Willow: Kasdan Explains Val Kilmer Not Returning, Has Season 2 Hope

Willow fans across the world want Val Kilmer's Madmartigan to return more than anything, and the feeling's mutual from both the actor and creator Jon Kasdan, with both shoving love for one another on Twitter. "❤️ these two 'MADMEN' [Warwick A Davis] [Jon Kasdan] #willow [Disney Plus]," Kilmer quote tweeted. "The greatest swordsman that ever lived. Period. We love you too [Val Kilmer]," Kasdan responded.

Willow: Jon Kasdan on Val Kilmer's Failed S01 Return, Hopeful for S02
Val Kilmer in Willow (1988). Image courtesy of Lucasfilm / MGM / Disney

How Val Kilmer Almost Returned to Willow

It's been well-documented how much of a struggle it's been for Kilmer to appear until the production of season one of the Disney+ series wrapped. "We really wanted Val to come be in the show," Kasdan told Entertainment Weekly. "And Val really wanted to come out and be in the show. I remember going to see Val right after this thing started to get some momentum, and I said, 'Listen, we're doing this. And the whole world wants Madmartigan back.' And he was like, 'Not as much as I do.'"

willow
in Lucasfilm's WILLOW exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

While Kilmer was able to return as Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick, the actor and Kasdan were trying to work out Madmartigan's return since we last saw him in the 1988 Ron Howard film. "He embraced me when I left," Kasdan recalled. "He picked me up, and he said, 'See? I'm still super strong.' And I was like, 'Great.' We started building out the first season with the intent of having him appear. [It wasn't clear we couldn't get him] until pretty late in the process, frankly."

As planning was taking place, the COVID pandemic, on top of Kilmer's recovery from throat cancer, made it impossible for an appearance, "As COVID overtook the world, it became insurmountable," Kasdan said. "We were prepping in the spring of the year that it was most happening. And Val reluctantly didn't feel he could come out. We had to figure out a way to preserve the story we wanted to tell with him about how his story was playing out."

Should Disney+ renew Willow for a second season, plans remain in place for Kilmer to return. "We wanted to leave open the door to any possibility in the future and also honor the spirit of him," Kasdan says. "We've tried to do that and work with him in a way so that he is felt and heard, if not seen." Returning cast from the original film for the legacy sequel includes stars Warwick Davis (Willow Ufgood) and Joanne Whalley (Sorsha). The series, which also stars Ellie Bamber, Erin Kellyman, Ruby Cruz, Tony Revolori, and Amar Chadha-Patel, streams Wednesdays.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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