Jon Kasdan Had to Balance Nostalgia with Progress on ‘Willow’

(L-R): Graydon (Tony Revolori), Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel), Dove (Ellie Bamber), Kit (Ruby Cruz), Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) and Jade (Erin Kellyman) in Lucasfilm’s WILLOW exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Legacy sequels are all the rage in Hollywood. While there’s no shortage of new IPs heading to theaters or streaming networks, audiences are delighting in nostalgic projects such as Top Gun: Maverick, Cobra Kai and Scream (2022). Not every legacy project, has landed with fans, however, and what often seems to be the tipping point is finding a balance between what made fans fall in love with the property in the first place and moving the story along in an unpredictable direction. For Jon Kasdan, the executive producer and writer of the upcoming Disney Plus streaming series, Willow, finding that sweet spot wasn’t necessarily easy.

You know, that… it’s the challenge,” said Kasdan of balancing the fantastical nature of the 1988 film with an updated, contemporary tone. According to Kasdan, that became the key challenge of putting together the series, “With every episode you’re sort of walking the line between, between making it familiar and satisfying what fans expect from the brand ‘Willow,’ and then trying to push it forward and tell a story that’s surprising and unexpected.”

Fortunately for Kasdan, one of the original film’s stars, Warwick Davis who reprises the role of Willow Ufgood and who partnered with Kasdan on the set of Solo: A Star Wars Story to get the sequel series underway, took the edge off the challenge. As Kasdan said, his presence solved a lot of problems.

And you know, the great weapon we had with us was Warwick, who just lent the whole universe of ‘Willow’ credibility, and the moment you see him on screen, you suddenly believe these six other foolish kids could somehow fit into that world, and really inhabit it. And they did so so beautifully and with such gusto and enthusiasm. And authenticity, that it was sort of an amazing thing to watch all these things come together, and become something that feels like a progression from the movie as much as a love letter to it.

Jon Kasdan

Fans will have a chance to judge just how well-balanced the series is when Willow begins streaming on Disney Plus tomorrow!

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