Willow: Jon M. Chu No Longer Directing Series Due to COVID Reschedule

The last time we checked in on Disney+'s Willow sequel revival, we were learning the names of three new members joining the cast. Unfortunately on Monday, we learned that Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) is having to step away from directing the pilot for showrunners Jonathan Kasdan (Solo) and Wendy Mericle's (Arrow) series. The combination of new lockdown procedures in place in the UK and a new baby on the way have made working on the project impossible, with Chu's post on Facebook confirming the news. That said, Chu wants Willow fans to know that things are still in great hands. "Like a kid seeing Willow for the first time in the '80s, I will look forward to watching this magical new world unfold as a very enthusiastic fan. And boy do they have an adventure in store for you! I can't wait for you all to experience it soon," Chu wrote (and you can read the full post below):

Willow logo (Image: TWDC)
Willow logo (Image: TWDC)

WILLOW UPDATE: I'm heartbroken to let you all know that I unfortunately have to step away from directing Willow. With the production schedule moving due to continued lockdowns in the UK, and with a new baby coming this summer (surprise!), the timing is just not going to work for me and my family.

As you may know, Willow has been one of my favorite movies since I was a child, so I'm devastated that I won't be able to work with some of my heroes old and new like Kathy, Ron, Jon, Wendy, Michelle, and the amazing cast and crew they've put together. Like a kid seeing Willow for the first time in the '80s, I will look forward to watching this magical new world unfold as a very enthusiastic fan. And boy do they have an adventure in store for you! I can't wait for you all to experience it soon.

Much love, and take care of each other during these fast-changing times,

Jon M. Chu

Willow
A scene from Willow (Image: Disney)

Reportedly focusing on the group's mission to save a prince, Willow features Ellie Bamber's (Nocturnal Animals) Dove, an unassuming kitchen maid who proves that she is the "chosen one" as she embarks on the journey. Cailee Spaeny's (The Craft: Legacy) Kit is the princess whose twin brother was abducted, destined to be a leader and ultimately the queen. Erin Kellyman's (Solo) Jade is a servant who is also Kit's best friend and moral compass- and on her way to becoming the best young warrior in the kingdom. The three join Warwick Davis, who is set to return to the role of Willow Ufgood. Original film writer Bob Dolman serves as a consulting producer, with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan executive producing. Howard's Imagine Television will produce, with Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman serving as co-executive producers on behalf of the company; Julia Cooperman will produce.

While far from a box office failure, the Davis-Val Kilmer (Heat) starrer would earn only $110M on a $35M budget. At a time when budgets for films were nowhere close to where they are today, a $35M investment was expected to yield deeper profits than Willow earned. There's still no word on if the new series will utilize George Lucas and Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont's trilogy of novels as source material for the pilot: 1995's Shadow Moon, 1996's Shadow Dawn, and 1999's Shadow Star.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.

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