The sequel to the 80’s fantasy favorite Willow is finally here

Ron Howard’s Willow is the latest retro title to be remastered, and it’s not a moment too soon for fans who have been craving a sequel for decades. The 1988 original was part of a slew of fantasy films of its era, including Legend, The Last Unicorn, Ladyhawke, The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, and The Dark Crystal.

The original film, a creation of George Lucas and directed by Howard, isn’t very original when it comes to the plot: an orphaned baby, destined to overthrow an evil queen, is found by an outsider who throws her onto a big one travel through distant countries, and so on, and so on. There’s a certain Lord of the Rings influence here (Peter Jackson’s epics didn’t exist yet, of course, but Tolkien’s books had come out in the 1950s): the film had a small, gruff main character in Warwick Davis as Willow, an aspiring one Wizard who reluctantly takes on the responsibility of keeping magical baby Elora Danan safe.

Warwick Davis a "pasture" lean and look concerned.
Warwick Davis in Willow.
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Graydon (Tony Revolori), Kit (Ruby Cruz), Jade (Erin Kellyman), Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) and Dove (Ellie Bamber) ride in through a stone archway "Pasture."
Graydon (Tony Revolori), Kit (Ruby Cruz), Jade (Erin Kellyman), Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) and Dove (Ellie Bamber) in Willow.
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Dove (Ellie Bamber) and Airk (Dempsey Bryk) are there "pasture" Kissing by a tree.
Dove (Ellie Bamber) and Airk (Dempsey Bryk) in Willow.
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But the film stands out from others of the era for its lightness. Willow has a generous dose of humor mixed in with some dodgy special effects and the occasional plot hole. The greatest comedian was a young Val Kilmer as the swashbuckling outlaw Madmartigan who falls in love with Sorsha, the Evil Queen’s daughter (Joanne Whalley, who would later marry Kilmer). The film even poked fun at its expected critics, naming a villain, General Kael, after famed critic Pauline Kael, and a two-headed dragon, Eborsisk, after reviewer duo Siskel and Ebert.

Now, Disney+ is finally releasing a series of the same name, set decades after the events of the film. The show revisits Davis’ Willow, with a storyline in which he joins forces with a new group on a different quest. It’s a sequel that’s been hinted at, teased, and debated for years, and Davis himself has been keen on completing it: “I think it would be really interesting to explore the character when she’s older,” Davis said in 2013 about his character… “Has he become a better wizard? What’s the matter with him?’

    Dove (Ellie Bamber), Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel), Kit (Ruby Cruz), Jade (Erin Kellyman), Jørgen Kase (Simon Armstrong) and Graydon (Tony Revolori). "Pasture."
Dove (Ellie Bamber), Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel), Kit (Ruby Cruz), Jade (Erin Kellyman), Jørgen Kase (Simon Armstrong) and Graydon (Tony Revolori) in “Willow”.
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Graydon (Tony Revolori) in "Pasture."
Graydon (Tony Revolori) in Willow.
Amanda Searle / Lucasfilm Ltd.
Airk (Dempsey Bryk) enters "pasture" stand against a stone wall.
Airk (Dempsey Bryk)
Amanda Searle / Lucasfilm Ltd.

The answer will come on November 30, when the series premieres. The action begins in the kingdom of Tir Asleen, where current Queen Sorsha (Whalley) has two nearly grown children, Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Prince Airk (Dempsey Bryk). Madmartigan is nowhere to be seen, striking a bittersweet note for fans: Kilmer, who struggled with the gig after undergoing treatment for throat cancer, was unable to attend filming, but series creator Jonathan Kasdan has said that his character doing it will be an important part of the plot. “Finding Madmartigan and what happened to him was central to the story we were telling,” he said at a press conference, adding, “We added this texture of a friend of Madmartigan giving us something could provide some clues as to his whereabouts and deepen the mystery of what happened to him.” The mysterious friend is played by none other than Christian Slater, another 80’s icon.

Dove (Ellie Bamber) a "pasture" look worn.
Dove (Ellie Bamber) in Willow.
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Kit (Ruby Cruz), Jade (Erin Kellyman), Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) and Graydon (Tony Revolori). "pasture" Ride horses.
Kit (Ruby Cruz), Jade (Erin Kellyman), Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) and Graydon (Tony Revolori) in Willow.
Amanda Searle / Lucasfilm Ltd.
Jade (Erin Kellyman), Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) are there "Pasture."
Kit (Ruby Cruz) in Willow.
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The new Willow also stars actor Amar Chada-Patel (“The Wheel of Time”) as Boorman, a mischievous, wisecracking character of the Madmartigan vein. He is released from prison by Queen Sorsha to join the mission to rescue Prince Airk, who has been captured by agents of a new evil threatening Tir Asleen. Chada-Patel and Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Spider-Man: No Way Home) deliver much of the comic relief that Willow takes from current fantasy counterparts like The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon.” They are joined by Ellie Bamber as Dove, a kitchen maid who has a crush on Airk, and Erin Kellyman as Jade, Kit’s best friend and aspiring soldier.

But where is the prophesied Empress Elora Danan, now grown? That’s the looming question, and we’re not saying it: you’ll have to watch Willow to find out.

https://nypost.com/2022/11/29/the-sequel-series-to-80s-fantasy-fave-willow-is-finally-here/ The sequel to the 80’s fantasy favorite Willow is finally here

Emma Bowman

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