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‘Willow’ Episode 1: All About That Big Reveal

Willow (Warwick Davis) stands in the forest with a staff.

Willow on Disney Plus brings back some beloved characters from the original Willow movie in the ’80s, but it also introduces a whole new cast of characters—including Dove (Ellie Bamber), a doe-eyed kitchen maid living in the castle at Tir Asleen. But it turns out that Dove has a huge (and, um, kind of predictable) secret! Let’s get into it.

Major spoilers for Episode 1 ahead! You’ve been warned.

All about Dove

Sweet, good Dove! You only want the best for this one! When we first meet Dove, she’s tumbling in the grass with Prince Airk (Dempsey Bryk), who claims that he loves her. She’s so convinced that he’s the real deal—even though, as Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz) finds out, Airk calls her “Dove” because he doesn’t even know her real name—that when he’s kidnapped, she sneaks out of the castle so that she can join Kit and the others on their rescue mission.

When she catches up to them, though, she proves that she’s not all gauzy innocence. When Kit taunts her, asking if she’s ever been in an actual fight, Dove shoots back with, “No. Have you?” For an aspiring warrior like Kit, that’s a stinging blow, and the group decides that Dove has enough mettle to join them. Plus, she can cook a mean possum stew.

When the group arrives at Willow (Warwick Davis)’s home, he instantly recognizes Dove, and magically reveals the mark on her arm that signifies her true identity. He tells her that she’s Elora Danan, high priestess and true empress of Tir Asleen, and the only one who can defeat the coming evil.

Of course, if you never saw the original Willow, that all might sound like gobbledegook. Yeah, the prologue gives us a quick refresher on who Elora is and why we should care about her, but here’s more info if you really want to dig into the Willow lore.

Who is Elora Danan?

First off, if you’ve never seen the original movie … what are you doing!? Go watch it! It’s on Disney Plus! Seriously, it’s so much fun! Val Kilmer is so ridiculously hot! Kids these days, geez.

If you’re not going to watch it, or it’s just been awhile and you need a refresher, here’s a quick recap. The movie begins with the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda, who has heard a prophecy that a baby with a rune-shaped birthmark will bring about her downfall. Bavmorda imprisons all the pregnant people in the kingdom to see which baby bears the rune, but when the baby is born, her midwife smuggles her out of the castle and puts her in a raft in the river, where Willow’s kids find her.

Willow goes on a quest to to find a family to raise the baby. After the baby is kidnapped by brownies, the Faerie Queen saves her and tells Willow about her true identity as Elora Danan, princess of Tir Asleen. The Faerie Queen also seems to be able to communicate with Elora, pointing to Elora’s latent power as a sorceress.

The end of Willow makes it look like Sorsha (Joanne Whalley) and Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) are going to raise Elora as a daughter. However, in the first episode of the Willow series, we find out that they’ve decided to protect her by hiding her away as a servant, keeping her identity a secret from everyone, including her. Everyone in Tir Asleen knows the story of Elora Danan, but no one knows who—or where—she is.

Until Willow reveals her, that is.

So what’s next for Elora?

We can already see some magical potential in Elora, given that she crosses through the force field surrounding Tir Asleen unharmed. Plus, fate seems to have lined everything up to get her on that quest to rescue Prince Airk. Willow says she shouldn’t be there when he sees her with the others, but clearly the universe has other plans.

Is Elora still the mystical priestess who was able to talk to fairies as an infant? Will she be able to live up to her destiny? We’ll have to wait and see.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at linktr.ee/juliaglassman, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.