Willow premiered on Disney+ last November, but after being canceled, the streamer is now deleting the first season from the app.
Deadline has provided an updated list of titles that will be affected by the upcoming content purge at the behest of Disney+ and Hulu. Among titles like Marvel’s Project Hero, Bigshot, Cheaper by the Dozen, and Magic Camp, the most unexpected removal from the streaming platform has to be Willow, which just saw its premiere on November 30, 2022. Though the Warwick Davis starring series was only rumored to be on a hiatus, this recent news all but confirms that Willow will not be returning for a second season.
And what’s more, Willow won’t even be available for streaming on Disney+ at all after May 26, 2023.
At this point in time, getting attached to a series with guarded enthusiasm seems to be the move. It’s hard to truly get invested in a series considering how many shows end up on the chopping block in the form of impairment charges after having such short runs. Willow is just one of many shows that will be axed as companies like Disney, Max, Paramount, and AMC shift their focus to profitability in the form of taking cost-cutting measures.
Weighing in on this recent news, Willow writer John Bickerstaff Tweeted, “They gave us six months. Not even. This business has become absolutely cruel.”
Bickerstaff elaborated on his frustration with Disney, stating that spending large sums of money on a show only to completely remove it from streaming in such a short amount of time is a bad business move. And he’s right to think this, considering that Willow is currently boasting an 84 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Though the average audience score is currently 65 percent, it’s safe to say that shows like She-Hulk: Attorney At Law have performed far worse with an audience score of 33 percent, but still remain on the platform.
In other words, Willow has hardly had enough time to get a chance to build its audience, and the audience it did have thought the series had potential if we’re going off of reviews alone. In fact, the general consensus is that Willow is an excellent companion to the 1988 Ron Howard directed film of the same name. The fantasy adventure series was even the sixth most streamed program across all platforms in the United States shortly after its premiere, so it’s evident that Willow truly didn’t get a fair shake when it comes to building out the series over multiple seasons.
Until recently, Willow series creator Jon Kasdan was holding out hope for a second season despite its reported cancellation in March. The reason for the cancellation (or hiatus) was to allow the main cast to pursue other acting opportunities while development of Volume II was in flux. Considering that Volume II was not yet in the pre-production phases, he felt that it was unfair to have his cast on stand-by when they could be working on other projects in the interim.
But given Disney’s decision to remove Willow from streaming entirely does not bode well for the future of the show. We can remain hopeful, however, because there may be one day in the distant future when Willow finds a new home to continue building out the world that was established in the first season.