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Willow Writer-Producer Jon Kasdan Recalls The Deep Impact Willow Had On Him As A Kid - Exclusive

It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that the cinematic wonders produced by Lucasfilm were a huge part of "Willow" showrunner Jon Kasdan's life growing up. After all, by the time the youngest of the Kasdan filmmaking family was 2 years old, his father, Lawrence Kasdan, co-wrote the screenplay for "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back" and penned the script for the first Indiana Jones film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

As Lawrence Kasdan's career continued to soar with hit films like "Body Heat," "Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi," and "The Big Chill," Jon Kasdan began paving a moviemaking path of his own. One of the films that captured his imagination was the 1988 Lucasfilm classic "Willow," a fantasy adventure that introduced the world to the would-be sorcerer Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis). Charged with protecting an orphaned infant, Elora Danan, from the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) because the child is destined to end her reign, Willow proved that everybody in the world has the strength and fortitude to become a hero.

The series "Willow," now streaming on Disney+, picks up 20 years after the events of the 1988 film, where Bavmorda's daughter, Queen Sorsha (Joanne Whalley, reprising her role from the original), rules over the Kingdom of Tir Asleen. The kingdom's peaceful existence is disrupted, though, when one of her twin children with the now absent Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), Prince Airk (Dempsey Bryk), is kidnapped, leading to the formation of a fellowship to find him. Crucial to the mission is Willow — if they can find him, since he left the kingdom years before.

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Kasdan recalled how important the original "Willow" film was to him as a young boy and why the timing was right to bring the beloved character back with the new series.

Willow made Kasdan realize 'the enormous power and scale' of movies

Jon Kasdan told Looper that he was 8 years old the first time he saw "Willow" in a theater, and it provided a crucial moment in his moviegoing life that he will never forget.

"It was one of my early recollections of being in a movie theater and the enormous power and scale that movies can have, [which can be] overwhelming and often terrifying," Kasdan recalled. "That imprinted on me very strongly, and the imagery, the comedy, and the romance — it all stuck with me because it was the golden age of VHS and home video and rental. That was a movie that you kept coming back to again and again. By the time I was a teenager, I could quote most of that movie to you, and it was something I adored."

Oddly enough, the worlds of two different Lucasfilm productions collided in 2018 when Jon and Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote the screenplay for "Solo: A Star Wars Story," which ended up being directed by Ron Howard, who had directed "Willow" 30 years before. Before too long, the creatives started exploring a way they could bring "Willow" back with Warwick Davis, a "Star Wars" favorite who, luckily for Kasdan and Howard, also had a role in "Solo."

"As the years went by and I found the opportunity to work with Lucasfilm and Warwick Davis himself," the writer-producer told Looper, "what you could see in Warwick is that he had only matured as a comedian, as an actor, and as a face that's handsome and studly. There was no question in anyone's mind — including his — that more 'Willow' was in the offing."

Also starring Ellie Bamber, Tony Revolori, Amar Chadha-Patel, and Erin Kellyman, "Willow" is streaming exclusively on Disney+, with new episodes premiering every Wednesday through January 11.