The Willow Disney+ series will need to find a new director as Jon M. Chu has announced his departure from the project. Last month, Disney confirmed that Chu would be directing the series' pilot episode with a planned release for 2022, but production has since been bumped to this summer. Taking to Twitter, the filmmaker explains that his exit is not personal and is just a matter of timing now that his family has a new addition on the way. From the Twitter post:
"I'm heartbroken to let you all know that I unfortunately have to step away from directing Willow. With the production schedule moving due to continued lockdowns in the UK, and with a new baby coming this summer (surprise!), the timing is just not going to work for me and my family."
"As you may know, Willow has been one of my favorite movies since I was a child, so I'm devastated that I won't be able to work with some of my heroes old and new like Kathy, Ron, Jon, Wendy, Michelle, and the amazing cast and crew they've put together. Like a kid seeing Willow for the first time in the '80s, I will look forward to watching his magical new world unfold as a very enthusiastic fan. And boy do they have an adventure in store for you! I can't wait for you all to experience it soon. Much love, and take care of each other during the fast changing times, Jon M. Chu."
The new Willow is written by Jonathan Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story) with Kasdan serving as co-showrunner alongside Wendy Mericle (Arrow). With Chu exiting the project, a search is now underway for a new director. Kasdan, Mericle, Ron Howard, Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, and Imagine Television will executive produce. Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman will serve as co-showrunners. Davis will be returning to portray Willow as part of a cast that includes both old and new faces.
Released in 1988, the original Willow movie was directed by Ron Howard and written by Bob Dolman and George Lucas. It starred Warwick Davis as the titular character, a farmer who must protect a baby from an evil queen intent on taking over the world. The Willow ensemble cast also included Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Billy Barty, Pat Roach, and Kevin Pollack. A hit at the box office, the movie was up for two Oscars and has long been considered a cult classic.
Despite its popularity, Willow has never had any kind of sequel or reboot until now. There have been rumors of a television series adaptation for years, and Davis has been open in various interviews about his interest in returning to the role. With Disney looking to bulk up their streaming service with exclusive titles, the timing was finally right for the Willow revival to happen. Let's just hope production moves ahead as planned following Chu's exit with a new director soon coming on board. This news comes to us from Jon M. Chu on Twitter.