The live-action fantasy series, set 20 years after the events of the original 1988 cult hit film, has been axed by the streamer after just one season.
We sense some dark magic afoot. Willow, the live-action fantasy adventure series based on the 1988 cult film, premiered on Disney+ November 30, 2022 and ran until January 2023. However, just two months after the first season wrapped, Variety confirms the whimsical series will not be back for a second season.
The series balanced a “modern sensibility” with a classical fantasy backdrop, taking place some 20 years after the events of the original film. Warwick Davis reprised his role as the sorcerer Willow Ufgood, was joined by Ruby Cruz, Erin Kellyman, Ellie Bamber, Tony Revolori, Amar Chadha-Patel, Dempsey Bryk, and Joanne Whalley.
The official synopsis from Disney+ describes the series as, “[Willow] began with an aspiring magician from a Nelwyn village and an infant girl destined to unite the realms, who together helped destroy an evil queen and banish the forces of darkness. Now, in a magical world where brownies, sorcerers, trolls, and other mystical creatures flourish, the adventure continues, as an unlikely group of heroes set off on a dangerous quest to places far beyond their home, where they must face their inner demons and come together to save their world.”
The reasons behind the cancellation are still a mystery to critics, but not necessarily to viewers. While Willow garnered an 83% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the average audience score sits at a troubling 66%, just 6 points away from a “rotten” review. Adding to the opinion divide, critic Joshua Alston described the show as a, “perfect balance of reverence and irreverence is what immediately catapults ‘Willow’ to the upper echelon of Disney+ series,” in a previous review,
Willow is executive produced by Jonathan Kasdan, Ron Howard, Wendy Mericle, Kathleen Kennedy, and Michelle Rejwan. Visual effects for Season 1 were produced by a number of studios including ILM, Image Engine, and SSVFX.