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John Chu to Direct “Willow” Series on Disney Plus, Starting Production Next Year

Jason Gurwin

“Willow” is coming back as a series for Disney+. The much rumored production is slated to get started next year. At the helm will be Crazy Rich Asians Director John Chu, who will direct the pilot, and will serve as executive producer along with showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (“Solo”) and Wendy Mericle (“Arrow”).

“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.”

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.

In the original film, which stars Warwick Davis as Willow, as well as featuring actors such as Val Kilmer and Jean Marsh, the story of aspiring sorcerer, Willow Ufgood, is told. Willow team’s up with Kilmer’s character, Madmartigan, to try and overthrow Queen Bavmorda; played by Marsh. The film was the ideation of George Lucas, who thought up Willow prior to Star Wars. Lucas later recruited Ron Howard to direct the film, which went on to become a cult hit following its release.

When asked about the potential of a Willow TV show during a press tour for Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018, Howard said that he had been discussing the possibility of bringing back the story with Lucasfilm, but that he wouldn’t simply call it Willow 2, nor would it be a reboot, but instead a continuation of the original story. He added that he thinks “it would focus a lot on Elora Danan, although Willow would have to be significantly involved,” per ComicBook.com.