11:00am PT by Rick Porter
'Willow' Series a Go at Disney+
Disney is re-creating the fantasy world of Willow.
Streaming platform Disney+ has greenlit a series based on Ron Howard's 1988 movie. Warwick Davis will reprise his role in the series, and Jon M. Chu is set to direct the first episode and executive produce. Jonathan Kasdan (Solo), who wrote the pilot, and Wendy Mericle (Arrow) will serve as showrunners.
Howard, who hinted at a possible Willow sequel in a 2019 interview, will be an executive producer of the series. The film's screenwriter, Bob Dolman, will be a consulting producer. Lucasfilm will produce.
"Growing up in the’80s, Willow has had a profound effect on me," said Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights). "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."
The series will be Lucasfilm's first foray into storytelling outside the Star Wars universe since 2015. Willow will be set years after the film and introduce new characters into its world of fairy queens and monsters. Davis will once again play Willow Ufgood.
"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."
Said Howard, "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. This isn't a nostalgic throwback, it's a creative lean-forward and it's a blast to be a part of it all."
Willow joins a host of Disney+ series based on well-known IP from the parent company, including several shows set in the Star Wars (The Mandalorian, shows centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Rogue One's Cassian Andor) and Marvel (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision) universes.
"This is an exciting new era for storytelling at Lucasfilm," said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “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, Michelle Rejwan, Chu, 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.