The enchanting world of “Willow,” created by George Lucas, is coming to the small screen soon.
Disney Plus confirmed today that a sequel series taking place years after the events of the original 1988 Ron Howard-directed pic is heading into production next year. Howard is returning to the project as executive producer alongside original star Warwick Davis, who will once again play the titular hero Willow Ufgood.
The series has also brought in Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights director Jon M. Chu to helm the pilot episode. Jonathan Kasdan (“Solo”)and Wendy Mericle (“Arrow”) will serve as showrunners.
Willow the series is created at Lucasfilm and represents the company’s first non-Star Wars venture since 2015. The show will introduce all-new characters to the magical realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters. News of the official greenlight from Disney Plus comes over a year after the project was first reported as in development as a series.
The original film focuses on Davis’ Willow, who is reluctantly forced into playing a role in protecting a special infant named Elora Danan from an evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh). A prophecy told that Elora would bring the queen’s downfall. Willow was helped along the way by a mercenary swordsman, played by Val Kilmer. It also starred Joanne Whalley, Billy Barty and Kevin Pollak.
“Growing up in the’80s, ‘Willow’ has had a profound effect on me,” said Chu in a statement. “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.”
When chatting with ComingSoon.net, Davis said, “I’d certainly relish the opportunity to play a character that I really enjoyed playing the first time around. I’m a bit older and a bit wiser as an actor now, and the character would also be a bit older and wiser and I think there’s really an interesting story there.”
He asks the questions we’re all wondering, going on to ponder, “What has happened between the time we saw him in Willow and now? Has he mastered the art of sorcery? What has happened there?”
Davis seems genuinely surprised by this turn of events (in a good way), saying, “I’m very much excited about the whole prospect. I mean, who knew that we would ever come back or consider doing this again?”
As of this writing, there is no planned release date, and only Warwick Davis has been cast. Kathleen Kennedy will produce.
David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.