Fans asked for – and finally get
Get ready for the decades-later sequel series “Willow” for Disney+ starring Warwick Davis again as the wizard Willow Ufgood.
It was 1988, 35 years ago (!), when “Willow” first came to the cinema. Since then, Warwick, 52, said in a virtual press conference: “It’s been talked about, not by anyone official, but by the fans who have been constantly pestering me saying ‘When are we going to see a sequel?’ It’s a question I never could answer – until I met Jon Kasdan who is also a fan.”
They met in 2017 on the set of “Solo: A Star Wars Story”. Kasdan co-wrote (with his father, Oscar-nominated writer-director Lawrence Kasdan) and Warwick reprized his “Phantom Menace” role as Weazel.
“I was wondering on the set of ‘Solo’ who had let him on set,” Davis joked. “You know, ‘No fans allowed here!’ Because he was obsessed with talking about ‘Willow,’ and we should definitely be concentrating on making this Star Wars story, right?”
The chance meeting included “Solo” director Ron Howard who had helmed “Willow.”
“That was the catalyst for this project to really happen,” Davis said. “In Hollywood terms it happened very quickly. Before I knew it I was on set in Wales filming.
“Once again,” he added with a smile, “Looks just like Willow, but a slightly older, more mature version that looks better. Sexier.”
Kasdan saw it as simply a fan’s quest to continue the story with a series. “Obviously there was an impulse between Ron, Warwick and myself to continue this story and return to this world.
“I came up with it as a fan. They came up with it as the creators and found a champion in me. My ace was always that Warwick would be back, and everyone appreciated that there was something very special in the opportunity to bring this character back to the screen.”
While the original saw Warwick’s wizard Willow defeat the evil queen Bavmorda, now, 20 years later, he leads a group of six misfits into a dangerous rescue mission.
“The challenge with every episode,” Kasdan said, “is that you walk the line between making it familiar and satisfying what the fans expect from the ‘Willow’ brand. And then trying to push it forward and tell a story that’s surprising and unexpected .
“The big weapon we had was Warwick, who just gave all of Willow’s credibility. The moment you see him on screen, you suddenly believe that these six other foolish children can somehow fit into that world and really live in it.
“This feels like a progression from the film as much as a love letter to it.”
“Willow” streams on Disney+ on November 30