Disney+ gives Willow series official green light
Staff Reporter | On 21, Oct 2020
Disney+ has officially given the green light to its Willow series, with Jon M Chu on board to direct.
The project has been in the works for some time at the Disney subscription service, but now, production is officially gearing up to start, taking viewers back into the magical world of George Lucas’ epic fantasy.
The series, which is Lucasfilm’s first venture into non-Star Wars storytelling since 2015, takes place years after the events of the original swords, sorcery, myths and monsters adventure. It introduces all-new characters to the enchanted realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters, and welcomes back its namesake hero, Willow Ufgood, performed once again by Warwick Davis.
Jon M. Chu (In The Heights) is set to direct the pilot, and will serve as executive producer along with showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (Solo) and Wendy Mericle (Arrow). Ron Howard, director of the original Willow film, returns as executive producer on the series with Bob Dolman, writer of the original film, serving as consulting producer. Jonathan Kasdan wrote the pilot.
“Growing up in the ’80s, ‘Willow’ has had a profound effect on me,” says 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.”
“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,” says Howard. “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.”
“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,” says Davis. “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.”
The production plans to return to Wales, where much of the original film was shot. Production is slated to begin in 2021.
Willow series still awaiting green light from Disney+
3rd February 2020
The much-mooted Willow series is still awaiting a green light from Disney+, Ron Howard has revealed.
The House of Mouse’s subscription service has wasted no time in bringing out all of its heavyweight franchise muscle to compete with Netflix, including newly trailed Marvel series Loki, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, as well as Star Wars series The Mandalorian. Last year, reports arose of talks about a follow-up to Willow.
The MGM fantasy film from Ron Howard and George Lucas was first released in 1988 and starred Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis. It followed a farmer who reluctantly helped to protect a special baby from a queen who wanted to take over the world.
Howard said last year that Star Wars writer Jon Kasdan had been “hounding” him about rebooting the film. A year on, with Disney+ about to launch in the UK, Howard has given an update on the project – namely, that Disney still hasn’t made a final decision.
Howard told Variety, however, that the scripts are almost complete.
“We’re working on it, it’s not greenlit, but I was just on the phone today discussing it with Jonathan who has written the scripts,” Howard commented. “It’s in serious development, but there’s nothing to announce quite yet.”
Davis, who played the titular dwarf in the original, has reportedly held talks to reprise his role as a “more mature” version of the character.
“If it happens, Warwick will definitely be a part of it,” Howard added.
Disney+ reportedly eyeing up Willow reboot
4th May 2019
A reboot of Willow may soon be coming to Disney+.
Disney’s new streaming platform, launching in the USA later this year, is wasting no time in bringing out all of its heavyweight franchise muscle to compete with Netflix. So far, Marvel series are in the works for Loki, Scarlet Witch and more, a Star Wars Rogue One prequel is being produced and a further Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, is in production from director Jon Favreau, and Pixar is making a Monsters, Inc. series. Now, talks are happening abut a potential series based on Willow.
The MGM fantasy film from Ron Howard and George Lucas was first released in 1988 and starred Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis. It follows a farmer who reluctantly helps to protect a special baby from a queen who wants to take over the world. Howard said to MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast that Star Wars writer Jon Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story) had been “hounding” him about rebooting the film.
“I think it’d be a great way to go,” Howard commented. “In fact, George always talked about the possibility of a Willow series, and it’d be great and more intimate, and built around that character and some of the others. And Jon Kasdan has, I think, an inspired take on it and it could be really, really cool.”
Deadline reports that Disney+ has held talks about the project, with the reboot focussing on a more mature Willow, who’s older and wiser and probably more than a bit deadlier.