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Arthur Slugworth
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory character
File:217d1b59.jpg
First appearance Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Created by Ronald Dahl
Portrayed by Günter Meisner (1971)
Information
Gender Male

Mr. Arthur Slugworth is a fictional character and an antagonist in the children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) by British author Roald Dahl.

Slugworth in the book

In the book, Mr. Slugworth is one of Willy Wonka's rival chocolatiers. Slugworth, along with Wonka's other rivals Mr. Fickelgruber and Mr. Prodnose, sent in spies to steal the secret recipes to Wonka's treats. Having obtained these, he began making candy balloons that a consumer blows up to incredible sizes, and then causes to burst before eating them; a plagiarized invention. The work of Slugworth (along with the other rivals) came close to ruining Wonka's factory. Wonka was forced to close his factory and fire all his workers. A few years later, Wonka's factory began working again (operated exclusively by Oompa Loompas) and his work continued to dominate the candy industry, with no rival able to plagiarize his work because using the Oompa Loompas as his workers enables Wonka to operate his factory without regular employees and keeping it off-limits to the public, so no spies can infiltrate. Slugworth is never heard from again, but it is stated that Slugworth, Prodnose, or Fickelgruber would each give their front teeth to enter Wonka's inventing room (a laboratory) for three minutes.

Slugworth in the 1971 film

In the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Slugworth's company is in business. Inside Bill's Candy Shop, Wonka's products and signs are the most visible; but Slugworth's Sizzlers are also prominently displayed, and one is even sold to a child called June Marie. Also seen are signs for Fickelgruber's candy. Grandpa Joe describes Slugworth as the worst of Wonka's rivals, telling Charlie that he was one of those whose plagiarism convinced Wonka to close his business.

A man calling himself Slugworth is a prominent character later in the film. As each Golden Ticket is found, a sinister man approaches the finder and whispers something into his or her ear. After Charlie finds the last ticket, the same man approaches Charlie as well, and delivers what is presumably the same speech he has given the other children, wherein he introduces himself as Arthur Slugworth, president of Slugworth Chocolates Incorporated, and bribes the child to obtain one piece of the newly-invented Everlasting Gobstopper and bring it to him so he can discover and plagiarize the formula. Two of the children respond to Slugworth's bribe: Veruca Salt crosses her fingers behind her back when Willy Wonka asks the children to promise not show the Everlasting Gobstopper to anyone else. Mike Teavee asks his mother what secrets they can sell to Slugworth; his mother is also heard telling her son to keep his eyes peeled and his mouth shut. Grandpa Joe also responds near the end of the movie. After Willy Wonka snaps at him and Charlie Bucket together for sampling Fizzy Lifting Drinks, Grandpa Joe plans to give Slugworth the gobstopper as revenge. This is foiled however, as Charlie can't bring himself to betray Wonka and thus returns the gobstopper to Wonka.

Although at first it seems as though Slugworth is the film's main villain Wonka eventually reveals at the end of the film that the man is not Slugworth, but Mr. Wilkinson who works for Wonka, and that his offer was a moral test of character.

The movie does not explain how the false Slugworth was able to approach each winner so soon after they found their tickets. However, it's implied Wonka somehow managed to keep track of the each ticket's destination and then he told Wilkinson where they're most likely to be found.

Slugworth/Wilkinson was played by Günter Meisner, a West German actor.

Slugworth in the 2005 film

Slugworth only makes a split-second appearance in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He receives a secret recipe from Prodnose and is not heard of again. Examples of the plagiarization are shown, as is Wonka closing the doors on his workers, including Grandpa Joe. When Grandpa Joe meets Wonka, he tells him he used to work in his factory. Wonka does not seem to recognize Grandpa Joe, instead demanding if Grandpa Joe was one of the spies.

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