EXCLUSIVE: Ruby Cruz (Castle Rock) has landed the female co-lead opposite Ellie Bamber and Erin Kellyman in Willow, Disney+ and Lucasfilm’s upcoming TV series follow-up to the 1988 fantasy movie, with the film’s star Warwick Davis reprising his title role, I have learned. She replaced Cailee Spaeny, who had been originally tapped for the role, after an extensive recasting process. Lucasfilm declined comment.
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The new incarnation of Willow, which also co-stars Tony Revolori, comes from Jonathan Kasdan, who wrote the pilot and serves as co-showrunner alongside Wendy Mericle; the original film’s director Ron Howard and writer Bob Dolman; as well as Lucasfilm, which produced the movie. Jonathan Entwistle is directing.
The Willow movie, written by Dolman from a story by George Lucas, starred Davis as a reluctant farmer who leads a ragtag crew on a quest to protect a special baby from a tyrannical queen who vows to destroy her. The series takes place years after the events of the film. It introduces all-new characters to the enchanted realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters, and welcomes back its hero Willow Ufgood (Davis).
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No additional details about the series’ storyline have been released. According to circulated casting information for the series, it revolves around a group on a mission to save a kidnapped prince. The members of the team include Dove (Bamber), an unassuming kitchen maid who proves she is the “chosen one” as she embarks on the journey. She is joined by Kit (Cruz), the princess whose twin brother was abducted. Kit is destined to be a leader and ultimately the queen. Kellyman plays Jade, a servant who is Kit’s best friend and moral compass.
Executive producing the series are Kasdan, Mericle, Howard and Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan. Dolman is a consulting producer. Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman are co-executive producers; Julia Cooperman is a producer.
Willow is slated to film in Wales, where much of the original film was shot.
Cruz previously starred in another TV adaptation of a cult 1980s movie; she played the female lead in the 2019 CW pilot The Lost Boys, a version of Jami Gertz’s character from the 1987 film. Cruz is best known for playing a young Lizzy Kaplan on the second season of Hulu’s Castle Rock. She next will be seen in HBO Max’s Mare of Easttown with Kate Winslet. Cruz is repped by Leigh Brillstein Management and CESD.
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