Culture

Warwick Davis and Ron Howard return for Disney+ Willow TV show, to be directed by Jon M. Chu

George Lucas’ Willow, which is returning as an all-new Disney+ TV series, will begin production next year, with Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) tapped to direct the pilot. Chu will also serve as executive producer along with showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (Solo) and Wendy Mericle (Arrow). Jonathan Kasdan wrote the pilot. 

Ron Howard, director of the original Willow movie, is also returning as executive producer on the series with Bob Dolman, writer of the original film, a consulting producer.

The new show will shoot on location in Wales, where much of the original film was shot.

“Growing up in the ’80s, Willow has had a profound effect on me,” says Chu. “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 ground-breaking 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, Lucasfilm’s first venture into non-Star Wars storytelling since 2015, takes place years after the events of the original film…

Willow the TV show ‘isn’t a nostalgic throw-back’

Chu recently directed the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical In the Heights, which will be released June 2021. He’s also set to direct and serve as executive producer for the pilot of ABC’s upcoming medical drama Triage.

“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,” says 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.” 

The series, which is Lucasfilm’s first venture into non-Star Wars storytelling since 2015, takes place years after the events of the original film. It introduces all-new characters to the enchanted realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters, and welcomes back its titular hero, Willow Ufgood, once again played by Warwick Davis.

“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,” says 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 honoured 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+.”

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