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‘Willow’ Creator Says Popular Disney+ Series Was Not Cancelled

jon kasdan a white man with brown hair stands in a grey suit before the silver fantasy logo over a sunset and clouds WILLOW with a red stamp reading update over it

A new statement provided by showrunner Jonathan Kasdan seems to suggest that the Disney+ streaming platform did not cancel the popular fantasy series Willow as previously reported.

Yesterday, a Deadline article first reported that the Walt Disney Company had canceled a beloved spinoff of Willow (1988), a Lucasfilm production from director Ron Howard following the unlikely hero Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis). Last November, Disney+ launched an eight-episode serial program executive produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan, set decades after the original film.

Ron Howard, 'Willow' Team on Rebooting '80s Film for Disney+ Show – The Hollywood Reporter

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

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With input from Howard himself, showrunners Wendy Mericle and Kasdan contributed to the plot alongside scriptwriter Bob Dolman, who initially intended to adapt the multi-volume book series’ storyline across multiple seasons. However, Disney decided to cull production on the show, with some sources alleging that as the media mogul restructures and prioritizes some projects over others, cutting Willow would restore around $5 billion to the overall media budget, alongside holding back some Marvel and Star Wars releases.

Moreover, the supporting cast consisted of some well-known names, such as Erin Kellyman, who previously starred in both Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), and here played Knight Jade Claymore, eventual love interest to Princess Kit Tanthalos (Ruby Cruz). Loyal viewers created a niche fandom, with Willow’s first season reaching an 83% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Jade (L) and Kit (R) stare lovingly at each other in Willow.

Credit: Disney Plus

RELATED: LGBT Community Calls Disney+’Willow’ Cancellation a ‘Hate Crime’

Of course, news of its cancellation launched an outpouring of support, as well as backlash towards Disney for everything from greed to homophobia as a reason behind the decision. Now, Kasdan, who wrote the pilot episode, has taken to Twitter to share his response to the rumors and validate fans for their continuous reassurances:

In fact, within the long address, he clarifies that he believes the rumor to be nothing more than a “punchy headline” to “drive clicks,” insinuating that Disney completely shuttered the series after just one season when that isn’t exactly the truth. According to Jon, “Willow won’t resume filming in the next 12 months” due to an overall slowing down within the entire streaming media industry, but that doesn’t mean it won’t ever return.

Jonathan Kasdan attends Lucasfilm and Imagine Entertainment's "Willow" Series Premiere in Los Angeles, California on November 29, 2022. The series debuts exclusively on Disney+ November 30, 2022.

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

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Specifically, because of the current “radical, global upheaval” within the entertainment industry, showrunners decided to release the main cast from their contracts with Disney and Lucasfilm’s blessing so that they could continue to earn a living via any future opportunities that arise within the year. Meanwhile, the team is to refine plans for “a brain-meltingly fun, richer, darker and better VOLUME Il, which builds on the characters and story of our first eight chapters,” without limiting the actors needed for all the main roles, such as Annabelle Davis, Amer Chadha-Patel, Tony Revolori, and Ellie Bamber.

In addition, Kasdan urged fans not to demand more too soon via vocal social media campaigns against either production company, citing other examples of media that had to wait over five years for its next update, the original Willow film from 35 years ago included! In closing, the passionate creator thanked fans for their love of Willow and noted that if this appetite for more seasons continues, “Disney, Lucasfilm, and this amazing cast and crew will satisfy it.”

 

 

About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.