The upcoming Willow series for Disney+ will feature deep-cut references that will reward detail-oriented and long-term fans, writer Jon Kasdan told ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis. During an appearance at Star Wars Celebration, we caught up with Kasdan, whose family has been involved in the Lucasfilm world for decades (his father, Lawrence Kasdan, worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark), promised fidelity to the source material, and talked about his experiences with original Willow director Ron Howard, with whom Kasdan previously worked on Solo: A Star Wars Story. Howard serves as an executive producer on the new Willow.
According to Kasdan, Willow features a ton of new characters and concepts, but it's all grounded in the world established not just by the movie, but by other sources of Willow lore. Given how much has been said about the one original film over the years, that feels like a creative way to flesh out the universe and make it feel more lived-in.
"It's a whole new thing. From the moment I got involved in Star Wars with George, with Kathy, with my dad, I saw an opportunity here with Willow to bring this story back," Kasdan said. "I knew that Warrick was eager to do it, to play it again, and then when Ron came and worked on Solo with us, he was just as eager, too, and we let the momentum of that allow us to continue this story that the three of us really loved -- that I loved as a fan and they loved as a working experience. I just thought, 'How do I do this, and how do I give it the same fidelity that we tried to give to Solo?' There are deep cuts in the Willow show, and references to the tabletop game and references to the novelization. We went deep, and hopefully the true fan will appreciate it."
He had nothing but praise for Howard, noting that the pair had talked about Willow on the set of Solo, creating an unforgettable and somewhat surreal moment for anyone who grew up around Star Wars and Willow.
"[Ron] is all enthusiasm and all fun, and I shouldn't say this on something my dad might see, but if I had one role model it's Ron," Kasdan said. "He just brings such momentum and energy to everything he does, and without it, we wouldn't have been able to do this. Being on the set with him, you're sitting there in the chair, and he's geeking out on Willow with you as you're shooting on the Millennium Falcon, and it's the best job you can have."
After the events of the 1988 fantasy film, a group of all new characters travel the enchanted realm. There are fairy queens, and Eborsisk monsters to be met. Willow Ufgood is back with some new faces too. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's Erin Kellyman stars as Jade, Army of One alum Amer Chadha-Patel as Boorman, The Serpent's Ellie Bamber as Dove, and Mare of Easttown's Ruby Cruz as Kit.
Stephen Woolfenden is directing the pilot episode. Jon M. Chu and Jonathan Entwistle are expected to helm other episodes of the Disney+ series.