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Willow sequel influenced by The Force Awakens

by John Paul
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Jonathan Kasdan, the showrunner for Disney+’s Willow, has discussed the effect of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens on the program. Returning as the ambitious Nelwyn sorcerer Willow Ufgood, played by Warwick Davis, is Elora Danan, the child foretold to save her people. In doing so, Ufgood unwittingly aids in the defeat of the evil Queen Bavmorda. Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz), the daughter of Queen Sorsha (Joanne Whalley), embarks on a journey with an unlikely group to rescue her kidnapped brother Airk (Dempsey Bryk) from the hands of the terrible Withered Crone 20 years after the events of the original film. To save her brother and restore peace to the world, she enlists the help of the titular magician hero.

Kasdan recently spoke to Deadline about how The Force Awakens affected the creation of the Willow sequel series. The showrunner has come clean about how his family’s connection to the Star Wars film has taught him the need for practical effects while depicting fantasy scenes. Lawrence Kasdan, the showrunner’s father, worked on the movie as a screenwriter. Have a look at what Kasdan had to say:

“The Force Awakens was a big influence on this show because it was such a formative experience for both Michelle [Rejwan] and me in terms of figuring out what works and what doesn’t and how much you want to try to push things forward and how much you want to give people what they’re expecting. There were days when we had 30 trolls fully in prosthetics…It felt like the mission statement was: How do we make everything look as real as possible? And how do we make you ask the question, what did they really do, and what’s digital?”

What Happens If Willow Doesn’t Measure Up to the Movie?

The original 1988 Willow picture, conceived by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard, set out to convey a bizarre and beautiful tale of heroism from the unlikeliest of places on an enormous scale. Willow was met with mixed reviews from critics who focused on the story but commended the film’s breathtaking visuals and innovative effects. However, after being available on home video for some time, the film garnered a large fan base and established itself as a cult classic. Despite Willow’s cult popularity and high 79 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the picture only received a 53 percent approval rating from critics.

Surprisingly, Rotten Tomatoes scores for Disney+’s Willow sequel series have flipped from the original film. The first three episodes have been well received by critics, who have given the program an 84% Certified Fresh rating. Viola Davis’s return has been singled out for praise and the franchise’s new ensemble of characters. Its Audience score, however, is only 34%. Although there aren’t enough ratings from actual viewers to be definitive, many viewers have complained that the show’s characters and writing are too similar to another show on The CW. Reports of review bombing have also surfaced, allegedly because of Kit and Jade’s same-sex relationship (Erin Kellyman).

Kasdan aspires to revive the film’s enchantment with faithful recreations of its special effects, settings, and enduring characters. On the other hand, with a bolstered cast and at least one more season in the works, Willow intends to expand upon the film’s extensive mythology. After only two of the season’s eight episodes have aired, viewers still don’t know if Willow lives up to the original’s legend.



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