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George Lucas’s ‘Willow’ will return in new Disney+ series

Jon M. Chu is set to direct, with Warwick Davis and Ron Howard returning.

Disney has announced that the world of George Lucas’s 1988 classic movie Willow will be returning in a new series on Disney+. Jon M. Chu is set to direct, with Ron Howard serving as executive producer. Warwick Davis will reprise his role as the eponymous Willow Ufgood.

Jon M. Chu said in the press release that “Willow has had a profound effect on me.”

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 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 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.

Willow is a fantasy adventure that follows Willow, a reluctant farmer who plays a critical role in protecting a baby from a tyrannical queen who vows to destroy her and take over the world. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards, and while it was not a box office smash, it became a cult classic following its release to home video.

This new series is set to begin production next year. Check out Disney’s full press release below:

BURBANK, Calif. (Oct. 20, 2020) – The magical world of George Lucas’ “Willow,” the epic fantasy adventure set in an age of swords, sorcery, myths and monsters, will be returning in a Disney+ series slated to begin production next year.

Jon M. Chu (“In The Heights,” “Crazy Rich Asians”) is set to direct the pilot, and will serve as executive producer along with showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (“Solo”) and Wendy Mericle (“Arrow”). Jonathan Kasdan wrote the pilot.

“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 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.”

Chu directed the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “In the Heights,” which will be released in June 2021. He will also direct and serve as executive producer for the pilot of ABC’s Medical Drama “Triage.”

Ron Howard, director of the original “Willow” film, returns as executive producer on the series with Bob Dolman, writer of the original film, serving as consulting producer.

“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 “Willow” film. It introduces all-new characters to the enchanted realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters, and welcomes back its namesake hero, Willow Ufgood, performed once again by the unmatchable 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 honored 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+.”

Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Jon M. Chu, Jonathan Kasdan, Wendy Mericle, Ron Howard and Imagine Television will serve as executive producers, with Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman as co-executive producers. Additionally, Bob Dolman will serve as consulting producer with Julia Cooperman as producer.

The production plans to return to the dramatic and enchanted landscapes of Wales, where much of the original film was shot.

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