All eight episodes of Willow are now streaming on Disney+, and the all-new sequel series, based on George Lucas' 1988 fantasy-adventure movie of the same name, has been a hit with fans.
The show premiered last November, and features the return of the iconic Nelwyn sorcerer played by Warwick Davis, years after he rescued the infant empress Elora Danan. Leading a group of misfit heroes on a harrowing rescue mission through a world beyond imagination, what follows is an action-packed fantastical adventure.
The epic finale premiered last Wednesday, and we recently caught up with writer and executive producer Jon Kasdan to discuss all of the biggest surprises and reveals. Those include that jaw-dropping final scene, the big season 2 (and 3) tease in the episode's credits, the Kimerian Cuirass' debut, and Val Kilmer's return as Madmartigan.
Jon also discusses Christian Slater's scene-stealing cameo as Allagash, confirming that there's a good reason we never actually saw the character die.
Check out our spoiler-filled interview with Jon below!
I think we have to start by discussing the epic final scene; can you tell us if that’s the Wyrm disguised as Elora and whether the vision Willow thought was of the future, may have actually been what Graydon has come face-to-face with there?
Yes, it’s a statement of the Wyrm’s intention for a future that is very much possible. I think the proposition and, I hope, the implication of that final moment is that this version of Elora can exist in a very real way and that the Wyrm is employing Graydon to that end. What I loved about the finale is that Ellie communicates such a journey through the course of the season, but specifically in eight when you see her flirting with her anger and desire and all of her darker impulses so beautifully. When she looks back at the city, I think there’s something calling to her, and when you see that version at the end, I hope people think that’s a very possible outcome for that character.
That shot of "Elora" standing tall and surrounded by those creatures must have been an absolutely epic visual to put together - did you always know you wanted to end on that note?
From very early on, we knew that was where we were heading and with the promise of more stories this could potentially lead to a real exploration of this character’s sides. One of the things that is so interesting and fun about the character is that she’s such a symbol of light. Your impulse as a writer is to want to expose that to darkness in every conceivable way and see how we can put that light in the most jeopardy possible. One of the burdens of a series over a movie, and I see Star Wars battling with this, is when George made the first of these movies with all his various franchises, there was such simplicity to them. There was light and dark and it was as simple as that, but when you’re building out a series over multiple episodes and seasons, you certainly have to complicate it and the meaning of those things.
For those who stick around through the credits, we see this was the end of Volume I and there’s still a Volume II and III; is that a pretty good indication you have a three-season arc mapped out for this story?
It certainly is an indication, absolutely! That’s the hope and I think of these stories very much in terms of movie shapes of three acts. You want to be able to go somewhere much darker with the second act and give you a resolution by the end. I like it when the storytellers in these situations are declaring their intention is not to go on as long as someone is going to pay them to [Laughs], but that they have a story they really want to tell and that it will last a certain amount of time. We certainly had that and that’s what drove us. We wanted those books to sit on the shelf alongside other books that contain other strange materials. Who knows?
We hear more of Val Kilmer’s Madmartigan in the finale; can you talk about the process of making that voice cameo a reality and was anything more than that ever considered similar to what we’ve seen in The Mandalorian?
Sure, that’s something that is very interesting to me. One of the things I think was interesting about the way Luke has been done in The Mandalorian is that he’s getting better. They keep getting better at doing it, and it’s inspiring and exciting. I’m excited to see what Mangold is doing with Indiana Jones in the summer as I think that will be another evolution of how technology meets this legacy filmmaking in a fun way.
For our purposes, we had the good fortune of Val’s documentary, Val, having been released while we were shooting. Similarly to us, they used Jack Kilmer to help recreate Val’s voice and, alongside it, developed this A.I. technology for Val specifically as a means to help him speak. We talked to that team and got them to provide us with a version of the program so we could incorporate Val’s natural sound into what we were doing. On top of it, we had Val himself read all the lines so he could be a guide in terms of rhythm and performance. It’s nice. Ruby and Dempsey have such a kinship to the character and we’re so invested in it emotionally, it was a really nice thing to give Kit that moment with her father that she’s so yearning for the whole season and him kicking her ass out the door at the end felt like the right role for him.
Something I have to ask because I know people are desperate for more - do you think we could see more of Christian Slater as Allagash as we didn’t technically see him perish, right?
Absolutely [he could come back]. The rule of thumb at Lucasfilm is that if you don’t see them decapitated, they’re probably out there somewhere. Their torso is dragging itself along somewhere. In Christian’s case, it was very intentional we would not see that character die or what happened to him because if we know anything about Allagash, it’s that he's a survivor and that he will always get out somehow. I love that about him.
The Kimerian Cuirass is revealed in all its splendour in the finale, and I know a lot of fans expected Jade to end up with that, but was it always Kit for you?
It was always Kit and it was always about the legacy of Madmartigan. It felt like in dealing with stories, as George’s work so often does, that are generational, the thing he could pass down to her...at the beginning of the season, she has a very clear idea in her head about her dad stepping and walking away from his responsibility, with the revelation being that it was out of responsibility that he did and that she would assume it for him felt like the natural shape of the thing forever.
All episodes of Willow are now streaming on Disney+.