Breaking News - The Return of Willow Ufgood...
How many of us remember the adventures of brave Nelwyn dwarf, Willow Ufgood?
George Lucas and Ron Howard's 1988 fantasy adventure "Willow" introduced us to a magical world where biblical stories intertwined with western mythology to lead an unlikely hero on a difficult and dangerous quest.
The fantastic movie posters for Willow, artwork by John Alvin
Conceived by George Lucas in the early 1970's (and originally titled "Munchkins"), it would take a decade for technology to develop far enough to bring Lucas' vision to the screen. It would also take the discovery of a special actor to bring the story's hero to life.
British actor Warwick Davis was an eleven year old Star Wars fan when his grandmother heard a radio advert calling for short actors to audition for an upcoming movie. Basing the mannerisms of his Ewok character on those of an inquisitive dog, this young actor impressed Lucas enough to be given the role of 'Wicket' in "Return of the Jedi", the final instalment of the original Star Wars trilogy. Lucas would also approach him to play the role of 'Willow Ufgood' in a new film project.
It would be a further five years before that came to fruition, with Lucas signing rising star director Ron Howard (he had directed 1984's "Splash" and 1985's "Cocoon" in the previous years) to bring his new world to the big screen.
The resulting movie, "Willow" (1988) saw Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley star alongside Davis in a magical tale that would earn two Oscar nominations for its cutting-edge visual and sound effects.
Warwick Davis as Willow Ufgood (credit: Lucasfilm)
The film is a firm favourite of many who were youngsters at the time of its release, so after years of speculation, hints, suggestions and rumours, we were delighted to read Disney's recent press release announcing...
"The magical world of George Lucas’ “Willow,” the epic fantasy adventure set in an age of swords, sorcery, myths and monsters, will be returning in a Disney+ series slated to begin production next year."
Ron Howard returns as Executive Producer and original screen writer Bob Dolman as Consulting Producer. With Jon M. Chu directing the pilot. Most exciting of all, Willow Ufgood returns, played of course by Warwick Davis!
“So many fans have asked me over the years if Willow will make a return, and now I’m thrilled to tell them that he will indeed,” says Davis. “Many have told me they grew up with ‘Willow’ and that the film has influenced how they view heroism in our own world. If Willow Ufgood can represent the heroic potential in all of us, then he is a character I am extremely honoured to reprise.”
The incredible cinematography of season 2 of The Mandalorian has shown us how much money and talent Disney is prepared to invest in its new flagship TV programmes. If the beautiful trailer for the 2012 remastering of Willow is anything to by, we are in for a real treat...
Development has already begun in Wales, where a lot of the original movie was filmed.
Exciting. We can't wait!
Adam and the Art of the Movies team.