The Willow TV Show is officially happening. While Lucasfilm, purchased by Disney in 2012, is most well known for it Star Wars tales of galaxies far, far away - those stories are not the only for which the shingle is known. Willow, a 1988 dark fantasy drama, was also released by the label. Today, at Disney's massive investor day event, it was announced that Willow would be getting a sequel series that will be released directly to the studio's streamer, Disney+.
Willow, released in 1988, was directed by Ron Howard and written by Bob Dolman from a Story by George Lucas, who also produced. The film starred Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh and Billy Barty. The story follows Davis, who plays an aspiring sorcerer who protects a female baby prophesied to bring on the downfall of the evil queen from that queen who vows to destroy the baby and take over the world. The film received mixed reviews from critics and went on to gross only $137 million. Produced for around $35 million, though, it was a financial hit, if not a major blockbuster. With two academy awards, the movie also went on to build an active fan following that has long beckoned for a follow-up.
George Lucas had come up with the story idea in 1972, 16 years before it was released. While Lucas had done work to attach cast and crew, he could not get the film made until the mid-1980's because visual effects technology had not matured enough. The stars finally aligned after Howard finished Cocoon and Lucas' own Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) could handle VFX. Now, over 30 years after the film made its debut, fans can look forward to its return to be introduced to a whole new generation of fans.
The pilot for the sequel series will be directed by Jon M. Chu, of Crazy Rich Asians fame. Beyond that it is in development and the pilot director, little is known about the series or where the story will lead. Ron Howard, an executive producer on the series, describes it as a "creative lean-forward" rather than a "nostalgic throw-back". Willow, played by Warwick Davis, will return. Davis is also a Star Wars alumnus, having played one of the original Ewoks.
There was a long period of silence from Lucas, during the label's steadfast focus on the Star Wars universe. Now that Disney+ provides a vast new and hungry audience for stories, mining valuable beloved titles seems to be a golden opportunity for the entire House of Mickey (and all its sub-labels) to develop their IP in a variety of directions and spread their roots far and wide. Exploding quickly toward 100 million subscribers, it is a fair bet that there will be some potentially large audience for this Willow sequel to be found on Disney+.
Could other George Lucas stories set in this galaxy find prequels, sequels and more? For the answer to this, as well as the official release date of the Willow sequel series, you'll have to stay tuned. We'll let you know as soon as we hear more.