Following a Deadline report that Disney Plus had canceled Willow, the TV series based on George Lucas’ 1988 fantasy adventure, show producer Jon Kasdan has tweeted a correction. “Neither I, nor the folks at Lucasfilm, would or have actually characterized it quite that way.”
According to Kasdan, Willow isn’t dead, just sleeping.
March 17, 2023
Kasdan’s thread continues for two more tweets as well, noting the general slowing of production across the entertainment industry, but especially streaming, and the logistics of scheduling around your cast’s commitments.
“The truth is less splashy [than cancellation],” he writes, “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.”
According to Kasdan, season 2 of Willow is, if not completely written, significantly planned out, and some characters with small roles in the first season, like Annabelle Davis’ Mims, will have much larger ones in the new. But since their initial contracts didn’t include so much season 2 work, they’re now busy with other projects.
“Due to forces much larger and more intricate than I would ever pretend to fully understand,” Kasdan says, “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 II, which builds on the characters and story of our first eight chapters (The Wyrm survives!).”
The Wyrm is the shadowy evil force worshipped by the Crone, the ultimate antagonist of Willow’s first season. Though the Wyrm didn’t make any direct appearance in Willow’s first season, Kasdan clearly had a solid idea of it in November of last year.
“[The Crone is] the emissary of something much greater and darker and more powerful [...] I loved the idea that to whomever [the Wyrm] is, we are ants barely playing on the cement, and he needs to only reach out and crush us,” Kasdan told Polygon during the Willow press tour.
“[The Crone is] the spokesperson of that voice and ends up being really representative to me of, weirdly enough, more of a worldview and of a philosophical view, than she is an out and out villain,” Kasdan added. “There’s nihilism at the core of the Crone that I really wanted to explore. And I think that even after her story ends, the influence of that philosophical point of view is going to leave a permanent impact on our characters.”
In the Twitter thread, Kasdan went on to talk about the themes of season 2 — including courage, desire, acceptance, comedy and beauty in the darkest places, “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.”
So, is Willow canceled? No, according to its executive producer. But do we know if it’ll continue? That’s hazier.
“I have total confidence that, if an appetite for more Willow persists, Disney, Lucasfilm and this amazing cast will satisfy it,” Kasdan wrote in his thread.