Disney and Lucasfilm adjusted the production schedule of its upcoming Willow series as a result of the United Kingdom’s latest lockdown. Consequently, Crazy Rich Asians helmer Jon M. Chu has announced he is stepping down as the director of the Disney Plus series.
With the number of reported COVID-19 cases surging at an alarming rate in the U.K., the country entered in third national lockdown in early January 2021 in hopes of containing the spread of the virus. While film and television productions, including Warner Bros. and DC’s The Batman, were exempt from the lockdown measures, provided cast and crew adhered to strict health and safety protocols, Disney and Lucasfilm opted to postpone the production start date of its Willow series until summer 2021.
Unfortunately, the summer start window for Disney Plus’ Willow series will coincide with the birth of Chu’s new baby. In a letter posted to his official Twitter account, Chu stated that he is heartbroken to step away from directing the series but noted the timing just wouldn’t work for him and his family. “As you may know, Willow has been one of my favorite movies since I was a child, so I’m devastated that I won’t be able to work with some of my heroes old and new like Kathy [Kennedy], Ron [Howard], Jon [Kasdan], Wendy [Mericle], Michelle [Rejwan] and the amazing cast and crew they’ve put together,” Chu wrote. “Like a kid seeing Willow for the first time in the ’80s, I will look forward to watching this magical new world unfold as a very enthusiastic fan.” In the closing line of his message, Chu sent love to readers and urged everyone to take care of each other during these ever-changing times.
Directed by Ron Howard and starring Warwick Davis in the title role, the original film centered on a farmer and aspiring sorcerer named Willow Ufgood. After discovering a lost baby girl named Elora Danan, whom the evil Queen Bavmorda believes is destined to bring about her downfall, Willow embarks on a perilous journey to find responsible humans who can raise the child. Disney Plus’ Willow series will be set several years after the events of the film, with David set to reprise his role and Howard on board as an executive producer.
While Willow is just the latest in a long line of properties from the ’80s to be revived, Howard has assured fans that the new series won’t rely on nostalgia. Instead, the project will be a “creative lean-forward” that will introduce a host of brand new characters to the franchise.
Those who are looking forward to Disney Plus‘ Willow series are likely hoping the series will fare better than Netflix’s Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a show that similarly continued the story of a children’s film from the ’80s. While Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance was well-received, Netflix canceled the series after one season, reportedly due to the disappointing performance of the costly show.
Willow is scheduled to premiere exclusively on Disney Plus in 2022.
Source: Jon M. Chu|Twitter