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‘Willow’ review: The Disney+ series brings everyone into the magic of the movie

‘Willow’ review: The Disney+ series brings everyone into the magic of the movie

Willow (Warwick Davis) stands in the woods with a staff.

Starting the Disney+ series Willow may feel daunting if you’re not familiar with the original film, but rest assured that the TV show does a great job of opening its arms to new and old fans alike. The series, which premiered on Disney+ today, is an expansion of the world we saw Willow (Warwick Davis) and Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) explore in the film, and it walks the delicate line between honoring the story that came before it and standing entirely on its own .

The story brings us Willow through the children of Madmartigan and Sorsha (Joanne Whalley). Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Arik (Dempsey Bryk) are both trapped in the “royal” life that neither of them seem to want. When Arik is kidnapped, Kit and Jade (Erin Kellyman), a knight-in-training and Kit’s love interest, are sent on a mission to find him. The mission creates palpable tension as the two try to hide their feelings for each other from those around them, including Kit’s fiancé Graydon (Tony Revolori) and Arik’s girlfriend Dove (Ellie Bamber).

In their search for Arik, they are led to Willow, a wizard, who Sorsha says can help them. It is a journey of magic, hope and determination that leads us into the wonderful world Willow.

A fun time for all

At the core of Willow is still the magic of the original film, but it’s also a story of love. Whether it’s the sibling love between Arik and Kit and Kit’s desire to find her brother, or Kit and Jade’s feelings for each other, the series finds a perfect balance between the magical elements that push the story forward and the love stories that take their time.

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And yes, it’s pretty amazing to go on this journey with Kit and Jade and see two women who are clearly in love with each other on a Disney property. When Kit is about to marry Graydon and the two women continue to shy away from their feelings, their relationship goes through many ups and downs and growth throughout the seven episodes I watched. It’s just an amazing journey for both characters.

Not a Willow damn yet? Do not worry!

Willow wasn’t on my radar until recently. I just watched the movie for the first time and realized my mistakes because it ruled, but if you just want to jump into the series without seeing the movie, that’s fine too. The series does a pretty good job of establishing what happened and moving on without requiring you to know everything there is to know about Willow as a whole.

It’s an easy world to get into because most of the characters we meet are completely new. They have connections back to Sorsha and Madmartigan – and Willow is obviously here – but I think our collective love of Warwick Davis can bring you into an understanding of the series without having to be an expert on Willow to enjoy it.

The series is just… fun. It’s hard to explain earlier without getting into spoilers, but every character we meet on the journey is rich and fully developed and someone I could see an entire series about. I can’t wait to see where it ends Willow takes us.

(photo: Lucasfilm)

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