Disney+ Orders Lucasfilm's 'Willow' Series, Jon M. Chu to Direct Pilot
Disney+ is bringing viewers back into the magical world of George Lucas' Willow with an all new series. The fantasy adventure film, which debuted in 1988, followed the ambitious quest of a young farmer who was charged with protecting a child from an evil queen and takes place in the "age of swords, sorcery, myths and monsters."
Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights director Jon M. Chu has signed on to helm the pilot which will begin production next year. Chu will also serve as executive producer alongside showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (Solo) — who penned the pilot — and Wendy Mericle (Arrow).
"Growing up in the '80s, Willow has had a profound effect on me," says Chu in a statement released to the press. "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," he continues. "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."
Ron Howard — who directed the movie — has signed on to executive produce the series alongside original film writer Bob Dolman who will serve as a 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."
Star Warwick Davis will also reprise his role as Willow Ufgood in the show which will be Lucasfilm's first non-Star Wars venture since 2015. Set years after the events of the original Willow film, the series will introduce all-new characters to the realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters.
"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 of his reprisal. "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."
Along with Kasdan, Chu and Howard, Kathleen Kennedy will executive produce the project which sees Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman serve as co-executive producers. Julia Cooperman will join the project as a producer. "This is an exciting new era for storytelling at Lucasfilm," says 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+."
Production is planned to take place against the Wales landscape where much of the original film was shot. Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and prepare yourselves for the return of Willow.
Willow, TBA, Disney+