In the nearly 47 years since the Roald Dahl's beloved story about a little boy that finds a golden ticket became a hit on the big screen, we've heard some wild theories about the whimsical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Like that one about how Grandpa Joe might actually be the real villain of the story, or whether the whole film is just one big allusion to Dante's Inferno. Now, we've just heard one more remarkable fan theory that is so simple and sweet, it might actually be true.
Redditor paulvs88 posits that Charlie's seemingly random stroke of luck in finding that fateful ticket might not have been so random after all. The first part of the theory seems tenuous at best. Paulvs88 makes the assertion that the reporter who announces that the fifth golden ticket (the fake one) has been found is played by Gene Wilder. There's no real proof of this, and the two actors do not appear to look anything alike. Compare for yourself with the side-by-side images below.
So while that part of the theory is blowing up faster than Violet Beauregard, the rest still seems to hold up.
Was Bill The Candyman Really Working For Willy Wonka?
This is the crucial component of the theory, and, TBH, it makes perfect sense. Paulvs88 writes that the man who owned the candy store, Bill — which is another version of William or Willy — was actually a secret Wonka employee the whole time, just like the man that tested Charlie by asking for an ever-lasting gobstopper for "Slugworth."
With the whole world up in arms over the hunt for the tickets, Wonka wanted the fifth child to find it "in a pure way." So he gave the last ticket to Bill, which makes sense logistically, since any child going to Bill's candyshop lives close enough to the chocolate factory that they will be able to get there the following day, the day of the tour. Paulvs88 writes:
When Charlie comes in with his found money Bill offers him a Slugworth or a Wonka. Charlie says "whichever is biggest". So he gets the Wonka. Then as Charlie is walking out he says to Bill "I also want to get one for my Grandpa Joe"...that is the clincher. Bill HAS to give the ticket today because the event is tomorrow. Charlie NEVER gets to choose what candy to buy grandpa Joe. Bill says 'here, try a traditional Wonka bar this time' and grabs one. He doesn't grab one from the stack as an owner would, he takes the display one and hands it to Charlie. He knew exactly which one had the ticket.
Watch the whole scene again for yourself to see if the theory stacks up.
The theory fits perfectly with one of the aspects of the film that was hardest for me to grasp as a small child. In the opening scene, "Candyman," Bill is just tossing out free candies willy nilly to every kid that comes into the store. Charlie is watching all of this hungrily from the outside, wishing he could go in there, but not feeling right about it. As a kid, I never understood why, since the candy was free, he didn't just go in and get some. My mother told me it was because Charlie wasn't greedy like the other kids, and he didn't think he belonged in there since he could never actually pay for any candy himself. I wasn't convinced and remained bewildered for the next 20 years, but after reading this new theory, it actually makes perfect sense. Charlie is different. His absence in the "Candyman" song reinforces his humility, discipline and total lack of selfishness not only to the audience, but to Bill. If Charlie were like every other grubby whippersnapper trying to fill his pockets with free goodies, he would never have been the right boy to get the golden ticket, or, in the end, the real prize: the whole chocolate factory.