Disney+ Just Canceled Its Third Show In Less Than A Month

The streaming industry has proven to be as unpredictable as the wild, wild west, with show cancellations flying left and right. Netflix is arguably the streamer most commonly known for axing its series, especially those that have only aired for one season. Disney+, however, has been shocking plenty of its customers as of late, though, by pulling the plug on multiple productions. Just a few weeks ago, the House of Mouse’s entertainment platform sacked sports dramedies Big Shot and The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. Well, the service has now canceled its third show in less than a month: Willow

Touted as another major epic from Lucasfilm, Willow will officially conclude its journey on Disney+ after a single season, according to Deadline. Neither series producers nor studio officials have officially commented on the decision, as of this writing. And considering that the streamer – like others – doesn’t release viewership data, it can’t be said with certainty just how heavily the ratings played into the show’s premature demise. As the trade points out, this move also comes at a time at which the company is aiming to cut down on content in order to reach profitability, though it may make the more recent Disney Plus price hikes seem less and less justified.

Warwick Davis in Willow.

(Image credit: Disney+)

The short-lived high fantasy show continued the story that began in Ron Howard’s 1988 movie of the same name, which starred Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley and Warwick Davis (as the titular character). Davis reprised the role for the series alongside Ellie Bamber, Ruby Cruz, Tony Revolori, Erin Kellyman, Dempsey Bryk and Amar Chadha-Patel. Whalley also returned in a guest starring capacity.

Willow takes place 20 years after the events of its big-screen predecessor and sees a new team of heroes unite for a quest that would take them far beyond their homes. The drama – which was developed by Jonathan Kasdan – received mostly positive reviews from critics. When CinemaBlend spoke with Kasdan months ago, he admitted to being confused about the show’s future and couldn't say for sure if it would be renewed. The writer/EP, nevertheless went all in for his open-ended finale, knowing that Season 2 was not guaranteed.

While this cancellation news says a lot about the state of Disney’s streaming service, it also speaks volumes to Lucasfilm’s current direction. The studio has several major productions on the platform right now in The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch and The Book of Boba Fett. And others like Ahsoka, The Acolyte and Skeleton Crew are on the way. However, the company has also scrapped a number of high-profile projects, including Star Wars movies from Patty Jenkins and Marvel’s Kevin Feige. It’ll be intriguing to see how they proceed content-wise over the next few years.

It’s honestly sad to see Willow go so soon, considering the quality of the shows and the fact that it opened up a number of storytelling possibilities for the franchise moving forward. It would simply seem that it wasn’t able to penetrate the pop culture zeitgeist the way its corporate home would’ve liked, however. Given the notoriety of the brand though, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company decides to return to this IP once more at some point down the road. I know I'll be keeping an eye on that as well as any additional cancellations that happen at Disney+ in the near future. 

Those who’ve yet to watch Willow – or simply want to revisit its sole season – can still stream all episodes (and the classic movie) now using a Disney+ subscription. Be sure to keep your eyes locked on the 2023 TV schedule for updates on other premieres that are set to occur this year.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.