Warwick Davis is set to reprise the titular character on Disney+’s Willow TV show, but Val Kilmer’s Madmartigan needs to appear as well. Released in 1988, Willow was a dark fantasy movie that served as an early effort in the storied directorial career of Ron Howard, who would go on to direct hits like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. If having Howard behind the camera wasn’t enough, Willow‘s script – by Bob Dolman – was based on a story idea by Star Wars maestro George Lucas, who also produced.
While Willow is remembered fondly by many nowadays, it actually wasn’t received that warmly by critics at the time, who gave it a mixed reception. Willow did well financially though, bringing in $137.6 million on a budget of only $35 million, a huge return on investment. Willow then earned even more cash via merchandising, starring in video games, board games, novel spinoffs, and more. Weirdly though, no other onscreen follow-ups to Willow ever materialized in the 30-plus years since its release.
That changes in 2022, when a Willow TV series is set to debut on the Disney+ streaming service. Ron Howard is on board as an executive producer through his Imagine Entertainment company, while Kathleen Kennedy represents Lucasfilm. There are only a few scant plot details available about Willow‘s TV return, but confirmed for sure is that original star Warwick Davis will be reprising the title role. For the show to truly pay homage to its source material, though, Val Kilmer‘s Madmartigan needs to appear.
To be sure, Davis’ Willow was – as the title of the movie would suggest – the main character of the story, and is certainly the most important piece needed to continue the franchise. Yet, Kilmer’s Madmartigan, a formerly prestigious warrior who ended up disgraced after his refusal to conform and ability to earn the ire of others led to a nefarious plot against him, is the source of so much of Willow‘s sense of fun and adventure. Madmartigan may be a bit of a scoundrel when Willow first meets him, but the unlikely bond the two form also lies near the heart of Willow’s tale.
Bringing back Willow for a Disney+ TV show without any involvement from Kilmer’s Madmartigan would be a mistake, especially since Kilmer – coming off an acclaimed documentary about his tumultuous life and career – is experiencing a resurgence in attention. Kilmer is already set to reprise his role in Top Gun: Maverick too, so it’s not like he’s persona non grata in Hollywood either. While Kilmer’s various health issues may make it unfeasible for Madmartigan to have a big presence in the Willow series, even a short cameo reuniting the character with his old heroic friend would no doubt make fans smile from ear to ear. If Madmartigan does return though, one wonders if Sorsha will be there alongside him.