It’s hard to describe the effect the movie Willow had on me as a kid. It was a story of adventure, and fit well into that key demographic of 1980s adventure movies like Labyrinth or Krull. It gave us ridiculously fun performances from Warrick Davis and Val Kilmer, not to mention one of the funniest fights between two old women ever filmed. Don’t believe me, go check it out. That movie has stayed with me for years and not long along I rewatched it with my kids who really liked it too, albeit they did have some minor complaints about the CGI.
Warrick Davis and Joanne Walley return in the new Disney Plus series Willow, which picks up at least a decade after the original movie. Queen Sorsha and her children Arik and Kit rule the lands and Nemener sorcerer Willow lives peacefully with his family not far from the castle. After a group of Gales (evil beings which some epic sinister makeup) attack the castle, Willow and a rag-tag group of anti-heroes head out on a mission to rescue Sorsha’s son Arik from his prison.
Willow is a Disney Plus series and sequel set in the same universe and while I initially thought it could never capture the nostalgia and magic of the first film, it comes pretty close. First, let’s start with the cast. Joanne Walley returning is a fascinating move and of course, she’s changed, now as a mother of two who never quite gets to enjoy her surroundings. Sorsha feels the pull of the evil beings that wish to harm her children and while she used to be a powerful warrior, time and age have taken a toll on her skills.
Warrick Davis as Willow is similar. Willow is older and has a better handle on his sorcerer powers and by the third episode, viewers get a look at how far he’s come in his practice. The group also consists of Erin Kellyman as Jade, Tony Revolori as Graydon (Kit’s betrothed), and Amar Chadha-Pate as Boorman bringing some extra emotion and humor to the show.
Getting down to the meat of the series, it’s a wonderful adventure tale that harkens back to the adventures of the past. It’s much more modern too with a queer couple and a respectful representation of dwarfism and really works to balance the previous story with a brand new mission for our rag-tag band of misfits.