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Back in the 1980s, long after the original Star Wars films had been released, Lucasfilm decided to release an all-time classic of a dark fantasy film, titled Willow. The film, which followed the titular character, played by Warwick Davis, a reluctant farmer who plays a critical role in protecting a baby from a crazy queen, will be receiving a TV show on Disney+, among the other new shows, in the upcoming year on .
However, what exactly is this new show going to be about? Who is going to star in it? Is Willow himself going to return? Here are some quick things about what we know so far about the upcoming Willow series.
Willow Is Set To Release In 2022
On Disney Investor Day, when the Willow series was original announced, it was confirmed that the show would arrive on Disney+ in 2022. There’s no set release date yet for the fantasy show, but we at least know it won’t be long before it comes to our screens.
Willow Will Be Lucasfilm’s First Non-Star Wars Project In Five Years
With how much Star Wars content has been coming out the last few of years, like the release of the Star Wars sequels, The Mandalorian on Disney+, and the upcoming Boba Fett series, The Book of Boba Fett, sometimes it’s hard to remember that Lucasfilm is still a film studio and does more than just Star Wars content.
The Verge confirmed that this would be Lucasfilm's first non-Star Wars-related project in the last five years. The last project was the film Strange Magic, released the same year as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. With the Skywalker saga all wrapped up now, hopefully, this gives Lucasfilm a little more leeway for projects that don’t surround the force and wars with aliens.
Willow Is Set Decades After The Original Film
The original film, which debuted in 1988, starred plenty of fresh and famous faces, such as Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer as Madmartigan, and many others. However, with the new series, it will take place decades after the events of the first film.
In the Willow series, we will be introduced to a whole new group of characters, who are on a search and rescue mission for a kidnapped prince, with, of course, plenty of fantasy involved along the way.
Warwick Davis Will Return As Willow Ufgood In Willow
While most of the familiar faces from the original film will not return for the series, Warwick Davis will be coming back. Davis had quite a career after his appearance in Willow, playing several notable characters across a wide variety of movies. These include Lubdan in the Leprechaun series, Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook in the Harry Potter series, several characters across the Star Wars franchise, and so many others.
When talking about returning to his iconic fantasy role with Radio Times, Warwick Davis admits he never thought a series like this would occur.
You know what, it’s weird to be able to talk about it now! It’s something which I never thought I would see happen. Everything sort of aligned when we did the movie Solo. The writer, John Kasdan, was a huge fan of Willow. He grew up watching it and it’s one of the things that inspired him to become a screenwriter, as well as his dad. And then Ron Howard came into direct and John mentioned to him that he was a big fan of Willow and that got them talking. And I was on Solo looking a little bit like Willow with my long hair as Weazel, and all these things came together.
It seems that a series like Willow was meant to be after all. I for one can’t wait to see Warwick Davis return to the story, all these years later.
Willow’s Cast Includes Erin Kellyman, Ruby Cruz, And More
Even if we won’t see a lot of familiar faces, the cast so far that has been announced for the Willow series is unlike any other.
According to Deadline, when the show was originally announced, Erin Kellyman and Ellie Bamber are set to star in the new Disney+ series. Erin Kellyman, known for her role as Karli Morgenthau in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cast, will be reuniting with Lucasfilm after her run in Solo: A Star Wars Story as Enfys Nest. Ellie Bamber is new to the studio.
Another star that has been cast for Willow is Ruby Cruz, according to Deadline. The actress, known for her part in Castle Rock, has landed another female co-lead opposite the two already announced, replacing Cailee Spaeny, who was originally placed in the role Cruz acquired.
In addition to the four actresses already announced for lead roles, actor Amer Chadha-Patel, known for his part in Doom: Annihilation, has signed on for a male lead role in Willow, according to Deadline.
These cast announcements are for each of the members of the group of we will follow in Willow. I’m sure that as time goes on, we will begin to see more and more casting announcements for this new series. But, until then, it’s nice to know that we already have a great cast to look forward to.
Willow Has Had Several Director Changes Due To Timing Conflicts
While Willow itself already sounds like an amazing series to do, it has run into some conflicts regarding its director. Originally, it was announced during Disney Investor Day in 2020, that Crazy Rich Asians and In The Heights director, Jon M. Chu, would direct the pilot. However, he has since dropped out of the series due to timing conflicts, according to Deadline.
Chu released a statement following his departure and about the unfortunate circumstances that led to it.
With the production schedule moving due to continued lockdowns in the UK, and with a new baby coming this summer (surprise!), the timing is just not going to work for me and my family. As you may know, Willow has been one of my favorite movies since I was a child, so I’m devastated that I won’t be able to work with my heroes old and new like Kathy, Ron, Jon, Wendy, Michelle, and the amazing cast and crew they’ve put together.
After Jon M. Chu left the series, Jonathan Entwistle signed on for the job, but Deadline reports that he has also since left and been replaced by Stephen Woolfenden. Entwistle left during prep in April due to a scheduling conflict with his new Apple TV+ series, Hello Tomorrow.
Woolfenden was already associated with the Willow series, acting as a producing director, so thankfully it was someone with knowledge of the project. Because of him stepping in, the first two episodes have been completed.
Hopefully, this will be the end of director changes with Willow, but just in case, we’ll keep an eye out for updates.
While Willow will not appear on the 2021 fall TV schedule, we can at least look forward to next year when it comes out. I can’t wait to dive into the fantasy world I grew up with once more.