Madmartigan with his shirt open in Willow

Yes I Am 36 Years Late but We Need To Talk About One of Val Kilmer’s Hottest Roles

Look, I know. I get it. I don’t know why I never watched it before, but I have now righted that wrong. I’m talking about watching Willow for the first time. And so this is to the shock of no one who had seen the movie beforehand, but I am now obsessed with Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Madmartigan, and I just need a space to talk about how absolutely hot he was in the movie.

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Directed by Ron Howard and written by George Lucas and Bob Dolman, the movie took us into the world of Willow (Warwick Davis), who is sent on a quest to protect Elora from the queen, and gives us a fantasy story mixed with a bit of romance (thanks to Madmartigan and Joanne Whalley’s Sorsha) that has left me, as an adult, wishing this were something I obsessed over as a kid.

But I guess maybe it’s for the better that I didn’t see this growing up because my Val Kilmer obsession would have been ten times worse because oh my goodness is Madmartigan a lot.

This is a Madmartigan safe space

madmartigan in willow
(Lucasfilm)

Is it because he’s sort of a Han Solo type? Yes, completely. Madmartigan and Sorsha’s music even sounds similar to that of Han and Leia’s songs from the Star Wars franchise but hey, if it works, it works. And sure, if Madmartigan were played by Harrison Ford, I probably would have had a similar reaction, but we got a chaotic and charismatic Val Kilmer instead, and it’s beautiful to see play out.

The first time you meet him, he’s locked in a cage and is trying to bargain his way out, and with each new moment of Madmartigan in the movie, he’s just causing chaos while trying to help Willow. But it really is his love for Sorsha that makes Madmartigan go from someone I can see is attractive to a character that I would marry in a heartbeat.

Willow works even if you’re an adult

Part of my fear with watching Willow as an adult was that the magic would be gone. I have seen so many of my friends watch classic ’80s movies I know and love and not like them in the same way I did because they watched them as adults. I’m talking about films like The Goonies that are a staple of my childhood but maybe don’t carry over into adulthood for those who didn’t have a love of them before.

That fear was almost instantly gone with Willow, though, and I was fully on board with (then) teenage Warwick Davis having a whole family and being magical. I was invested and I cared about what was going on and yes, I watched it finally because I wanted to be prepared for the television show but also it just shows the beauty and staying power of Willow that you can fall in love with this world at any age.

Well, this world and Madmartigan but you get the picture.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.