“Willow” Executive Producer Hints At Why Disney+ Series May Return
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Disney+ Original series “Willow” had been cancelled and wouldn’t be returning for a second season.
This was an all-new sequel series to George Lucas’s 1988 fantasy adventure “Willow” and saw the Nelwyn sorcerer returns, years after rescuing the infant empress Elora Danan, to lead a group of misfit heroes on a harrowing rescue mission through a world beyond imagination.
“Willow” featured Warwick Davis returning in his titular role, with Jonathan Kasdan, Ron Howard, Wendy Mericle, Kathleen Kennedy, and Michelle Rejwan serving as executive producers.
Unfortunately, the show never pulled in a huge audience for Disney+ and with Disney drastically cutting the amount of content it’s creating to save $5 billion over the next few years, anything that isn’t deemed a success is at risk.
Recently, Jon Kasdan, one of the executive producers on the show, took to social media to share an insight into why the show isn’t returning, teasing that the show isn’t fully gone and could maybe come back in the future.
Here’s his full statement:
Dear Willow Supporters (and Vocal Opposition, you guys get in here too):
Writing to you today, one… preposterously, criminally and immeasurably lucky fool.
The outpouring of kind words, support and passion for our shabby, idiosyncratic little show has been nothing short of mind-blowing and profoundly moving, not just for me, but for every one who worked their butts off on it. We’re all inexpressibly grateful and thrilled that you enjoy watching it (almost) as much as we enjoy making it. Even those of you who didn’t enjoy it, yet stuck with it for eight hours to critique each episode and let us know exactly which choices you weren’t a fan of. That too is its own… incredibly specific form of flattery, and we appreciate it!
As a life-long devotee of Deadline Hollywood, I also appreciate that punchy headlines drive clicks. So I understand how “WILLOW CANCELED AFTER ONE SEASON ON DISNEY+” is fun and juicy. However, as I’m nearly certain I’ve had more conversations about this in the last couple weeks than Nellie Andreeva (of whom I remain an ardent fan), I feel fairly confident that, if asked, neither I, nor the folks at Lucasfilm, would or have actually characterized it quite that way.
The truth is less splashy, but here it is: A decision was made last week to release our main cast for other series opportunities that may arise for them in the coming year. 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 trivialized by the simple reality that the scripts we’ve been working on require just as many actors (from our first season) with whom no such contractual hold exists. Nothing prevented Annabelle Davis, for example, from taking another show, but you better believe Mims appears in every single VOLUME Il chapter.
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.
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 Il, which builds on the characters and story of our first eight chapters (The Wyrm survives!).
VOLUME I is all about courage, desire, acceptance and the comedy and beauty to be found in even the darkest places and moments. It’s about the enemies we must inevitably confront, both without and, often far more insidiously, from within. But, above all, it’s about the ineffable and enduring magic of friendship.
I am confident I speak for everyone involved when I say that we’d all like nothing more than to deliver VOLUME Il, on the scale expected and demanded by the story we’re telling. Are we going into pre-production? Not right now. Does that mean we’re never gonna make it? Absolutely not. Three weeks ago, we got a third season of Party Down, 13 years after season two. Between seasons two and three of Atlanta? 4 years. Curb Your Enthusiasm seasons 8 and 9 had a hiatus of 6 years. Not to mention, this little movie I love called Willow, that didn’t get its well-deserved sequel for 35 years.
Perhaps the one thing Hollywood has consistently been great at, over its entire history, is servicing the appetites, no matter how obscure, of its consumers. And I have total confidence that, if an appetite for more Willow persists, Disney, Lucasfilm and this amazing cast and crew will satisfy it.
Is now the best moment to campaign/demand more? I don’t really think so. recommend preserving your outrage for the many real outrages in the world. The entertainment industry is in a moment of radical, global upheaval. The terrain ahead is unknown. But do I think enthusiasm for the show will still be meaningful a year from now? Or two? Definitely. As are all the people you recommend Willow to, that can enjoy it whenever they want. But declaring it dead, in the cultural in which we now live, feels, frankly, as anachronistic as… I don’t know… putting a Soundgarden cover in a fantasy show.
As for me, personally, I’ve been working on Willow for nearly five years. I’ve had the privilege of playing in sandboxes built by George Lucas, and stewarded (with deepest care and love) by Kathy Kennedy, for nine years. If you’ve hated the castles I’ve built, or helped build, in those sandboxes, this news should come as a tremendous relief and welcome respite. If you’ve enjoyed some of it and want more, I promise you that whatever I have to offer will only be cooler, funner and more exciting for the momentary break I’m now afforded.
I know the fandom can be divisive. I know sometimes people say mean things, but I gotta tell ya, from deep inside… that has not been my experience at all. I love all you guys! And I relate and identify with every single person who is passionate about Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Willow, even if we crave slightly different things from them. I think an open dialogue and fan involvement only enriches these worlds as they grow larger, fuller and more inclusive.
I have the best job in the world. And if you think I don’t deserve it, you’re absolutely right! No one deserves to have this much fun at work. I love everyone I’ve had the tremendous good fortune to collaborate with these past nine years, and I couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead.
Ignore the bird, follow the river, I promise it’ll take you where you need to go.
This detailed explanation from Jon, does provide a little more information about why the show didn’t return and leaves the door wide open for more adventures. He also is addressing the fans of the show, about social media campaigns to get the show renewed and also giving a little hope that maybe in the future something could happen.
The original “Willow” film and the first season of the show are available to stream now on Disney+.
Would you like to see a second season of “Willow”? Let us know on social media!