This fantasy adventure series was produced by Lucasfilm and Imagine Entertainment and was written as a sequel to the 1988 film of the same name. The series told the story of a group of six unlikely heroes who set off to battle their inner demons and save the world 20 years after the defeat of Queen Bavmorda. Unfortunately for fans of the show, Disney+’s Willow was cancelled after just one season.
Somewhere in an unnamed fantasy world Queen Bavmorda learns that a child with a rune birthmark will bring her downfall. Unfortunately for her, any attempts to kill this child are thwarted, and she kills the child’s mother and midwife in retaliation.
Meanwhile, the child is taken in by Willow, a farmer and aspiring sorcerer tasked with returning the baby girl to her people after a Nockmaar attacks his village. Along the way, he learns that the baby’s name is Elora (the foretold Princess) and receives help from a pair of brownies, a mercenary named Madmartigan and an ageing Enchantress named Fin Raziel.
Queen Bavmorda’s daughter, Sorsha, falls for Madmartigan and helps in the war against her mother. But, just when all hope seems lost, Willow uses a sleight-of-hand trick which causes Bavmorda to banish herself from the world accidentally.
Elora is left to be raised by Madmartigan and Sorsha, and Willow returns to his village.
The movie was designed to be something both kids and their parents could enjoy, but the showrunners ignored the old film’s charm completely. Instead, the series feels like it tried to create a CW-style teen romance while not really understanding modern teen audiences, and the result is rather disappointing.
The tone of the series is very different to the original movie. While the film was about a father, a troublesome swordsman and a pair of brownies protecting a baby, the series had five characters all around the same age discovering themselves as they go on adventures.
The soundtrack wasn’t any better and further drove home the idea that the showrunner had no idea who they were making the series for. They replaced James Horner’s unique fantasy score with a soundtrack utterly devoid of character and topped a few modern rock songs that make no sense in a fantasy world.
At some points during the series, it feels like the creators forgot it was supposed to be set in a fantasy world. While the magical effects were okay and can mostly be forgiven, the costumes are irredeemably bad. In addition, the show completely ignores the film’s charming blend of European with a touch of Asian fantasy.
The worst part about all of this is that the film series had the building blocks to make something fantastic. Ellie Bamber did a great job as Elora, and many of the characters could have been interesting, but the writers added no depth to them. Amar Chadha-Patel’s Boorman is the worst offender.