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Before Ron Howard directed his upcoming Star Wars film based on the work of George Lucas, he directed a very different fantasy movie based on work from the same man. As it turns out, the new movie will contain a reference to the old one. What's interesting, however, is that the reference to Willow that you'll see in Solo: A Star Wars Story wasn't placed there by director Ron Howard. It turns out that the Corellian Hounds that will appear in Solo were always meant to be an homage to the Death Dogs of Willow, as Solo co-writer Jon Kasdan recently revealed.
Jon Kasdan includes a tweet from the ILM Twitter account which shows a brief GIF of the Corellian Hounds, large, vicious looking dog-like creatures that will be included in Solo: A Star Wars Story. It turns out that their inclusion was done by the writer because the Death Dogs from Willow, another story written by George Lucas, had always scared him as a child. Little did he know that, following a change in directors, the man who directed Willow, Ron Howard, would take over Solo.
Willow was a 1988 fantasy film that starred Warwick Davis (who will also have a cameo in Solo) as a simple farmer who is entrusted with the safety of an infant who is prophesied to bring peace to a world ruled over by an evil sorceress. The Death Dogs are some of the sorceress' evil minions. They are seen in the opening of the film as the infant's nursemaid tries to carry the baby to safety. She successfully sends the child down the river on a raft before the dogs attack her, as Kasdan mentions here. Later, the dogs arrive in Willow's village looking for the infant, though they are killed by fellow villagers.
It's not surprising that the Death Dogs scared Jon Kasdan as a child. While Willow is, for the most part, a fun little fantasy movie, there are some really dark elements that could disturb small viewers, the Death Dogs are chief among them, but far from the only thing in that movie that's a bit scary.
While Corellian Hounds are white instead of black and bear little physical resemblance to the Death Dogs, Corellian Hounds are clearly alien, they are pretty unsettling looking and depending on how they get used in Solo: A Star Wars Story, there's a decent chance that they will work well as nightmare fuel for an entirely new generation of young filmgoers.