will,” and focus a lot on “economic class structures,” children, and food. But the theory doesn’t just involve eerie structural and thematic similarities: Rhino Stew suggests that Ed Harris’s Wilford, the dictatorial magnate who owns the train, is actually a grown-up Charlie Bucket.

As the hypothesis goes, Charlie followed in Willy Wonka’s footsteps—even taking his name—and continued developing “state-of-the-art food production and experimental modes of transportation,” which he then used to construct the Snowpiercer to save humanity during the climate crisis. The train, like Wonka’s chocolate factory, is “self-contained and self-sustaining,” Rhino Stew explains.

It’s even possible that certain characters from Willy Wonka reappear in Snowpiercer. Wonka’s spy, Slugworth, could be Wilford’s spy, Gilliam. Franco’s sharpshooting skills call to mind the gun-loving Mike Teavee; and with Minister Mason’s penchant for fur coats and habit of entering every room ahead of her companions, she could be an adult Veruca Salt. 

Rhino Stew has an explanation for the conspicuous absence of the Oompa Loompas in Snowpiercer, too. When Wilford says that a certain “piece of equipment” required to keep the train running “went extinct recently,” he’s not talking about a mechanical part—he’s talking about Oompa Loompas. (After all, Oompa Loompas were integral to the operation of Willy Wonka’s innovative transportation systems, too.) Once the last Oompa Loompa died, Wilford began using children instead.

The evidence above is pretty compelling on its own—but the “Wonkapiercer” theory features even more details. Watch Rhino Stew’s whole video below to learn more.

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