'Willow' Disney+ Series Loses Filmmaker Jon M. Chu

Jon M. Chu
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The director says he is exiting for scheduling reasons: "I' m devastated that I won't be able to work with some of my heroes old and new."

Filmmaker Jon M. Chu will not be exploring the world of Willow. Chu, who was set to direct the pilot and executive produce the Disney+ series, announced Monday that he is exiting the property over scheduling conflicts and the upcoming arrival of a new baby.

"I'm heartbroken to let you all know that I unfortunately have to step away from directing Willow," Chu wrote in a statement. "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 out for me and my family."

In October, Disney and Lucasfilm announced a new series based on the 1988 film Willow, directed by Ron Howard. The series stars Warwick Davis, reprising the role of Willow Ufgood from the original film. Jonathan Kasdan (Solo) wrote the pilot and will showrun alongside Wendy Mericle (Arrow).

Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Kasdan, Mericle, Howard and Imagine Television are executive producing Willow. Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman are co-EPs. Dolman is a consulting producer and Julia Cooperman is producer.

Willow will be set years after the film and introduce new characters into its world of fairy queens and monsters.

"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 some of my heroes old and new like Kathy, Ron, Jon, Wendy, Michelle and the amazing cast and crew they've put together," Chu's statement continued. "Like a kid seeing Willow for the first time in the '80s, I will look forward to watching this magical new world unfold as a very enthusiastic fan."

On the big screen, Chu last released Crazy Rich Asians and has the Lin-Manuel Miranda adaptation In the Heights due out at Warner Bros this year.