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Fans asked for – and finally get


Get ready for the decades-later sequel series “Willow” for Disney+ starring once again Warwick Davis as the sorcerer Willow Ufgood.

It was 1988, 35 years ago (!), when “Willow” first arrived in movie theaters. Since then, Warwick, 52,  said in a virtual press conference, “It’s been talked about, not by anyone official but by the fans who’ve constantly pestered me, saying ‘When are we going to see a sequel?’  It’s a question I could never answer – until I met Jon Kasdan who is also a fan.”

They met in 2017 on the set of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Kasdan was co-writer (with his dad, Oscar-nominated writer-director Lawrence Kasdan) and Warwick reprised his “Phantom Menace” role as Weazel.

“I wondered on the set of ‘Solo’ who had let him onto set,” Davis joked.  “You know, ‘No fans allowed here!’ Because he was obsessed talking about ‘Willow’ and surely we should be concentrating on making this Star Wars story, shouldn’t we?”

That fortuitous meeting included “Solo” director Ron Howard who had helmed “Willow.”

“That was the catalyst for this project to happen really,” Davis said. “In Hollywood terms it happened very quickly. Before I knew it I was on set in Wales filming.

“Once again,” he added with a smile, “looking just like Willow but a slightly older, more mature, better-looking version. Sexier.”

Kasdan saw it as simply a fan’s pursuit of continuing the story with a series. “Certainly, there was the impulse between Ron, Warwick and myself to continue this story and return to this world.

“I came at it as a fan. They came at it as the creators and found a champion in me. My ace was always that Warwick would be back and everyone appreciated that there was something really special in the opportunity to bring this character back to the screen.”

While the original saw Warwick’s sorcerer Willow vanquish the evil queen Bavmorda, now, 20 years later, he leads a group of six misfits into a dangerous rescue mission.

“The challenge with every episode,” Kasdan said, “is you’re walking the line between making it familiar and satisfying what fans expect from the brand ‘Willow.’ And then trying to push it forward and tell a story that’s surprising and unexpected.

“The great weapon we had was Warwick, who just lent the whole universe of Willow credibility. The moment you see him on screen, you suddenly believe these six other foolish kids could somehow fit into that world, and really inhabit it.

“This feels like a progression from the movie as much as a love letter to it.”

“Willow” streams on Disney+ Nov. 30


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