Anyone who has a pulse can see that the 80’s are very en vouge currently. If a movie isn’t ripping off the 80’s visual tropes, then they’re literally just re-inventing a previously broken franchise for the current generation.
When surveying the annals of 80’s films that are ripe for re-imagining or sequelization it doesn’t take one long to get to the 1988 fantasy masterpiece Willow. The film is produced by George Lucas, directed by Ron Howard and starring Warwick Davis. To say that the film is a classic is an understatement. Willow isn’t as massive a cultural phenomenon as, say, Star Wars, but it has a devoted legion of fans.
Willow, for those of you who haven’t seen it, follows the classic heroes journey of a Willow Ufgood, a dwarven sorcerer, as he attempts to protect an infant from an evil Queen. The film also features a memorable performance from future-batman and Top Gun star Val Kilmer.
When the film was initially released it did moderately well. It received mixed reviews and performed fairly well at the box office. However, over the decades the film has gained a cult following.
Willow seems perfectly positioned to be remake/sequel/whatever franchise.
The question is why hasn’t it already happened? Does Lucas not want it to come to fruition? Is Warwick Davis too old to reprise his role as Willow? In 2005, Davis and Lucas said that they’d love to have a new installment in the willow story. At that time they were thinking of a television series.
In lue of the popularity of Game of Thrones, which also features a much beloved little person, there seems like no time like the present to bring back Willow.
Willow was successful because it was a straight ahead fantasy film. In an age filled with irony and sarcasm, Willow’s honesty and innocence filtered through the high fantasy lens would be quite refreshing.
As for the story? I have a few ideas.
Willow: The Television Series Version One
West Wing Meets Conan which gives way to high fantasy Five Days of the Condor.
It’s simple. Willow is a court sorcerer. He’s the Merlin of the series. He’s responsible for assisting a young, idealistic king in dealing with his corrupt kingdom. Halfway through the first season there’s a coup de ta and Willow and the young king must go on the run. The young king and Willow must rally support for their cause and attempt to take back the kingdom.
Willow: The Television Series Version Two
The Hills Have Eyes Meets The Centurion
Willow is now old and broken. He’s a desperately poor sorcerer. His glory days are over. He’s now destitute and a maybe he has a drinking problem. A mysterious figure appears in the bar that he frequents and says ‘We need your help’. A group of mystical cannibals has taken over a small town and they townspeople want to hire mercenaries to kill them. Needless to say, one of the additional mercenaries is Madmartigan. They team up and attempt to defeat the cannibals. Think Seven Samurai with a fantasy twist.
Willow: The Television Series Version 3
Karate Kid meets Lord of the Rings
A young aspiring sorcerer seeks out Willow and asks him to help him train to defend his village from fantastical creatures. The premise would be pretty simple. Willow is the Mr Miyagi and the new character would be the Daniel. Throw in some otherworldly douchebags and you’ve got yourself a show.
If there ever was a time to make a Willow sequel, it most certainly is now.