The magical world of George Lucas’ “Willow,” the epic fantasy adventure filled with swords, sorcery, myths and monsters, will return as a Disney+ series slated to begin production next year.
Jon M. Chu (“In The Heights,” “Crazy Rich Asians”) will direct the pilot and serve as executive producer along with showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (“Solo”) and Wendy Mericle (“Arrow”). Kasdan also wrote the pilot.
“Growing up in the ’80s, ‘Willow’ has had a profound effect on me,” said 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.”
Chu shared his excitement on social media when the news broke, sharing an even more personal connection to “Willow”:
Ron Howard, director of the original film, returns as executive producer on the series with Bob Dolman, writer of original film, serving as consulting producer.
“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,” said 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.”
The series, which is Lucasfilm’s first venture into non-Star Wars storytelling since 2015, is set years after the events of the original film. Viewers will meet all-new characters as well as see the return of the namesake hero, Willow Ufgood, performed once again by Warwick Davis.
“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,” said 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.”
“This is an exciting new era for storytelling at Lucasfilm,” said Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president. “Jon Chu’s vision, coupled with the writing of Jon Kasdan and Wendy Mericle, is going to take Willow into new and exciting directions for the series. Reuniting Ron Howard and Warwick Davis in the world of ‘Willow’ is something that they’ve both wanted to do for some time, and I couldn’t be more proud of the incredible team we’ve put together to bring this series to Disney+.”
Kennedy, along with Michelle Rejwan, Chu, Kasdan, Mericle, Howard and Imagine Television will serve as executive producers, and Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman will be co-executive producers. In addition, Dolman will serve as consulting producer with Julia Cooperman as producer.
The production plans to return to Wales for shooting, where much of the original film was shot.