Willow film 1988: how to watch original fantasy movie, what is it about - is it connected to Disney+ series?

Willow is a 1988 classic fantasy film starring Warwick Davis, and a precursor to the 2022 Disney+ series

Disney+ series Willow is a sequel to the classic 1980s fantasy movie of the same name. Star Wars creator George Lucas reportedly wrote the film specifically for Warwick Davis, whom he had met on the set of Return of the Jedi, where Davis had played an Ewok.

Despite grossing more than $130 million off a budget of $35 million, the film was considered a flop, and Lucas didn’t pursue his planned sequels. Now, more than three decades since Willow hit cinemas, the story continues in the Disney+ series.

Warwick Davis in WillowWarwick Davis in Willow
Warwick Davis in Willow

What is the Willow film about?

The evil Queen Bavmorda hears of a prophecy that a newborn child will bring an end to her wicked reign. In response, she imprisons all pregnant women in her realm, but when the special baby is born, her mother is able to smuggle her out of her castle prison.

Farmer and young sorcerer Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis), a Nelwyn (little person) comes across the baby, and when Bavmorda’s forces come to take it, Willow sets out to take the child somewhere safe. Willow comes across Madmartigan, (Val Kilmer) a disgraced knight, who is trapped in a cage - he agrees to help Willow on his quest in exchange for being freed from the cage.

Willow and Madmartigan are captured by various agents of Bavmorda several times, and make many daring and narrow escapes, becoming good friends over the course of their ordeal.

Val Kilmer as Madmartigan in WillowVal Kilmer as Madmartigan in Willow
Val Kilmer as Madmartigan in Willow

Bavmorda sends her daughter, Sorsha, (Joanne Whalley) to recapture the baby and she joins the chase. However, Madmartigan falls in love with Sorsha after he is accidentally doused in love potion, and she eventually falls in love with him in return.

Sorsha defects to Madmartigan’s side, and they, along with Willow, face off against Bavmorda’s forces. Willow trick’s Bavmorda into thinking he has banished Eldora from the realm, causing the queen to banish herself as she unwittingly completes the ritual she intended to use on Eldora.

After banishing the queen from the land, Willow leaves Elora in the care of  Madmartigan and Sorsha, believing them to be good foster parents for the child. He returns home to his farm as a hero.

Is the Willow film connected to the Disney+ series?

Yes, the Disney+ series is a direct sequel to the film and stars some of the main characters. Warwick David and Joanne Whalley reprise their roles as Willow and Sorsha, however, Val Kilmer was unable to join the production on season one due to ongoing health issues.

The series is set 20 years after the events of the film, and it is revealed that shortly after returning from his first quest, Willow had visions of dark forces taking over the world. He decided that Eldora’s identity must be kept hidden as she is the only person who can save the realm. Sorsha asks her old friend Willow for help after an attack by the mysterious creatures the Gales, and he leads a group of misfits, which includes Sorsha’s daughter Kit, and an epic journey far from home.

Where can you watch the Willow film?

Willow (1988) is available to watch now on Disney+. It is also available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and the Sky Store. The first two episodes of the sequel series are on Disney+ now. There are eight episodes in the first season and they will be released weekly on Wednesdays.

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