As the Walt Disney Company continues restructuring its hierarchy and future plans in the wake of Disney CEO Bob Iger’s return, Disney+ has just announced the cancelation of yet another original project sequel.
In a recent interview, Bob Iger spoke on the Company’s future projects, noting that in contrast to the practice of releasing new originals yearly or even bi-annually for Disney+, including Marvel and Star Wars material, Disney would hold off on many new releases to ensure better programming quality. Now, the ax has fallen on one of Disney+’s most unique series, itself a sequel to a popular 1988 film, likely to focus on developing other profitable Disney+ originals with room for IP expansion into shopDisney and Disney Parks, such as The Mandalorian.
Moreover, Iger’s stated intention to prioritize “new characters” in general over spin-offs or sequels, particularly in relation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, may have also influenced this decision as the “Multi-verse” phase ends and Disney prepares to debut other Lucasfilm media such as Ahsoka, Acolyte, and Skeleton Crew. As a result, Willow will not receive a second season, according to new reports from Deadline.
The live-action show adapted characters and themes from the Ron Howard fantasy film, which premiered under the Lucasfilm umbrella as a sequel to the original plot, set many years later. In fact, alongside Howard himself, showrunner Jonathan Kasdan wrote the script with Bob Dolman, with Wendy Mericle serving as co-showrunner.
Set in a fantasy realm inhabited by mystical beings like sorcerers, trolls, and brownies, the storyline revisited the primary figure, Willow Ufgood, played by Warwick Davis. Additionally, the Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan production starred new faces such as Erin Kellyman (Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier), Amer Chadha-Patel, Tony Revolori, Ellie Bamber, and Ruby Cruz.
Together, the unlikely party would encounter dangerous forces on a heroic quest, joining together to overcome personal struggles and save their world. Although the series did not blow up into a hit like the ’80s film, it garnered a positive reception from critics and audiences, with an 83% on Rotton Tomatoes.
Sadly, just two months after the eighth and final episode of Willow debuted, the classic fantasy franchise reimagined will end its run on the streaming platform. While Disney+ moves to focus on higher quality for other series, it’s possible Lucasfilm could once again pull this important IP off its archival shelves when the service stabilizes.