The 1980s fantasy film 'Willow' is getting a series on Disney+!
Back when I was younger, I must have seen Willow a dozen times in the theater. Can you imagine my excitement when I heard the film is now getting its own TV series? Disney+ recently announced that Willow would get the series treatment.
Here's what we know so far:
Is the Willow TV series a sequel to the original movie?
It won't be a sequel, per se. The series will take place years after the events in the film and will introduce new characters. The series will follow a group of people on a search and rescue mission for a kidnapped prince.
Is Warwick Davis returning to Willow?
Yes! Warwick Davis, who starred as Willow Ufgood, the titular character in the film, will be returning (perhaps as High Aldwin of Nelwyn?)
"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.”
For Disney+ Day, the streamer got Warwick Davis, star of the film Willow and upcoming Disney+ series to introduce audiences to the new cast.
Who else from the original Willow is returning?
Joanne Whalley is set to return as Sorsha. Now a queen, Sorsha might be older and wiser, but Whalley promises she's still a "badass" in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Based on the official trailer and the newly released "special look" at the series, Kevin Pollak returns as Rool, the brownie that caused a bit of havoc for Willow and Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) in the original film.
No word yet if any of the other actors like Val Kilmer, Jean Marsh, or Rick Overton will be returning. Sadly, Billy Barty, who played the High Aldwin, died in 2000.
Ron Howard, who directed the film, will return as an executive producer.
Related: The Best Movies of the 1980s
What is the premiere date for Willow?
Willow will premiere Nov. 30, 2022. As with most Disney+ shows, episodes will likely drop weekly.
When was Willow filmed?
Filming for Willow began in June 2021 in England.
Fun fact: The Eborsisk, a two-headed, fire-breathing monster from the film was named after film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.
Related: Roger Ebert's 10 Favorite Movies
What was the movie Willow about?
The 1988 fantasy film featured Davis as Willow, a young farmer who sets out on an adventure to protect a baby that is destined to defeat the evil queen Bavmorda and save the kingdom. The film also starred Val Kilmer as Madmartigan, a sword for hire, and Joanne Whalley as Sorsha, the daughter of the evil queen.
Fun fact: Kilmer and Whalley met and fell in love on the set of the film and later married.
Where was the Willow series filmed?
The production returned to the dramatic and enchanted landscapes of Wales, where much of the original film was shot. Filming is of season 1 is complete, and the show is currently in post-production.
Who's writing the scripts for Willow?
According to the L.A. Times, Solo co-writer Jonathan Kasdan has written the pilot script for the series. Bob Dolman, who wrote the feature film, serves as a consulting producer on the series. Recent press releases for the series list John Bickerstaff, Hannah Friedman, along with Kasdan as writers on the show.
Who's in the cast of Willow?
Along with Warwick Davis, who will return as Willow, three actresses were recently cast for the three female leads in the show.
Warwick Davis (Willow)
It wouldn't be Willow without Warwick Davis reprising his titular role.
Joanne Whalley (Queen Sorsha)
Joanne Whalley is set to return as Sorsha. Now a queen, Sorsha might be older and wiser, but Whalley promises she's still a "badass."
Ellie Bamber (Dove)
Bamber will play Dove, a kitchen maid who becomes the "chosen one" as she sets off on the journey to save the kidnapped prince.
The British actress previously appeared in Nocturnal Animals opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies opposite Lily James.
Ruby Cruz (Kit)
Cruz has had guest starring roles on Blue Bloods and Castle Rock and most recently starred in Mare of Easttown.
Erin Kellyman (Jade)
Kellyman joins the cast as Jade, Kit's best friend. She's a servant but is training to become a warrior. She's Kit's moral compass.
The British actress appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story and was Eponine the BBC series Les Miserables opposite Lily Collins, David Oyelowo and Dominic West. Kellyman also starred as Karli Morgenthau in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series on Disney+.
In a role yet to be cast is a character similar to Val Kilmer's Madmartigan. The male character is a thief and a liar who joins the quest in an attempt to get out of a prison stint.
Dempsey Bryk, Amar Chadha-Patel, Tony Revolori
Bryk, Chadha-Patel and Revolori join the cast though the information about their characters have yet to be disclosed. Revolori previously had roles in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Bryk had recurring roles on Heartland and The Birch, while Chadha-Patel had roles in The Wheel of Time series for Amazon Prime and The Third Day.
Who's directing the Willow series?
That's a very good question! The Disney+ fantasy series recently changed directors for the second time.
Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights), who was slated to direct the pilot episode of the new Willow series has stepped away from the project due to scheduling conflicts, he announced on social media in January 2021.
"I am heartbroken to let you all know that I unfortunately have to step away from directing Willow. With the production schedule moving due to the 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 said on Twitter.
He had previously called working on the new Disney+ series a "dream come-true."
“Growing up in the ’80s, Willow 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."
In late January, Jonathan Entwistle (The End Of The F***ing World and I Am Not Okay With This), stepped into the role left vacant by Chu's departure.
Check back often as we update this page with new information!
How many episodes are there of Willow?
According to IMDB, there looks to be eight episodes in the first season of Willow.
Is there a trailer for Willow?
Yes! Disney+ dropped a trailer during a showcase panel at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. Check it out!
Are there any other clips from the new series available?
New key art was released and Lucasfilm dropped this "Special Look" at the series the day before Halloween. Take a look.