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Does Roald Dahl’s Shared Universe Exist? All The Evidence (So Far)


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The Witches is the latest adaptation of Roald Dahl’s work, and it even hints at the idea that there could be a shared universe of his characters.

Roald Dahl is one of the most famous children’s authors of all time. It’s ironic considering he never really liked children, but his work has gone on to inspire multiple movie adaptations, on both the big and small screen. His books seemed to all crossover in some way.

RELATED: Ranking Every Roald Dahl Movie, From Least To Most Book Accurate

With similar characters and shared ideas, the children’s novels were clearly taking place in a similar world in Dahl’s mind. This hasn’t been explicitly confirmed on screen, but there’s a number of references across the film adaptations that could provide evidence to a shared universe. With many of these properties being rebooted with the release of Witches, there may be more crossovers in the future.

10 Roald Dahl Portrait

Roald Dahl Portrait Matilda

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Sometimes the creators of a universe are brought into the live action adaptations as a nod to them. However, this can be taken further, with the creator actually linking together these various films

Stan Lee is a great example of this in the Marvel movies, where it turns out he is an informant to the Watchers, linking the Marvel films closer. Roald Dahl actually appears in a portrait in Matilda, with the painting taken from his time during the war; perhaps helping to create a link to the other films.

9 Franklin Bean’s Resemblance

Fantastic Mr Fox Roald Dahl Franklin Bean

Franklin Bean actually follows this same idea. One of Wes Anderson’s personal heroes was Roald Dahl. It’s therefore not that surprising that the director of Fantastic Mr Fox had to get a reference in the film for him.

The design of the farmer Franklin Bean is based completely on Roald Dahl, holding much more than just a mild resemblance. This only supports the notion of a kind of Stan Lee character crossing over into all of these films.

8 Matilda’s Book Collection

Witches Book Matilda Roald Dahl

Matilda absolutely loves to read. It’s one of the defining elements of her character. However, she’s not allowed too many books since her parents don’t exactly like to feed her habit. One of the books she does possess is quite surprising though.

RELATED: Every Roald Dahl Movie, Ranked According To IMDb

Matilda actually has a copy of The Witches on her book shelf. This suggests that it’s a fictional story within her universe, or perhaps even a true story based upon something that happened in the Witches film. Either way it creates a crossover between the franchises.

7 Magic

The Witches Roald Dahl

Speaking of The Witches, there’s another link between the film, Matilda and other Roald Dahl properties such as The BFG. The existence of magic in this universe is mad very clear; especially when it concerns magical creatures, even in the reboot of Witches.

There’s a certain type of magic that links these films together. For instance, perhaps Matilda herself could be considered a witch, although certainly one of the good kinds. While it’s a common trope to have magic in a kids film, it’s suspicious that some similar traits and ideas are shared.

6 A Nightmare Before Christmas

James and the Giant Peach Jack Skellington Roald Dahl

Jack Skellington is an incredibly popular character, but one thing that fans may not know is that the stop motion skeleton has actually appeared in another film. Utilising the same stop motion techniques, Jack is actually seen in James And The Giant Peach. 

What’s more though, on Halloween night, Willy Wonka is kept away from enjoying the candy usually given out during the festivities. Amongst the trick or treaters are three dressed as Lock, Shock and Barrel. Clearly Nightmare Before Christmas exists within this universe.

5 Danny’s Bedtime Stories

Danny The Champion of the World Roald Dahl

Danny The Champion Of The World is an often underrated piece of Roald Dahl’s career. What’s more, there’s actually a British TV movie that was created, based on the book. It’s an incredibly accurate adaptation.

One huge link is with The BFG. One of the bedtime stories that Danny is told is in relation to a giant that steals his dreams. This is clearly a direct reference to a film based on the friendly beast and the film itself actually references Danny!

4 Scrumdiddlyumptious

Scrumdiddlyumptious Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl

One of the things that is both in the book and the movie, is Willy Wonka has created a bar known as the Scrumdiddlyumptious. This is quite a unique word and it therefore stands out when heard again.

RELATED: Top 10 Movies Based on Roald Dahl’s Books (According to Rotten Tomatoes)

The BFG actually uses this word to describe some of the food he is eating. It’s possible that the BFG heard this word in the human world due to Wonka’s chocolate, or perhaps Wonka himself named the chocolate after a childhood friend in the Big Friendly Giant.

3 The BFG’s Drawings

The BFG Roald Dahl

The BFG is quite the artist and has a few drawings of previous adventures he has been on. One of these drawings is of a young boy. It’s clear that it’s actually of Danny himself, suggesting the two have met before.

This is perhaps one of the clearest links between two different Roald Dahl stories. Danny was once in the role that Sophie finds herself in, but he then of course went on to have a very different adventure of his own. It’s a shame the film was a flop considering how deep it went into the Dahl universe.

2 A Shared Visual Language

James and the Giant Peach Roald Dahl

An interesting component of these movies is that every time there’s some kind of need for an animated aspect to the films, the use of stop motion has been employed. This gives the films a shared visual language, making them feel more connected.

Even the original transformation from boy to mouse in Witches used practical effects that look remarkably similar. This may be a deliberate choice to allow the films to all feel a little bit more cohesive.

1 The Witch’s Chocolate

The Witches Roald Dahl

The Witches use chocolate to try and lure in the kids and work their magic on them. The chocolate has to be pretty irresistible for the kids to actually take it from them. As can be seen in the picture above, some of the chocolate appears to even be in gold wrapping.

There’s a lot of theories that the chocolate being offered has been created by Willy Wonka’s factory. If this is true then this is a massive confirmation that the two films take place in the same universe.

NEXT: Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory: 10 Facts About Willy Wonka The Movie Leaves Out

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Updated: November 7, 2020 — 1:00 am

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