As of this writing, Disney+ is halfway through releasing "Willow," a high fantasy series which tells the continued story of the 1988 film, also entitled "Willow." Although decades have come and gone, Warwick Davis returns in his titular role as the Nelwyn wizard. Joanne Whalley also returns as Sorsha, the princess who would become a queen. The series has left the story open-ended so that Val Kilmer may return as well, if his health permits. Old blood is well balanced with new, as Ruby Cruz, Erin Kellyman, Ellie Bamber, Tony Revolori, and Amar Chadha-Patel have joined the adventurous tale.
Behind the camera, the artistic team is equally mixed. Ron Howard, who directed the original "Willow," returns as an executive producer. Jonathan Kasdan, whose only prior experience with "Willow" is one of deep appreciation, serves as the showrunner, as well as one of the writers and co-creators. That said, the name that draws the most interest, as far as "Willow" is concerned, is George Lucas. The original film's story was created by Lucas himself, and his production company, Lucasfilm, helped fashion one of his many non-"Star Wars" fantasies. The question is, exactly how involved is Lucas with the new Disney+ series?
Lucas Gave Kasdan His Blessing Years Ago
During a global press conference attended by Yahoo, Jonathan Kasdan discussed the depth of George Lucas' involvement with the Disney+ series — or, rather, his notable lack of involvement. According to Kasdan, Lucas shared a singular conversation with him before "Willow" came into existence. It doesn't seem like much, but it was more than encouraging to Kasdan. "[In 2017, Lucas] came and visited the set of 'Solo' because he is devoted to Ron and they are dear, dear friends in real life," he recalled. "They told us that he was going to come for just a moment and we shouldn't make direct eye contact or ask him any direct questions. And instead, he ended up staying for six hours and answering all our questions and being nothing but lovely."
"I said to him in this moment, when I found myself sitting next to this God of my childhood, the one thing I thought that Lucasfilm really had an opportunity to do was to tell more Willow stories. And he smiled wryly and said he couldn't agree more, and had been trying to make that happen for quite a while and was a supporter and an advocate for anything that we could get off the ground. That sort of faith and excitement and genuine boyish enthusiasm was really critical to feeling like this was something we could go off and do."
It sounds like Lucas was eager to pass the torch if that's what it took to get more "Willow" stories into the public eye. It shouldn't be all that surprising, especially after he sold Lucasfilm back in 2012, but the latest era for Lucas seems to be about ensuring his projects take on new life with new artists. As for Lucas himself, maybe he's finally getting to tinker in his garage and make experimental films, just like he always wanted.
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