When it was released just over 30 years ago, Ron Howard and George Lucas’ fantasy adventure Willow didn’t exactly set the box office on fire. In fact, it was a minor disappointment, grossing double its production budget but no more. But, like A Christmas Story, Newsies, and The Thing — or, to go back even further, The Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life — it went on to a sturdy afterlife, as was bound to happen to a film that was basically The Hobbit but with more Val Kilmer turning into a pig.
Now it appears the reboot gods may be smiling upon it. As per /Film, Howard — who directed it, from a story by Lucas — was on MTV’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, and said there’s real talk of turning Willow into a TV show. He says Jon Kasdan, one of the writers on Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, has been “hounding” him about rebooting his cult fave. The idea is to turn it into a program for the forthcoming Disney+.
“I think it’d be a great way to go,” Howard said. “In fact, George always talked about the possibility of a Willow series, and it’d be great and more intimate, and built around that character and some of the others. And Jon Kasdan has, I think, an inspired take on it and it could be really, really cool.”
Willow starred Warwick Davis as a dwarf in a fantasy realm enlisted with protecting a special baby from an evil Queen. Val Kilmer plays Mad Martigan, the Han Solo-esque rogue who reluctantly becomes his ally and sometime protector.
Howard said Davis — a teen at the time of filming, who had already played the Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi and has gone on to multiple roles in the Harry Potter films as well as the Ricky Gervais-Stephen Merchant sitcom Life’s Too Short —would return, though no word yet on if Kilmer is game for more Martigan.
One big point: Should it happen, the show will be, in Howard’s words, a “more mature Willow,” with our eponymous character older and wiser and presumably more fast with weaponry than he once was. Sadly, we likely won’t see the return of the two-headed beastie named “Eborsisk” — a thinly-veiled dig at now-late film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel — nor dastardly General Kael, who was a diss at another critic, Pauline Kael. Content creators sure were thin-skinned back then, weren’t they?