It appears “Willow’s” magic has already run out again. The Disney+ fantasy series, a sequel to the 1988 Ron Howard film of the same name, will not return for a second season, IndieWire has confirmed.
The news comes two months after the show, which premiered on November 30, concluded its eight-episode run on Disney+ in January. Like the film, “Willow” was produced by Lucasfilm, which has been one of the main drivers of content for Disney’s core streaming service through shows based on the “Star Wars” franchise; others include “The Mandalorian,” “The Book of Boba Fett,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” “Andor,” and the upcoming “Ahsoka,” “Skeleton Crew,” and “The Acolyte.”
Disney+ ended 2022 with 102.9 subscribers; another 61.3 million are in the ecosystem via Disney+ Hotstar.
The original ’80s film, which was directed by Ron Howard and executive produced by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, told the story of aspiring sorcerer Willow (Warwick Davis), as he embarked on a quest to defeat evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) before she murdered a baby prophesied to bring about her downfall. The sequel again stars Davis as Willow, this time on a new adventure to save a prince, leading a group of six heroes in the process. Other cast members included Ellie Bamber, Ruby Cruz, Erin Kellyman, Tony Revolori, Amar Chadha-Patel, and Dempsey Bryk.
“Willow” received relatively positive reviews when it initially debuted last fall, scoring 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. In his review for IndieWire, critic Steve Greene gave the show a “B-” rating, calling it a “messy fantasy story starter kit.” Greene wrote that “in visual, thematic, and spiritual ways, ‘Willow’ manages to carve out some room of its own that doesn’t feel connected to algorithmic genre expectations or the finer points of a plot from decades past.”
Jonathan Kasdan, whose prior credits include the screenplay for “Star Wars” spinoff “Solo,” wrote the “Willow” series pilot and co-showran with “Arrow” writer Wendy Mericle. Howard returned to executive produce the series with the original film’s screenwriter Bob Dolman, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, and Michelle Rejwan. Imagine Entertainment, Howard’s production company, produced the series for Disney+.
Deadline was the first outlet to report that “Willow” has ended its Disney+ run.