By Kieran Burt.
Willow has returned! It’s been over 30 years since Willow Ufgood was on our screens, but he has returned once more to save the world from evil once more. The first two episodes of the new show have debuted, and, while not perfect, still have their moments of charm.
But Willow isn’t alone. Warwick Davis is joined by a whole new cast of characters, like Erin Kellyman’s Jade, Ruby Cruz’s Princess Kit, Ellie Bamber’s Dove, Tony Revolori’s Graydon and Amar Chadha-Patel’s Boorman. Joanne Whalley also reprises her role as Sorsha. This huge amount of new characters does hit the audience with a lot of new names to remember very quickly, with only a few standouts so far.
The majority of the cast revolves around young teens learning to grow up in a world of change, placing it’s audience firmly on the younger side. It makes sure there is a prophecy and the chosen one the struggles of growing up, abandoning parents, fitting common tropes of the genre. There’s been a bit of melodramatic romance, but the first two episodes have kept it to a minimum so far. But it’s this type of drama that sets Willow apart from other contemporary fantasies, like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, and lets a younger generation enter the fantasy world.
Kit is by far the most annoying, refusing the advice of almost everyone so far and behaving like a stubborn child. It’s certainly likely this will change over the course of the show. Graydon is a stand out to, with Revolori playing a cowardly prince, who is taking his chances to selfishly preserve his power by trying to win the chosen one’s hand, thus forming a love triangle. Boorman has his moments of humour, but his dialogue can be hit and miss.
But while the main show is aimed at a younger audience, its villains are ripped straight out of a twisted horror show. The Doom, The Lich, The Scourge, and The Dag, all collectively making up the Gales. They are led by the Crone, an evil woman/crow, who presumably wants to fill the world with darkness. Their motivations haven’t been explained yet, which doesn’t make them compelling, though they are saved by their terrifying design. Hopefully the show explains some of their background, and perhaps how they link with Queen Bavmorda and the prophecy, as it’s not clear yet.
Willow leans on nostalgia for the first film a little bit too much, with the two episodes constantly flashing back to clips of the 1988 film. Audiences probably won’t understand parts of the second episode unless they’ve seen the film either, the scene in question will come off as overly goofy and stupid rather than humourous. But it does signal this show will be going for the goofy, cheesy humour, similar to the film.
But Willow does manage to show signs that it’s recaptured some of the charm and magic from the film, particularly whenever Willow himself is onscreen. Warwick Davis’ love for the franchise comes through, and so does showrunner Jon Kasdan’s love. Hopefully the next six episodes can keep up the charm and manage the teen drama.