Ron Howard might be returning to the world of his classic epic fantasy film Willow. The director confirmed that he and Solo: A Star Wars Story writer Jon Kasdan were discussing the possibility of developing a TV series based on the film with Disney, with the goal of bringing it to the company’s forthcoming streaming service, Disney+.
The original film follows an aspiring sorcerer named Willow Ufgood (played by Warwick Davis) who comes across an infant, Elora Danan. She was sent down a river to save her from a murderous sorceress, Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh), who is trying to prevent a prophecy from coming to pass. Willow teams up with a warrior named Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) to save the child and overthrow the queen. George Lucas came up with the idea for the film prior to Star Wars, and following the release of Return of the Jedi, he spoke with Warwick Davis about playing the film’s titular character. Lucas recruited Howard to direct the film, and it went on to become a cult hit when it was released in 1988.
In the years since, Lucasfilm has worked to expand the world. Between 1995 and 2000, Lucas came up with a trilogy of novels, written by comic book author Chris Claremont: Shadow Moon, Shadow Dawn, and Shadow Star. Lucas later brought up the possibility of a Willow TV series at Star Wars Celebration III in 2005. During the press tour for Solo: A Star Wars Story, Howard said that he had been discussing a continuation of the story with Lucasfilm, telling ComicBook.com that he “wouldn’t call it Willow 2. I think it would focus a lot on Elora Danan, although Willow would have to be significantly involved.”
It seems as though those talks are still taking place, with the intention of bringing such a continuation to Disney+. Howard was a guest on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast (via io9), where he said that there were “some really serious discussions going on with Jon Kasdan, who was one of the writers of Solo.” Kasdan had apparently “hounded” both Howard and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy about the project, and he has an “inspired take” on where the story could go. Howard says that they’re “in discussions about developing a Willow television show for Disney+,” which would be a continuation of the story, rather than a reboot.
The project seems like it would be an ideal fit for Disney’s larger strategy. While the company almost certainly bought Lucasfilm on the strength of the Star Wars franchise alone, Lucas’ company came with other properties like Willow (and Indiana Jones, which is also in the works). With its streaming service coming in November, Disney has already begun building out a large catalog of content, with shows set in the Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars franchises, along with remakes of popular films like The Sword in the Stone, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Escape to Witch Mountain, and others. Willow, which is already a cult classic, falls into that category of existing, somewhat recognizable IP, with a large world in which plenty of other stories could be told.