Willow Season 1 Finale Review: Epic, Fun, And Everything It Should Be
The Season 1 finale of Willow proves to be a fun and satisfying conclusion, with the promise of (hopefully) more to come.
In a time when so many properties are being milked raw, if you told me the revival that would show everyone else how it’s done would be for 1988’s underperforming fantasy Willow, I genuinely would’ve thought you were testing out a funny meme. With the Willow Season 1 finale, “Children of the Wyrm,” streaming now on Disney+, it’s clear that showrunner Jonathan Kasdan knew what he was doing. The inaugural season had a rocky start, but in the end, fans got a fun and visually gorgeous continuation of the classic whose every shot and line of dialogue is steeped in the spirit of the original.
WILLOW SEASON 1 FINALE REVIEW SCORE:
The Willow Season 1 finale begins with Elora (Ellie Bamber) and Kit (Ruby Cruz) finally reaching the Immemorial City, only to find what appears to be a brand new shorthaired Airk (Dempsey Bryk) seduced to the proverbial Dark Side by The Crone. As Airk and The Crone work to tempt Elora and Kit with their deepest desires, Jade (Erin Kellyman), Graydon (Tony Revolori), and Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) sneak into the city. The titular sorcerer (Warwick Davis) appears to retreat back across the Shattered Sea, but I don’t think it’s a particularly massive spoiler to reveal that ultimately he doesn’t abandon his new friends.
The final clash between The Crone and the heroes is as well choreographed as you’d expect from the rest of the season, and unlike some of the other episodes, the Willow season finale fights don’t suffer from low lighting. Kit’s transformation into a mythic warrior is a moment that will have you cheering, and the reveal of The Crone’s true form is as visually impressive as it is hideous.
I want to avoid spoilers, and honestly, that isn’t particularly tough. The Willow Season 1 finale is a crowd-pleasing heroic tale that ends pretty much how you think it will; which makes it exactly like the movie upon which it’s based. Rather than reinvent the wheel, the series does exactly what the movie does, but does it — for the most part — better.
There are a couple of areas where the series could improve, and one of those areas is the music. While the use of more contemporary music fits with the lighter feel of the fantasy series, in some cases it seems questionable as to how much thought was put into the choices of songs. For example, Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” — which plays at the end of the Willow Season 1 finale — seems to have only the most tenuous connection to what’s happening on the screen.
The Willow finale ends on a cliffhanger, teasing a Season 2, though so far we’ve heard no word of more episodes given the green light. With many of the major streamers and networks cutting costs — and Disney, in particular, having a rough go of it — fans could have a little bit to worry about. Disney+ hasn’t released streaming numbers for the revival series, but its budget is clearly steeper than what you’d expect in a fantasy series on, say, The CW.
I have no way of predicting whether or not Willow will get the axe, though one might predict that if Disney were looking to shave costs, they might be smarter shrinking something from a franchise like Marvel or Star Wars. Willow is all they have currently going with that particular franchise, while the worlds of George Lucas and Stan Lee will keep chugging along nicely if one or two series has shrunken budgets or even go away completely.
Willow fills a much-needed vacancy in the current streaming media landscape — a light fantasy adventure series with a talented cast, glorious visuals, and a lot of laughs. Willow is the anti-Game-of-Thrones. As much as I love (some of) Game of Thrones, Willow is a refreshing change. Here’s hoping Disney gives the go-ahead for another season.