The other big reveal from day one of Star Wars Celebration has nothing to do with Star Wars. It’s the teaser for Willow, a sequel series to the 1988 film of the same name. Back then, George Lucas hoped Willow would be as big as E.T.—it wasn’t. But over the years, Willow has become a genuine cult classic; there’s a running gag in Reservation Dogs about one of the characters being named Elora Danan, after the infant princess in Willow. Now, with the Disney+ machine hungry for new things, Ron Howard, director of the original film, and writer/producers Jonathan Kasdan and Wendy Mericle have teamed up to bring Willow to the small screen.
I am a fan of Willow, it was one of those movies that was just constantly on when I was growing up, but this teaser isn’t inspiring much more than mild curiosity. It LOOKS beautiful, certainly, and it’s cool to see Warwick Davis and Joanne Whalley back as the sorcerer Willow Ufgood the badass warrior Sorsha, respectively, but…there’s no Madmartigan. As far as we know, Val Kilmer isn’t returning for Willow. And I get it, he’s been ill, it left a stamp, he and Whalley are divorced now so maybe that’s awkward, but like. God. Joanne Whalley and Val Kilmer in Willow are SO HOT. Looking back, I realize a huge part of my enjoyment of Willow was the sexual tension between Sorsha and Madmartigan. I didn’t know what it was at the time, I just knew I REALLY liked it whenever they were on screen together. (Ditto for Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer in Ladyhawke, which was my introduction to cinematic PINING.)
What’s the value of Willow without Val Kilmer? Less horny nerds probably won’t care, and there will undoubtedly be a perfectly logical explanation for why he’s absent from these proceedings set twenty years after the events of the film, but I don’t know if it’s enough to hook me. Like I can just rewatch Willow (1988) and have the experience I’m looking for from Willow (it’s streaming on Disney+). I’ll probably get around to watching the new Willow eventually, but right now, it’s not looking like a priority.