Last month, during Disney’s Investor Day meeting, Lucasfilm President, Kathleen Kennedy confirmed reports that Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu would helm the Disney+ Willow sequel series. Now, we have a disappointing update.
Chu took to Instagram and announced that he has departed the project due to scheduling conflicts. Sadly, his statement, which you can read below, was a tough one for him, as he was passionate about the project.
I’m heartbroken to let you all know that I unfortunately have to step away from directing Willow. With the production schedule moving due to continued lockdowns in the UK, and with a new baby coming this summer (surprise!), the timing is just not going to work for me and my family.
As you may know, Willow has been one of my favorite movies since I was a child, so I’m devastated that
I won’t be able to work with some of my heroes old and new like Kathy, Ron, Jon, Wendy, Michelle, and the amazing cast and crew they’ve put together. Like a kid seeing Willow for the first time in the ‘80s, I will look forward to watching this magical new world unfold as a very enthusiastic fan. And boy do they have an adventure in store for you! I can’t wait for you all to experience it soon.
Much love, and take care of each other during these fast changing times,
Jon M. Chu
It is unknown at this time of Disney’s live-action adaptation of Lilo & Stitch, which has Chu attached to direct, is also affected by this decision. We will continue to look into this and update you when we can.
The series will look for a new director. Jonathan Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story) and Wendy Mericle (Arrow) will produce. Jonathan Kasdan wrote the pilot. Erin Kellyman (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Solo: A Star Wars Story), Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals), and Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy) are all set to star alongside Warwick Davis.
Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Jon M. Chu, Jonathan Kasdan, Wendy Mericle, Ron Howard and Imagine Television will serve as executive producers, with Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman as co-executive producers. Additionally, Bob Dolman will serve as consulting producer with Julia Cooperman as producer.
Lucasfilm plans to start production on the Willow series in April 2021 in Wales, where the original film was shot. The show is being ordered for an 8-episode first season, but the hope is for it to continue as an ongoing series.