For years, there has been talk about a Willow sequel. Produced by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard, the cult film has remained a well-liked piece of ‘80s fantasy. Now, Warwick Davis is reprising his beloved role of Willow Ufgood in a sequel for Disney+. A Willow television series is filming this year.
Willow was not a hit when it came out in theaters. However, Willow presents a big world well-suited for Disney+, though. Best of all, Jon M. Chu is directing the series. He’s the filmmaker behind Crazy Rich Asians. Famously, Steven Spielberg discovered him. Howard is producing the series, which hopefully, will bring back Val Kilmer in some form. The world could always use more Madmartigan, the warrior who fights alongside Willow.
15 years ago, both Davis and Lucas were talking about a Willow television show. Then conversations began around a sequel. The conversation heated up a few years ago when Howard reconnected with Lucasfilm on the disappointing Han Solo prequel. Around that time, Howard said Lucasfilm and himself were having serious conversations about a sequel.
Ultimately, Disney+ announced a TV series. Years ago, Howard teased the story would follow lora Danan, the baby who’s expected to end the evil reign of the sorceress Queen Bavmorda. Willow saves Iora in the first film. In the sequel, Iora is most likely grownup and fulfilling her prophecy.
Willow is a fantasy film that people remember fondly, plus its effects and sets hold up well, so that helps it stand the test of time. “So many fans have asked me over the years if Willow will make a return, and now I’m thrilled to tell them that he will indeed,” said Warwick Davis when the new series was announced. “Many have told me they grew up with ‘Willow’ and that the film has influenced how they view heroism in our own world. If Willow Ufgood can represent the heroic potential in all of us, then he is a character I am extremely honored to reprise.”
Chu, known for some delightful Step Up movies as well, grew up as a real fan of Willow. The series is in the hands of a fan, as well as a good filmmaker behind one of the best studio romantic comedies of the 21st Century. “Growing up in the ’80s, Willow has had a profound effect on me,” said Chu. “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.”
Howard is remaining involved in the series, although Lucas is still hands-off when it comes to Lucasfilm’s properties these days. Howard, however, is. “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 [producers] Jon Kasdan and Team Willow,” Howard said. “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.”
Production will begin in Wales this year. More than likely, the Willow television series will debut later this year or sometime in early 2022. As Howard noted, the show isn’t a nostalgia trip, but a real continuation and deeper exploration of the original fantasy world. There are more stories and fun to be had in the world of Willow, especially with Jon M. Chu at the helm.