Another beloved Lucasfilm property is being relaunched at the House of Mouse. This afternoon, Disney officially announced that classic 80s fantasy movie Willow is getting a sequel series on Disney Plus. Original star Warwick Davis is returning as the eponymous hero Willow Ufgood and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu has signed up to helm the project.
Solo filmmaker Ron Howard directed the 1988 movie, which was based off a story by George Lucas. It featured Davis’ Willow being reluctantly drawn into an adventure to protect a young infant destined for greatness from an evil queen. Val Kilmer co-starred as a mercenary swordsman who aids Willow in his quest. Not much is known about the plot for the sequel at present, but the story is expected to pick up years after the first film and find Willow becoming embroiled in another mission to save the kingdom. Solo‘s Jonathan Kasdan and Wendy Mericle (Arrow) will serve as showrunners.
Chu made the following statement in response to the news of his hiring, explaining why Willow is so personal to him:
“Growing up in the’80s, ‘Willow’ has had a profound effect on me. 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.”
Original screenwriter Bob Dolman is on board as consulting producer, with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy serving as executive producer. This is the first non-Star Wars production that Kennedy and Lucasfilm have worked on since 2015.
Ron Howard is also producing and likewise released a statement on the news, saying:
“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,” added 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.”
There’s been talk of a Willow sequel for a long time, of course, but we’ve properly known that this follow-up project was in the works for about a year now, despite the official announcement only coming today. No other cast members have been announced just yet, but it’s possible that Kilmer could also return in some capacity.
The Willow TV series is all set to enter production next year. Watch this space for more.