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Willow: The Series — Thanks, I Hate It

You know if I was making a sequel series to Willow. I might, you know… kinda thinking, I might possibly be interested in considering… putting Willow in it?

This series is so cliche and heavy-handed. There is a literal barrier between the old world and the new one. It’s just checking boxes for what a fantasy epic is supposed to have–prophetic visions, dark magic wizards, sword-fighting, strong female protagonists, royalty, creatures, marriages against one’s will, and everyone is a one-note archetype. I’m not sure what it’s trying to copy off of–Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Witcher. But it feels like the most basic bitch “quest” storyline made for babies.

The first scene (after the prologue narration) is two helmeted knights fighting on some cliffs. Then they take their helmets off and WHAAT? They’re girls?!?! Girls don’t use swords. And one’s a PRINCESS? Guh, guh, guh, egregious! Scandalous! Most unorthodox! Check off a box for feminism. Oh, they passionately kiss at some point? Check off a box for LGBT representation.

And moreover, this princess is being forced into an arranged marriage to strengthen relations between kingdoms? I’ve never seen this situation before except in Fiddler on the Roof, Romeo and Juliet, Coming to America, Aladdin, Brave, Pocahontas, Mulan, The Princess Bride, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Batman, Teen Titans, Spaceballs, John Carter, The Witcher, The Corpse Bride, Mobile Suit Gundam, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Dragon Age, War and Peace, Ranma 1/2, The Big Bang Theory, Shrek, The Simpsons, Avatar, Ever After, anything by Jane Austen, various episodes of Star Trek and its spinoffs, multiple instances throughout A Game of Thrones, anything from Greek Mythology, Christian mytholgy, Jewish mythology, etc., and a few others.

The characters have no chemistry with each other. Like I said in my “The Key to Any Fantasy Story” is dynamic character relationships. It works best when A) you’re not taking the work so seriously you can’t have fun with it and B) you’ve got characters who conflict with each other in diametrically opposed pairs. Our two introductory characters are already friends, so much they lash out when the threat of separation looms. We’ve got a lowly cook who has no relationship with anyone. A criminal warrior with no established past who has no relationship with anyone. The “Milhouse” prince who has no relationship with anyone (in fact, that’s part of the plot) and comes along the journey for no reason. Was that the intention? To have these characters gain their relationships along the way? If so, why? None of them, except Kit, have any motivation to go out into the dangerous world. None of them have anything to gain.

And moreover, who are they? I’m not expecting everything has to do with the original Willow. I’m not expecting to see Val Kilmer again. But this should take place in the same universe. And if you negate all the good that you did in the first movie–removing the original’s maguffin, making it so the effort to get her to Tir As Leen was just to remove her again BECAUSE OF A FRIGGIN’ DREAM–then you’re removing the good will of everyone who loved the original Willow in the first place. The very reason you’re making a Willow sequel is to capitalize on the established fan base. And the best thing you can do is NOT ANGER THAT FAN BASE.

Who are any of these people?

The problem with the character personalities we have is that they don’t directly conflict with one another in pairs. I would make them more like the Avengers. Someone who is selfish (Tony Stark) vs. someone who is selfless (Steve Rogers). Someone who has mastery over others (Thor) vs. someone who has mastery of the self (Bruce Banner). Someone who operates through deception/aloneness (Natalia Romanova) vs. someone who operates as support/family (Clint Barton). (More details in this great video)

I came up with a better plot for the first episode in my sleep. Elora Danan has become a wise and loved empress and magician. Sorcha and Madmartigan took on the role as her doting parents, then retired to a villa near the edge of her kingdom when she was ready to be independent. They’re not part of the story, they had their story (I don’t expect to get Val Kilmer back, but Sorcha can make a few cameos if she’s available, certainly). Fin Raziel taught her magic and leadership, then passed on. But now Elora Danan has grown up and is living well, ruling well. So, like, everything they did in the original Willow wasn’t for naught just because someone had a bad dream.

Half the first episode is Elora Danan holding court. It’s one continuous scene with no time jumps. This way you can establish the setting (in that there are no real problems in this kingdom, but Elora still likes to help and rules wisely), and introduce all the characters you’re going to need as the day goes on.

Then an evil man enters. He uses magic with Bavmorda’s signature effects (because someone must have taught Bavmorda and who has that person been teaching in that time?) and does something to hurt Elora Danan or put her in a coma or something, forcing them to surrender (much like in Zelda: Twilight Princess). As she lays on what might be her deathbed, the royal advisors all agree they need the help of a sorcerer. And there is only one sorcerer they can trust–Willow.

“Dur hur dee hur dee hur…”

So the thing about this is Willow is that he’s already gone through the hero’s journey. He doesn’t need to again. He’s older and wiser. He needs someone to teach. Enter the daikini boy (or girl) who stumbles into the village. He’s one of the pages sent by the queen. A nobody. But Willow senses something special in him–whatever he needs to be to complete the rest of the series and so it goes.

This show is not meant for fans of the original Willow. This is meant for a younger generation who wants some inoffensive family fantasy junior. But what bothers me the most is that it’s totally untrue to the spirit of the original Willow. The original Willow was a hero’s journey. Star Wars in fantasy form (even made by the same person) that never got a follow-up. It’s like the Beauty and the Beast remake (and Lindsay Ellis already did a great video essay on why it got everything wrong by screwing up everything the original animated film got right). But whoever it’s meant for, it’s shitting on fans of the original Willow.

How about this Willow gets her own series?

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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