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Downton Abbey and The Crown stars join star-studded cast of exciting children's film reboot

Wonka is set to hit screens on 13 March 2023

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Eve Crosbie
Eve CrosbieTV & Film Writer
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Downton Abbey fans can look forward to seeing one of its most recognised stars in a brand new role!

MORE: These two Downton Abbey stars are reuniting for major new series

Jim Carter, who has starred as the beloved butler Carson since the period drama began back in 2010, has joined the cast of the exciting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel movie, Wonka.

WATCH: The sequel to the 2019 Downton Abbey film is due out next year

He'll be joined by a slew of A-list stars including Oscar-winning actress and star of The Crown, Olivia Colman, Paddington actress Sally Hawkins and Mr Bean himself, Rowan Atkinson. Timothee Chalamet will be taking on the lead role as a younger version of the famous chocolate maker in the new movie musical.

Also set to star are Sex Education star Rakhee Thakrar, The Lion King's Keegan-Michael Key, comedian and Bake Off host Matt Lucas, The White Lotus actress Natasha Rothwell and Paterson Joseph, who viewers will have seen recently in BBC One drama Vigil.

MORE: Inside Downton Abbey stars' homes: Lily James, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern and more

MORE: Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville looks unrecognisable following incredible weight loss

The film, which is set to hit the big screen on 13 March 2023, will focus on a young Willy Wonka and explore "how he met the Oompa-Loompas on one of his earliest adventures," according to the official synopsis. The musical will feature original songs written by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy.

timothee chalamet© Photo: Getty Images

Timothee Chalamet will take on the lead role in the upcoming musical

David Heyman, who worked on the Paddington movies, as well as the Harry Potter films, is producing alongside Alexandra Derbyshire and Luke Kelly. Opening up about what viewers can expect from the film, he told Collider: "It's a prequel, it's not a sequel."

He added that the film will explore the question of "What makes Willy" adding: "When we find him at the chocolate factory doing the golden ticket, where is he before that? What leads him to that place where he's locked himself away? It's how does he get there? So we're playing around with that."

Meanwhile, it's believed that filming for the upcoming second Downton Abbey film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, has wrapped up. 

MORE: Netflix confirms when The Crown season five will drop

The sequel, which recently had its release date pushed back from December of this year to March 2022, will see all of the ITV period drama's best-loved characters return for another feature-length story. 

Alongside Jim, Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery viewers can also expect to see some new faces among the cast. Set to make their debut in the film are Dominic West, Nathalie Bate, Hugh Dancy and Laura Haddock. Find out more about them and who they're set to play here.

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