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‘Willow’ Brings Everyone Into the Magic of the Original Without Excluding New Viewers

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

Starting the Disney+ series Willow might feel daunting if you’re not familiar with the original film but rest assured that the television show does a great job of opening its arms to new and old fans alike. The series, which dropped its premiere on Disney+ today, is an expansion of the world we saw Willow (Warwick Davis) and Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) explore in the movie, and it walks the delicate line between honoring the story that came before it and standing completely on its own.

The story brings us Willow through the children of Madmartigan and Sorsha (Joanne Whalley). Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Arik (Dempsey Bryk) are both trapped in the “royal” life that neither seems to really want. When Arik is kidnapped, Kit and Jade (Erin Kellyman), a knight-in-training and Kit’s love interest, are sent on a mission to find him. The mission creates palpable tension as the two try to hide their feelings for each other from those around them, including Kit’s betrothed Graydon (Tony Revolori) and Arik’s girlfriend Dove (Ellie Bamber).

In the search for Arik, they’re led to Willow, a sorcerer, who Sorsha says can help them. It’s a journey of magic, hope, and determination that leads us into the fantastic world of Willow.

A fun time for all

At the core of Willow is still the magic of the original film but it also is a story about love. Whether it is sibling love between Arik and Kit and Kit’s desire to find her brother, or Kit and Jade’s feelings for each other, the show finds a perfect balance between the magic elements pushing the story forward and the love stories getting their own time.

And yes, it’s pretty amazing getting to go on this journey with Kit and Jade and see two women who are clearly in love with each other in a Disney property. With Kit set to marry Graydon and the two women continuing to shy away from their feelings, their relationship goes through a lot of ups and downs and growth throughout the seven episodes I saw. It is just a fantastic journey for both characters.

Not a Willow fan yet? Don’t worry!

Willow was not on my radar until recently. I just watched the movie for the first time and realized my mistakes because it ruled, but if you just want to head into the series without seeing the movie, that is okay too. The series does a pretty great job of establishing what happened and moving forward without requiring you to be familiar with everything there is to know about Willow as a whole.

It is an easy world to get into because most of the characters we’re meeting are completely new. They have connections back to Sorsha and Madmartigan—and Willow is obviously here—but I think that our collective love for Warwick Davis can carry you into an understanding of the series without having to be an expert on Willow to enjoy it.

The series is just … fun. It’s hard to explain past that without getting into spoilers but every character we meet along the journey is rich and fully developed and someone I could watch an entire series about. I can’t wait to see where the end of Willow takes us.

(image: Lucasfilm)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.