Here’s a spot of good cheer amid the general chaos of life lately: not only is the Ron Howard-produced, Warwick Davis-starring Willow sequel series for Disney+ moving full steam ahead, it’s just added an excellent director to its ranks: In the Heights and Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon M. Chu.
According to a Disney+ press release, Cho, who will direct the pilot, also joins the list of executive producers that includes Howard, Kathleen Kennedy, and showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (who also wrote the pilot) and Arrow’s Wendy Mericle. Bob Dolman, who wrote the Willow script (based, of course, on a story by George Lucas) has a “consulting producer” credit, and Warwick Davis is still set to reprise his iconic role.
“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,” Chu said in the release.
Of course Chu didn’t say much about the series itself, aside from noting that Kasdan and Mericle “have added groundbreaking new characters and delightful surprises to this timeless story.” The press release also reminds us that the series will be Lucasfilm’s “first venture into non-Star Wars storytelling since 2015,” and that it will take place some years after the events of the 1988 film.
“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,” Howard said.
Everyone involved sounds pumped, but Davis maybe most of all. “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,” the actor said. “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.”
No word yet on when we’ll be getting to see Willow’s new adventures with his magical pals and foes on the streamer, but Disney+ did note that the series will begin production next year amid “the dramatic and enchanted landscapes of Wales, where much of the original film was shot.”