Back in 2018 we brought you the news that Netflix had partnered up with the Roald Dahl Story Company to bring the author's most famous creations to the streaming platform.
The plan was to create brand new original animated features based on the best-selling library of books, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, and many other beloved titles.
At the time, Roald Dahl’s widow, Felicity Dahl said, “This partnership with Netflix is an incredibly exciting new chapter for the Roald Dahl Story Company. Roald would, I know, be thrilled.”
It then took another three years for Netflix really get the ball rolling.
Netflix Acquires Iconic Roald Dahl Story Company
In September 2021, Ted Sarandos made the announcement that Netflix had actually acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company and not simply gone into partnership with it.
Adding a little more information he stated that Academy Award winning filmmaker Taika Waititi and Academy Award nominee Phil Johnston were hard at work on a series based on the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
In addition, they were also working with Sony and Working Title on an adaptation of Matilda The Musical. That dropped on Netflix around the world in December 2022. However, fans in the UK and Ireland have to wait until June 2023 to see it on the streaming platform.
With the acquisition also came the realisation that an entire Roald Dahl universe could be created. And so Netflix expanded its initial idea to create a series of animated features and instead branch into live action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theatre, consumer products and more.
So now the question is when w will we see more of Dahl's adaptations on Netflix?
New Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
As mentioned above, Taika Waititi has been handed the job of creating two shows based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
All we know so far is that one is being made under the name of ‘Oompa-Loompas' and is a TV series centering on the adventures of the little people who worked at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
The second is an animated series based on the world and characters of the same book.
However, the last anybody heard any news about either production was back in 2020. There has been nothing since. Now that doesn't mean they're not in production in some way, but so far their production status is stuck on ‘optioned'.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Benedict Cumberbatch will play Henry Sugar in Wes Anderson's upcoming adventure comedy which also marks his first movie made for a streaming service.
It will also star Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, Rupert Friend, Ben Kingsley and Richard Ayoade.
Scheduled for release on Netflix in 2023, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar follows an independently wealthy man who finds and reads a doctor's report on a strange patient the doctor met while stationed at a hospital in India.
This patient, who called himself “The Man Who Sees Without Using His Eyes”, had the ability to see even after the doctors had medically sealed the man's eyes shut and bandaged his head. When interviewed in more detail by the curious doctors he gave an account which they wrote up.
Henry realizes that the book contains a detailed description of the method used to gain this ability so he steals the book and then decides to try to master the art described.
Roald Dahl Legacy
Despite the recent controversy over the proposed editing of the beloved books, Roald Dahl's legacy remains as strong as ever.
His books have been translated into 63 languages and sold more than 300 million copies worldwide, with characters like Matilda, The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Willy Wonka and The Twits delighting generations of children and adults.
With one new book sold every 2.5 seconds, the Roald Dahl brand continues to grow in popularity globally.
At the heart of it, Dahl's stories always had a positive message. The world can be tough but, with a combination of imagination, determination and heart, everyone, no matter how small and powerless they feel, possesses the strength to change their own circumstances for the better.
Thankfully Netflix intends to remain faithful to the quintessential spirit and tone of Dahl. But also plans to build an imaginative story universe that expands far beyond the pages of the books themselves.
Future Netflix Roald Dahl Creations
As I sit and write this in March 2023, I wish I could tell you more about what is coming down the pipeline.
The reality is that Netflix have been very hush-hush about additional projects since the made their announcement back in 2021.
We know that The Twits has been optioned, that Matilda the Musical has been made and Taika Waititi has two more on the go. Plus we have The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar to look forward to.
If however, any more juicy nuggets come our way, we will, as always, let you know!