Grab your everlasting gobstopper. It’s Roald Dahl Day.
In light of the holiday, a new fact has come to light about one of the author’s biggest and most popular characters.
According to The Guardian, Dahl’s character Charlie from the famous “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was originally going to be black, but Dahl was persuaded to make him white.
Dahl’s widow Lucy Dahl told BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, “His first Charlie that he wrote about was a little black boy.”
Lucy said she wasn’t sure why Dahl changed the character, but that “it’s a great pity.”
Dahl’s biographer, Donald Sturrock, said on the same radio show that the author’s agent suggested the switch since a black Charlie would not appeal to most readers.
“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,” said Sturrock. “She said people would ask: ‘Why?’
The twist in this: Dahl faced criticism over the years for the lack of diversity in the Willy Wonka book, since Oompa Loompa characters in the book come from Central Africa and are compared to “black pygmies,” according to The Guardian.
Watch the entire interview with Dahl and Sturrock below.