The first two episodes of Willow are now streaming on Disney+, and the series has a lot of big connections to Star Wars. Not only is Willow a Lucasfilm project, but the original film's characters were created by George Lucas. The 1988 movie was also directed by Ron Howard who went on to helm Solo: A Star Wars Story which was co-written by Jonathan Kasdan. Now, Kasdan is the showrunner of the new Willow series. Willow sees the return of Warwick Davis in the titular role, and Kasdan first approached Davis about the sequel idea on the set of Solo. With all of these connections, it's no surprise to learn that Davis told The Hollywood Reporter that he took inspiration from Mark Hamill's performance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
"The one thing I took note of in particular was Mark Hamill returning to Luke Skywalker and how he went about the approach for that," Davis explained. "I thought he was really interesting, and it wasn't the expected approach, certainly. He came at it from quite a different angle, and I also did the same. I noticed that Mark didn't try to play the character younger. He just leaned into his more mature years, and that's really what I did as Willow. I'm 52 now. The first time I played the character, I was only 17. So I thought, 'Well, let's not deny the fact that you're 52. Let's use that to make this character more interesting, more grounded and more well-rounded as well.'"
Davis continued, "Within this series, the world that we find Willow in is a different one than we last saw him in. He's quite troubled. He's had a lot of dark experiences in his own life, so he has to take all that on. And as an actor, I have to add all of that knowledge into the character's situation and use that to reflect out in my performance."
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In addition to Davis, the Willow series also features Joanne Whalley (Sorsha) and Kevin Pollak (Rool). ComicBook.com had the chance to catch up with both Whalley and Pollak at the Willow premiere, and they talked about returning to their roles nearly 35 years later.
"Not really, no," Whalley admitted when asked if she ever thought she'd be playing Sorsha again. "I didn't actually, I never even thought about it." We also asked how she bridged the gap between performances considering all that would have happened to Sorsha over time, and she gave all of the credit to Willow showrunner, Jonathan Kasdan.
"Well, you would think I might have a lot to say about it, but I actually don't have much to say about it, because the joy of it was, is that Jon Kasdan completely understood the core material, the source material, and just moved it forward. I mean, he really is... I think when I read the scripts, it was such, not a relief exactly, but almost," Whalley explained. "It didn't feel strange at all, and I think that's a testament to his genius." She continued, "Because it didn't feel strange. And family dynamics felt real. We're further along in time still. Sorsha has a whole slew of different problems on her shoulders that she's trying to pretend she's not worrying about, and it just felt very natural ... What more could you ask for?"
When asked how his appearance in the Willow series came about, Pollak replied, "Well, I get an email after 34 years that I wasn't expecting. And then to get on a Zoom with Jon Kasdan and have him explain just what the hell he was thinking. And his enthusiasm and love for the movie was pretty amazing and heartwarming. I mean, honestly, this kid was obsessed with this movie." Pollak then reflected on the original movie: "Just joyful and magical and a high-level caliber and pedigree of filmmakers and George Lucas and Ron Howard. And the special effects team out at Lucas Ranch was real state-of-the-art and their state-of-the-art once again in the series. So that's my memory. And also when my dad met George Lucas, he said... well, shaking his hand, 'I really loved ET.' And to George's credit, George said, 'Oh, me too.'"
The first two episodes of Willow are now streaming on Disney+.