At the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the 1970 version with Gene Wilder)*, Wonka explains that his plan all along was to turn his factory over to a child.

Wonka: So, who can I trust to run the factory when I leave and take care of the Oompa Loompas for me? Not a grown-up. A grown-up would want to do everything his own way, not mine. That's why I decided a long time ago that I had to find a child. A very honest, loving child to whom I can tell all my most precious candy-making secrets.

Charlie: And that's why you sent out the Golden Tickets!

Wonka: That's right. So the factory's yours Charlie, you can move in immediately!

How could he have possibly known that all the Golden Tickets would wind up in the hands of children? After all, a grown-up could just have easily have bought the winning chocolate bar; there was even a hoax earlier in the film where the fifth Golden Ticket did go to a grown-up. And yet against the odds, five children got all five Golden Tickets. How could he have counted on getting this result?

* This might have been a plot point in the 2005 version too, but I don't have it handy.

  • 3
    Out of universe: because its based on a children's story, In universe: He couldn't, in-fact one of the tickets was found by the child's parent using his factory workers to open thousands of bars. In story it just happens that either a child or a parent finds all the tickets.
    – iandotkelly
    Sep 9, 2016 at 3:49
  • It doesn't say he knew they would end up in the hands of children.
    – sanpaco
    Sep 10, 2016 at 7:30

2 Answers 2


I can't find any specific references to it, but the contest had rules, one of the rules was that each winner could bring one or two family members with them to accompany them. The ticket verbiage is non-specific.

Much like many sweepstakes are only open to adults, if he wanted children, he could have set rules that only allowed children under a certain age were eligible to redeem/collect/win the prize associated with the golden ticket. Much like with contests and sweepstakes today, the full set of rules are often kept separately, in official documents for reference, so it not being on the ticket, itself, doesn't mean it wasn't a rule.

However, this is only speculation on how that could happen, for people thinking this might be a logical hole in the plot. I don't see any references or quotes to the contest rules specifying that this was a mechanism that was used.

  • While this seems plausible, the text on the Golden Ticket that Charlie reads doesn't say it's only for children. It does say "You may bring with you one member of your own family but no one else.", yet that doesn't say "You must be a child and can bring one adult". I guess there could be lots of fine print on the ticket, but I don't see any evidence of it. Sep 9, 2016 at 18:37
  • 2
    @Thunderforge - What I'm saying is that usually the full rules are a separate document (at least, for modern contests in our overly litigious society), so it would NOT be on the ticket. Sep 12, 2016 at 13:35
  • @poloHoleset true, but you would expect to at least see "see xyz for full Ts&Cs" written on the ticket
    – Gamora
    Dec 19, 2019 at 13:12
  • It is a children's novel. So the story was meant to be so.
  • A character called Slugworth was after Wonka's latest creation. Any adult could be easily convinced to give out the secrets using the power of money. But children would know be the same as most of them would not have such cunning minds like that of an adult. In the end, we come to know that Slugworth was working for Wonka himself. So you know that it was a test set by Wonka to make sure the factory goes into the right (Child's) hands and if it was an adult that kept the golden ticket, Wonka would have enough time to plan a way to eliminate that candidate in the process of the factory tour.

If all the tickets were found and kept by adults, Wonka would probably forfiet the offer. :P

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