The filmmaker announced his exit on Monday afternoon, noting that he’s “heartbroken” to step away from the project.
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“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,” Chu wrote in a statement. “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.”
In October 2020, Disney+ announced that Chu would helm the series pilot. The announcement of the new Disney+ series, directed by Ron Howard from a story by George Lucas, came nearly 18 months after news of the series development of the ’80s film.
The fantasy film starred Warwick Davis as a reluctant farmer who plays a critical role in protecting a special baby from a tyrannical queen who vows to destroy her and take over the world. Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, and Billy Barty also starred.
Chu was set to serve as executive producer with showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (Solo) and Wendy Mericle (Arrow). However, Chu now says he looks forward to “watching this magical new world unfold as a very enthusiastic fan.”
Erin Kellyman, Cailee Spaeny and Ellie Bamber are set to star in the new Disney+ series, which will start production in Wales, where the original film was shot.
Jonathan Kasdan wrote the pilot. Ron Howard, also returns as executive producer on the series with Bob Dolman, writer of the original film, serving as consulting producer. Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Jonathan Kasdan, Wendy Mericle will also serve as executive producers, with Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman as co-executive producers with Julia Cooperman as producer.
See Chu’s full statement below.
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) January 11, 2021