Roald Dahl Originally Made Charlie Bucket Black In CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
A recent interview has revealed that writer Roald Dahl had originally written Charlie Bucket, the protagonist of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, as a young black boy. Jezebel writes that Dahl was convinced to make Charlie white after a conversation with his agent...
“I can tell you that it was his agent who thought it was a bad idea, when the book was first published, to have a black hero. She said people would ask: ‘Why?’”
Some reading this might know that the original version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory featured the Oompa Loompas as black pygmies from Africa, which was ultimately retconned and replaced with the fictitious characters we see today in a second edition of the story. Dahl would later say he meant nothing offensive with his decision, which is why he changed the characters.
Still, it's interesting to wonder what would've happened had Dahl ignored his agent and released the book the way he wanted to. Would the book be as big of a hit as it is still today? Would Dahl have written Charlie the same way, or would he perhaps make another misstep and present a less than savory representation of a young black child to the world? I guess we'll never know.