Disney+ has given the green light to a “Willow” sequel series from Lucasfilm and Ron Howard, the director of the 1988 original.
The new series, which will see Warwick Davis reprise his role as the titular character, will take place years after the events of Howard’s film. Jon M. Chu has signed on to direct the pilot, which is slated to shoot next year.
Howard is an executive producer on the project, with “Solo” writer Jonathan Kasdan and Wendy Mericle serving as showrunners.
“Growing up in the ’80s, ‘Willow’ has had a profound effect on me,” Chu said 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. 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.”
Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Chu, Kasdan, Mericle, Howard and Imagine Television will serve as executive producers, with Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman as co-executive producers. Bob Dolman, writer of the original film, will serve as consulting producer with Julia Cooperman as 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.”
“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,” added 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,” says 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+.”