It’s been two months since the TV series Willow ended its eight-episode freshman run on Disney+, and if you’re one of those fans who are wondering whether the show is coming back for another season, then we have some not-so-happy news for you.
Will there be a Willow season 2?
On March 15, 2023, Deadline broke the news that there won’t be Willow season 2. The show’s cancellation came as a surprise to fans, especially because the TV series was well-received by critics.
But on March 18tjh, 2023, series creator and showrunner Jon Kasdan released a statement on his personal Twitter account to clarify the real status of the series. Kasdan explained that the current uncertain landscape in the streaming industry will significantly delay the production of the show’s potential second season, noting that the series has not been formally canceled.
“A decision was made last week to release our main cast for other series opportunities that may arise for them in the coming year,” Kasdan wrote. “With all the TV and movies in production around the world, it feels unfair to limit an actor’s availability without a clear sense of when you’re going to need them again. It’s further triviliased by the simple reality that the scripts we’ve been working on require just as many actors with whom no such contractual hold exists.”
Although Kasdan admitted that there are no firm plans to resume production soon, he shared that Disney has still tasked him and his creative team with planning a sophomore run for the series.
“If you’re asking what this means for you as a viewer, or me as the creator, here’s what I think it means: Due to forces much larger and more intricate than I would ever pretend to fully understand production of streaming shows is slowing down across the entire industry, and ‘Willow’ won’t resume filming in the next 12 months,” he wrote. “But here’s what’s equally true: with the enthusiastic and unwavering support of Lucasfilm, and Disney, we’ve developed and written what we hope is a brain-meltingly fun, richer, darker, and better VOLUME II, which builds on the characters and story of our first eight chapters (The Wyrm survives!)”
But it’s not uncommon for studios to commission scripts that never make it to production, so a second season of Willow is still uncertain. However, Kasdan’s clarification should bring some comfort to fans that the series is not entirely dead.
As of March 2023, the first season of the show is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, holding an 83% critical approval rating based on 66 reviews. Although the TV series failed to match the cultural impact of the original Willow movie, critics said that the former managed to satisfy longtime fans by creatively expanding the saga while impressively providing callbacks to the source material.
The mid-credits sequence at the end of the Willow season 1 finale also suggested that there are more seasons to come. In the mid-credits sequence, a hand is seen placing a tome titled Volume I next to two more marked Volume II and Volume III on a shelf.
Why Willow hasn’t been officially renewed for a second season yet?
As Kasdan pointed out, Disney+ and other streaming services have been cutting costs on content creation to become more profitable. So this explains why Disney has yet to officially order a second season of the show.
As previously reported, this is also one of the possible reasons why Paramount+ decided to end Star Trek: Discovery with its upcoming season 5.
While it’s uncertain whether or not the TV show Willow will continue, the franchise remains an important IP in the Lucasfilm library, so it’s highly likely that the franchise may continue in other forms in the future.
About Willow TV series
Willow serves as a sequel to the 1988 film of the same name. Set in a magical world where brownies, sorcerers, trolls, and other mystical creatures flourish, and more than 20 years after Queen Bavmorda’s defeat, the show follows an unlikely group of six heroes who set off on a dangerous quest to places far beyond their home where they must face their inner demons and come together to save their world from the Gales.
Jonathan Kasdan developed Willow for television and also served as co-showrunner with Wendy Mericle. Ron Howard, who directed the original movie, served as executive producer via Imagine Entertainment, along with Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan of Lucasfilm. Bob Dolman, who wrote the original film, was a consulting producer.
Willow TV series cast
Willow starred Warwick Davis, reprising his titular role of Willow Ufgood from the original movie. Joining Davis in the TV show were franchise newcomers Ruby Cruz as Princess Kit Tanthalos, Erin Kellyman as Jade, Ellie Bamber as Elora Danan, Tony Revolori as Prince Graydon, Amar Chadha-Patel as Thraxus Boorman, Dempsey Bryk as Prince Airk, and Joanne Whalley as Queen Sorsha, among many others.
How did Willow season 1 end?
The season 1 finale of Willow saw the end of the heroes’ quest, with Willow, Kit, Jade, Elora, Graydon, and Thraxus successfully rescuing Kit’s brother, Airk, from the Crone (Jane Carr). As the main villain of the season, the Crone wanted to mold Airk into the Harbinger of the Wyrm, a great evil that she served.
In the show’s final showdown between the good and the evil, the Crone flung Graydon into another dimension, seemingly killing him. And just when the Crone turned her sights on the others, Elora finally learned to control her magic and ultimately defeated the big bad.
Elora, Kit, Willow, and Thraxus then teamed up to free Airk from the Wyrm’s grasp. And with the Crone’s demise, the only link the Wyrm had to the real world was severed, so the group returned home with a promise to honor Graydon’s sacrifice.
However, in the final scene, Graydon was miraculously transported to another realm, where he encountered Elora, the physical manifestation of the Wyrm. This suggested that the Order of the Wyrm is still a looming threat, and defeating it once and for all may require more than one season of Willow.
Why is Val Kilmer not in Willow?
Val Kilmer played the boastful mercenary swordsman named Madmartigan in the original film. Although he didn’t end up reprising his role in the TV series, co-showrunner Kasdan made it clear in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the original plan for the series involved Kilmer returning to his beloved role.
“We really wanted Val to come be in the show,” Kasdan told the news outlet in November 2022. “And Val really wanted to come out and be in the show. I remember going to see Val right after this thing started to get some momentum, and I said, ‘Listen, we’re doing this. And the whole world wants Madmartigan back.’ And he was like, ‘Not as much as I do.’”
After hearing that very positive response from Kilmer, Kasdan was all set to bring Madmartigan back. “We started building out the first season with the intent of having him appear,” shared the executive producer. “[It wasn’t clear we couldn’t get him] until pretty late in the process, frankly.”
Kasdan’s prep work for the series took place before the COVID-19 pandemic, so when the global health emergency was at its peak, Kilmer became hesitant about reprising his role. “As COVID overtook the world, it became insurmountable,” Kasdan recalled. “We were prepping in the spring of the year that it was most happening. And Val reluctantly didn’t feel he could come out.”
Despite Kilmer’s absence, Kasdan said that they tried their best to honor the actor’s character in the series.
Is Willow based on Lord of the Rings?
Although Willow and Lord of the Rings are both high-fantasy adventure properties, the former is not based on the latter. The original Willow film is directed by Ron Howard from a screenplay by Bob Dolman, which is based on a story by George Lucas. The Lord of the Rings franchise, on the other hand, started out as a novel, created by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien.