Cult Classic Film Willow To Get Sequel Series At Disney+ With John M. Chu Directing
For kids of a certain age, the film Willow is a huge deal. Warwick Davis, as the titular character, and Val Kilmer as Madmartigan lived in their heads long after the movie left theaters. Now that Lucasfilm is part of the Disney company, it was only a matter of time before this (would-be) franchise got it’s second bite at the pop culture apple. Disney+ confirmed today that a sequel series to the original Willow film would debut on the streaming service. John M. Chu, of Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights fame, will direct the pilot and executive produce the series. Joining him are Jonathan Kasdan, co-writer of Solo and son of Lucasfilm royalty Lawrence Kasdan, will serve as co-showrunners with Wendy Mericle of Arrow. Other executive producers are Ron Howard and Davis, who will surely reprise his role.
Unlike the other fantasy world of magic and chosen ones from Lucasfilm, Willow was always a one-off tale on the big screen. There were a series of novels, written by X-Men writer Chris Claremont that focused on an older Elora, the infant from the film. There were also a few video games. However, with Davis, Ron Howard, and original Willow screenwriter Bob Dolman, the show can both grab the nostalgic audience and perhaps captivate an entirely new on with new characters.
As Howard said in a statement, according to Variety:
“It’s creatively exciting to not only revisit the world and characters first conceived by George Lucas, Bob Dolman and myself but to see it take flight in such fresh, fun and cinematic ways through the imagination of Jon Kasdan and Team Willow…. This isn’t a nostalgic throw-back, it’s a creative lean-forward and it’s a blast to be a part of it all.”
Chu also gave a statement, talking about how important the original film was to him as a source of creative inspiration:
“Growing up in the’80s, Willow has had a profound effect on me…. The story of the bravest heroes in the least likely places allowed me, an Asian-American kid growing up in a Chinese restaurant looking to go to Hollywood, to believe in the power of our own will, determination and of course, inner magic. So, the fact that I get to work with my heroes from Kathleen Kennedy to Ron Howard is bigger than a dream come-true. It’s a bucket-list moment for me. Jon Kasdan and Wendy Mericle have added such groundbreaking new characters and delightful surprises to this timeless story that I can’t wait for the world to come along on this epic journey with us.”
It’s unlikely Val Kilmer will return. Recent health complications forced him to effectively retire from acting. (Though he did appear in a wordless cameo for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, last year.) It’s also unclear if actor Joanne Whalley will return as Sorsha. Next in Eleanor Coppola’s Love Is Love Is Love, Comic Years readers may best recognize her as Sister Maggie in the final season of Daredevil.
While all future production plans come with a degree of uncertainty, Howard says production will begin in earnest in 2021.
What do you think? Are you excited that John M. Chu will bring a sequel series to Willow to Disney+? Tell us what you hope (or fear) will happen with the new story in the comments below.
Featured image via Lucasfilm
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.