Ron Howard gave fans something to look forward to earlier this week when he casually mentioned his interest in returning to the world of his 1988 fantasy feature Willow, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary.
That’s right kids, we may finally get a second dose of Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis), Mad Mardigan (Val Kilmer), and the sweet little Elora Danan. Howard’s comment came during an interview with Comicbook.com:
I don’t want to give away too much, but there is a little talk of Willow. We wouldn’t call it Willow 2, I think it would focus a lot on Elora Danan, although Willow would have to be significantly involved.
Bring back Willow?! you say? Why? you ask. Well, here are 5 reasons we can not wait to see good old Willow Ufgood back in action.
Despite being a rather prolific actor, Davis is often confined to masked roles. From the Leprechaun to Wicket the Ewok (Return of the Jedi) when he was 11, to the wizard Professor Filius Flitwick (Harry Potter), it’s likely you see him more often than you think. Thing is, the guy is incredibly talented. Staring as the title role in Willow, he played the would-be wizard and father of two at just 17! George Lucas wrote the film with Davis in mind when he was still too young for it, and he’s just gotten better in his lifelong career on screen. And he is freaking hilarious. Check out this all too appropriate scene from his pseudo-autobiographical mockumentary series Life’s Too Short:
Howard’s promise of a bigger, better fantasy film
When Howard made Willow he was limited to the special effects of the time. Trolls, dragons, lightning throwing witches. Industrial Light & Magic was breaking new ground for special effects even in ’88, including one of the first ever “morphing” sequences. The thought of what they could do with modern technology is enough to give you geeky goosebumps. Two years ago Howard waxed sentimental about the potential for a sequel in a Reddit Q&A:
You know there are things about the movie Willow, as much affection as I have for it and as much affection as fans have for it that, you know, I would love to have a second chance with. George Lucas was so trusting; I was still fairly green, I always say it was a little like me doing my doctoral thesis working with George Lucas on that movie Willow. And I think today I could make it even more dynamic, I could make it cooler, I could make the funny stuff funnier, but all that said, you know Willow was a great experience and I’m really glad it sort of lives in peoples memory. Or younger people see it today and still find something to really like about it.
An older Willow will have further studied magic and could come back into the adventure as a full-fledged wizard!
Madmartigan vs. The Brownies
Willow might be on the shorter side, but the dirty little men a fraction of his size, but with big personalities dropped some of the best one-liners in the movie. Kevin Pollack (The Usual Suspects) and Rick Overton (Groundhog Day) stared as the wisecracking tiny dudes Rool and Franjean. The bumbling duo offers up additional comic relief as well as some perspective for the diminutive hero. The back and forth between the little smart-asses and the swaggering Madmartigan are some of the most enjoyable parts of the original. The actors may all be older and wiser now, but the idea of seeing these three in action is surely promising. We’ll just have to keep an eye on our valuables while taking a peepee.
Way back in 1988 Howard and writer/producer George Lucas created a diverse world which meant jobs for those who, like Davis, spent way too much time behind a mask. A village of little people of many races, strong roles for women, and plenty of room to expand beyond what has already been done with the original. It may escape the notice of a modern audience, but Willow had a vastly diverse cast even by today’s standards, offering substantial, complex roles to little people and strong leading roles for women long before Peter Dinklage was knowing things and Gwendoline Christie was cracking heads on Game of Thrones.
The casting call for Willow was the largest ever for little people in movie history according to Davis. Not to mention the fact that not once in the entire film does the issue of Sorcha (Joanne Whalley), the evil queen Bavmorda’s (Jean Marsh) warrior daughter, being a female ever matter beyond Madmartigan’s attraction to her. This fantasy world seems to have a rather enlightened mentality.
The recent addition of Lucasfilm to the Disney family of companies means that a Willow sequel will be a Disney movie. Disney’s live-action films can be hit or miss, but the company certainly knows there way around fantasy. Evil Queens and dragons are their bread and butter, but it is the company’s recent success staying true to one of Lucas’ most beloved franchises, Star Wars, that should give fans real hope. Howard’s comment that the film would focus on the now grown Elora Danan would fall right in line with their current focus on strong female characters, as well as their standing Disney Princess tradition.
We have a long way to go before Willow makes his way back on to the big screen, but the possibility of a sequel has us excited about the potential adventure.
Looking forward to going back to the world of Willow? Tell us what you think on GEEKFB.
Images: Lucasfilm, Disney
Source: Comic Book