EXCLUSIVE: Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals), Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy) and Erin Kellyman (Solo) are in negotiations for the three female leads 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. The new incarnation of Willow comes from Jonathan Kasdan, who wrote the pilot and serves as co-showrunner alongside Wendy Mericle; Jon M. Chu, who will direct the pilot episode; the original film’s director Ron Howard and writer Bob Dolman; as well as Lucasfilm, which produced the movie. A rep for Disney+ declined comment.
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, which marks Lucasfilm’s first venture into non-Star Wars storytelling since 2015, will take 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).
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), whose backstory resembles that of Willow from the movie. Dove is an unassuming kitchen maid who proves she is the “chosen one” as she embarks on the journey. She is joined by Kit (Spaeny), the princess whose twin brother was abducted. She is destined to be a leader and ultimately the queen. Kellyman plays Jade, a servant who is Kit’s best friend and moral compass. She is on her way to becoming the best young warrior in the kingdom. Also part of the group is a guy who echoes Val Kilmer’s character in the movie. A thief and liar, he joins the quest in exchange for getting out of prison.
Chu serves as executive producer alongside 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.
The series is slated to film in Wales, where much of the original film was shot.
Willow reunites Kellyman with Lucasfilm, Kasdan and Howard after co-starring in Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Howard and co-written by Kasdan. The series also brings back together Brits Bamber and Kellyman who co-starred together on BBC’s Les Misérables.
Spaeny recently headlined The Craft reboot, The Craft: Legacy. Her feature credits also include Pacific Rim: Uprising, On the Basis of Sex and Vice. On TV, she co-starred on the FX on Hulu limited series Devs and will next be seen in another limited series, HBO’s Mare of Easttown. She is repped by WME, Identity Agency Group and Hansen Jacobson Teller.
Kellyman appears as Enfys Nest, leader of the rebel Cloud Riders, in Solo: A Star Wars Story. She also has been rumored for a key role on another high-profile upcoming Disney+ series, Marvel’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Kellyman is repped by CAA, Curtis Brown and Lucy Popkin.
Bamber earned awards recognition for her lead role in High Resolution. Her feature credits also include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Extracurricular Activities. She is repped by UTA and Curtis Brown.
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