The upcoming Disney Plus series, Willow is a nostalgic return to the fantastical lands of Tir Asleen and Galadoorn and the characters who inhabit it. The series is a direct sequel to the 1988 film of the same name and set 20 years after the events of it saw the evil Queen Bavmorda defeated by a band of people that included Willow and The Greatest Swordsman that ever lived, Madmartigan. However, while Warwick Davis returned to the role of Willow Ufgood in the series, there’s no sign of Val Kilmer’s Madmartigan, who played such an integral role in the film. During the global press conference for the upcoming series, Willow writer and executive producer Jon Kasdan talked about how Madmartigan’s absence helped shape the series into its final form.
For Kasdan, the absence of the original film’s co-lead wasn’t a roadblock so much as the way to expand on his story by showing the impact it had on others, including his two children Kit and Airk, played by Ruby Cruz and Dempsey Bryk, respectively.
It was always sort of going to be, right at the core of the story we were, we were telling. And it really had to be… but because we were telling a story that had so many young characters, and they were all sort of searching for their identity, the search for Madmartigan, and the question of what had happened to him was right at the heart of the story we were telling. And we knew that it would be woven into this quest in a fundamental way, really, to see where he was and what had become of him, and what he’d given up. Particularly for Ruby’s character, Kit, and for Dempsey’s character, Airk, in order to do good.Jon Kasdan
Both Kit and Airk have taken their father’s near life-long absence from their lives very differently and when your father is the legendary Madmartigan, the hole left by his absence is a big one. Indeed according to Kasdan, it’s something the young heroes will deal with for the entire season.
And that question sort of follows the whole season. And we always knew that we sort of wanted to pay it off in one way or another, and we had a lot of ideas about ways to pay it off and ways to leave it open.Jon Kasdan
Though he’s not in the series, the tales of his deeds and adventures certainly play a large role thanks, in part, to the addition of a new character to the franchise. Amar Chada-Patel plays Thraxus Boorman, a warrior who shared an adventure or two with the Daikini Lady Lover and who Kasdan says was created out of need when Kilmer wasn’t able to be on set. And according to Kasdan, it provided an unexpected boost to the series.
And one thing that happened, because Val himself wasn’t able to come out to Wales and work with us, was that we were a- we added this texture of a friend of Madmartigan’s, who could give us some clues about his whereabouts. And… and deepened the mystery around what happened to him, in a way that only actually extended the story we were already telling. So it was very satisfying, and it sort of prevented… it provided an opportunity for us to add a whole new element that we didn’t expect to the show.Jon Kasdan
Fans of Kilmer’s character shouldn’t despair at the star’s absence from the series, however, According to Kasdan, he and Davis are just as eager for his return as fans.
Madmartigan is still out there, I mean, I have had many conversations with everyone involved, and our feeling is, he is, he is out there to be found, should the day arrive. And I think Warwick and I would both love to see him pick up that sword again.Jon Kasdan
Where is Madmartigan? What took him away from his family? Find out when Willow begins streaming November 30th on Disney Plus.