Willow


willow
  • Original Release: November 30, 2022
  • Created By: George Lucas
  • Developed By: Jonathan Kasdan
  • Owner: Disney

Disney+‘s Willow sequel series brought fans back to the fantasy world of the 1988 film of the same name, delivering a new epic quest, a young band of heroes helping the titular sorcerer played by Warwick Davis, and more terrifying villains.

But in spite of a stellar success with the critics, a green light for Willow Season 2 had yet to be announced. And then, even worse news came.

WILLOW SEASON 2 HAS BEEN CANCELED

The highly anticipated series Willow, a follow-up to the 1988 cult classic movie, will not be returning for a second season on Disney+, as reported by Deadline.

Despite a well-received first season, which had an 84 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the journey of the titular character, portrayed by Warwick Davis, guiding a group of misfits on a perilous rescue mission, has concluded.

The cancellation comes as part of Disney’s strategy to reduce expenditures on its streaming platform, following a series of financial setbacks in the fourth quarter of 2022 and organizational shifts including the replacement of CEO Bob Chapek with Bob Iger.

Although this marks the end of Willow, Disney continues to focus on generating content from popular franchises housed under Lucasfilm, notably the Star Wars series.

WILLOW HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM DISNEY+

Disney+ and Hulu are gearing up for a significant content removal, affecting titles including Marvel’s Project Hero, Bigshot, Cheaper by the Dozen, and Magic Camp. The most surprising removal is the series Willow, which premiered on November 30, 2022, and wasn’t available on Disney+ after May 26, 2023.

This development virtually confirms that the series will not be returning for a second season, despite initial rumors of a hiatus to allow the cast to explore other opportunities.

THE SEASON 1 FINALE HINTED AT AN EXPLOSIVE WILLOW SEASON 2

willow season 2

Willow‘s first season ended with an ominous vision of the realm of the Wyrm. While Graydon (Tony Revolori) is believed murdered by the Crone, in the final moments of “Children of the Wyrm” we find out he was instead sent to the villain’s realm where they appear before Graydon as identical to Elora Danan (Ellie Bamber).

The Wyrm has at their back a massive army they could be using in Willow Season 2, including a two-headed dragon just like the one Madmartigan killed in the 1988 movie.

So not only is there the revelation that Graydon is still alive, but clearly, the death of The Crone isn’t the end of the threats Willow and his friends could face. Unfortunately, we will likely never find out the ending.

WILLOW’S CREATORS SAID THERE WAS MORE PLANNED FOR SEASON 2

willow premiere

There hadn’t been any word yet on whether or not Disney would give Willow Season 2 the green light, but word from the people behind the camera was hopeful.

Series creator and showrunner Jonathan Kasdan spoke to RadioTimes in January 2023 and said that talks for a follow-up season had gone well. He also told the site that he and the rest of the creative team were “eager” to start working on more episodes.

Just a few days later, the Oscar-winning Ron Howard — who directed the 1988 film and was an executive producer on the revival series — told The Hollywood Reporter there was definitely more planned for Willow Season 2.

“Well, there’s always been a hope and a plan for more seasons. There’s certainly more story to tell, but there’s nothing concrete that I can comment on right now. From a creative standpoint, everybody is energized. Everybody loved working on Willow. It felt like it found its voice and its footing, so we’re just standing by.”

-Ron Howard

While all of that sounded great, Kasdan warned RadioTimes that the entertainment business is not the place to count the proverbial chickens before they’re hatched:

“It’s a strange and unpredictable time here in Hollywood… there are shows that were well on their way to moving forward that haven’t, shows that never expected to be in a second season that are – so you never know where you’re going to be and you never know where the world is going to end up in a year or whatever.”

-Jonathan Kasdan

WARWICK DAVIS WANTED TO MAKE WILLOW SEASON 2

willow finale

Arguably the guy whose opinion matters the most is the one who plays the show’s title character, and as far as that’s concerned, Warwick Davis had confirmed he wants to come back for Willow Season 2. Davis told Digital Spy in December he was hopeful the series would have a future:

“But I’m excited to go back. Of course, I would. But let’s just see. If the audience supports us with this then I’d be happy to put the wig on again and get my staff out and start doing some more magic.”

-Warwick Davis

Davis also quipped about Jonathan Kasdan being a little persistent about his ideas for Willow Season 2.

“So he keeps coming up to me saying: ‘Hey, Warwick I have this great idea. We could do this, that and the other.’ I go: ‘Okay Jon, shall we just see what happens with this one first?'”

WILLOW SEASON 2 WOULD PROBABLY HAVE BROUGHT BACK VAL KILMER

val kilmer willow

Val Kilmer‘s Madmartigan didn’t wind up appearing in the flesh for Willow‘s first season, though he did make something of a bodiless appearance courtesy of his son Jack’s voice.

In November, Jonathan Kasdan told Entertainment Weekly that Val Kilmer was more than eager to reprise the role for the Disney+ series, but the combination of his ongoing health issues and the COVID-19 Pandemic forced the Top Gun: Maverick star to bow out at the eleventh hour.

In fact, it wasn’t until right before production began on Willow‘s inaugural season that Kilmer was written out.

Willow Season 2, Kasdan hoped, had a much better chance of seeing the swordsman return. “We wanted to leave open the door to any possibility in the future and also honor the spirit of him,” Kasdan said. “We’ve tried to do that and work with him in a way so that he is felt and heard, if not seen.”

A SECOND SEASON WAS A CHANCE FOR DISNEY TO RISE ABOVE FRANCHISE FATIGUE

Particularly with MCU movies proving to have smaller box office returns, there’s been a lot of discussion about market fatigue with not only Marvel, but another of Disney’s big action-adventure franchises: Star Wars.

While there’s less firm word on how Star Wars is reacting, Marvel has already confirmed to be reducing its streaming output planned for the next few years, with multiple projects being delayed as a result.

But a Willow Season 2 would have checked off a lot of the same boxes as projects from franchises like Marvel and Star Wars, but without the over-saturation.

Set in a fantastic and magical world full of adventure, there’s plenty of overlap between the fandoms of Star Wars, Marvel, and Willow.

Meanwhile, new fans don’t have as many barriers to getting into Willow as they would the others. There’s only been one film and eight episodes of the first season.

Anyone interested in Willow Season 2 would have a lot less homework than someone potentially experiencing Star Wars or the MCU for the first time.

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