Disney+ is re-creating the fantasy world of Ron Howard’s hit 1988 movie Willow as a series, once again starring Warwick Davis as farmer Willow Ufgood.
Howard will act as executive producer on the Lucasfilm series and John M Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) will direct. The Willow series will be a sequel, taking place years after the original events.
Chu told The Hollywood Reporter: “Growing up in the’80s, Willow has had a profound effect on me. 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 [Lucasfilm president] to Ron Howard is bigger than a dream come true. It’s a bucket list moment for me.
“Jon Kasdan and Wendy Mericle [showrunners] have added such groundbreaking 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.”
In the original movie, Davis played the title role of a farmer who is forced to try and protect a baby from a tyrannical queen who vows to destroy her and take over the world.
Star Wars actor Davis said: “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.
“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.”
Howard added: “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. This isn’t a nostalgic throwback, it’s a creative lean-forward and it’s a blast to be a part of it all.”
Willow will join other Disney+ series based on original content from its parent company, including The Mandalorian and Rogue One, as well as Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision.