After several statements that the Disney+ series Willow would be canceled after one season, viewers and critics are relieved to hear that the show is actually being delayed for a year, not scrapped. Willow is a spin-off television series made by Lucasfilm based on the 1988 film of the same name. The story follows the dangerous adventures of six unlikely heroes as they face personal battles and save their world.
When announcements first came that the Disney+ reboot Willowwould be canceled, many fans were deeply upset. The choice didn’t make too much sense, as the series proved successful and well-liked by audiences and critics alike. Luckily, Willow’s creators have confirmed that the show will continue after a brief hiatus, so that cast members can take on other projects. Willow creator Jonathan Kasdan clarified the situation in a tweet saying, “Due to forces much larger and more intricate than I would ever pretend to fully understand…Willow won’t resume filming in the next 12 months.” This delay is a much happier decision considering the many reasons it should not be canceled.
6 Willow Season 1 Was A Success
One of the strongest reasons why it wouldn’t make sense to cancel Willow is that, in terms of ratings, the series did very well. According to several streaming aggregators including JustWatch and Whip Media’s TV Time, Willow spent seven weeks in the top ten most streamed series across all popular TV streaming platforms in the United States. During the week of December 5th, 2022, Willow was the 3rd most streamed show in the country and placed 5th or 6th for the following six weeks. These statistics show that the series not only had a vast audience but also a lasting one. In this way, Willow succeeded in garnering viewers.
Additionally, Willow was well-received by its viewers. Though not everyone loved the modern twist on the 1988 film, the series received mostly positive reviews from critics. In particular, Willow earned an 86% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a 70 out of 100 by Metacritic with a total of 22 reviews. For everyday viewers, the series may start out on rocky ground, but eventually finds its footing with an energetic cast and self-aware comedy steeped deeply in the fantasy genre and the original source material.
5 Willow Fits The Modern Streaming Nostalgia Trend
Another aspect of the Willow TV show that makes it successful and unfit for cancelation is its nostalgia factor. Hollywood is knee-deep in revivals and reboots, and while this may not be audiences’ favorite trend, it still works well for countless series and films. In this way, Willow is no different. The series’ base material, the 1988 Willow, is a beloved cult classic that is well-known enough to be brought back but niche enough to garner a brand-new, unaware audience. Not only that, Willow pulls on many great parts of the original film including its over-the-top high fantasy tropes and some of the original cast, including Warwick David as Willow Ufgood.
4 Willow Has Good LGBTQ+ Representation
A major detail of Willow that definitely kept fans invested in the series was the addition of an LGBTQ+ romance. Other Disney and Lucasfilm properties have included LGBTQ+ representation, but Willow is one of the first to be totally explicit about their queer characters. One of Willow’s main characters, Princess Kit Tanthalos has a female love interest throughout the series’ first season, her knight errant, Jade Claymore.
This relationship is a sweet addition to the show, but more importantly, offers some much-needed representation for LGBTQ+ kids and teens. Having Kit and Jade’s relationship be so clear is truly an achievement for Disney and Lucasfilm, and canceling the series after only one season would have been an immediate step back. Willow’s queer representation makes the show greater story-wise and also bolsters its success by bringing in a wide, diverse audience.
3 Willow Works For Both Kids & Adults
Something exciting about Willow that also boosts its success is its ability to cater to both young and old audiences. The series’ content is suitable for children and teens but also includes a fun, adventurous plot that can keep any adult invested as well. The show’s nostalgia is beneficial to adults whereas Willow’s new cast and characters cater to new, young viewers. In particular, Willow is great for families where the adults enjoyed the 1988 Willow and can pass down the tradition to their children. This aspect of the series makes it ideal for streaming on Disney+ which thrives on nostalgia and family-friendly content, making its potential cancelation a strange choice.
2 Willow Perfectly Expands On The Original Movie
While many franchise reboots can seem unnecessary, the original Willow movie created a world and story that could easily be expanded upon and explored further. So, with the Willow television series, the opportunity to continue the fantastical magic of the 1988 film has been enthusiastically taken. In this way, Willow is breathing new life into a beloved story with new characters, a new story, and exciting new details that let fans dive deeper into the world presented to them so many years ago.
What really makes Disney’s Willow different from other modern fantasy series is its faithfulness to the fantastical energy of the original film. Like the 1988 Willow, the series emphasizes the mildly confusing but fun tropes of high fantasy stories and includes the various twists and turns that characterized the original. Additionally, the series showcases old characters like Madmartigan and brings in or expands upon new ones such as Elora. Willow is successful in its reboot because it perfectly combines the original with the new to make a show for a large, unique audience.
1 Willow Season 2 Has The Potential To Be Even Better
The biggest upset to canceling Willow would have been the lost chance to have an even better Willow season 2. While season 1 was a success for viewers and critics, the opportunity to create a bigger and better second season is an enticing scenario. Willow season 2 would be able to continue the storylines left in the finale and give the characters a chance to really grow into themselves with new plots and stories. Plus, the show’s creators could use fans’ critics and opinions from Willow season 1 to develop an even better series. If Willow had been canceled, this potential may never have gotten a chance to be followed through on.
The hiatus on Willow is great news for those who fell in love with the spin-off series and is a logical decision for Disney+ and Lucasfilm. The Willow series seems to be a profitable and exciting project for the companies that could only get better and better with time. With any luck, the cancelation debacle will remain an unsupported rumor and Willow will get the chance to flourish.
More: 10 Classic Fantasy Shows & Movies Perfect For A Modern Sequel Like Willow