Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is stepping away from Disney+’s series adaptation of Willow due to personal reasons. In a note shared on Twitter Monday afternoon, Chu revealed that Willow‘s shifting production schedule conflicts with the expected arrival of his new baby, and as a result, he will have to back out of the project. “I’m devastated that I won’t be able to work with some of my heroes old and new,” wrote the director.
“I’m heartbroken to let you all know that I unfortunately will have to step away from directing Willow,” wrote Chu on Monday afternoon. “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.”
Chu added that “Willow has been one of my favorite movies since I was a child,” a fact that makes his decision to step away even more difficult. “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,” he wrote. “And boy do they have an adventure in store for you!”
— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) January 11, 2021
Ron Howard, director of the original 1988 film, first announced news of a Willow Disney+ series in early 2019, but additional details were sparse. In October 2020, however, Deadline finally reported that the series had been greenlit at Disney+, with Chu directing and Howard executive producing. Original star Warwick Davis will return to play the character Willow, a farmer who reluctantly embarks on a journey to protect a baby from a tyrannical queen, but the series is expected to pick up many years after the events of the 1988 film.
As Chu writes in his note, Willow will be shepherded to the screen by many Disney heavyweights, including Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan, Lucasfilm’s senior vice president of live action development and production. The TV adaptation also comes from showrunners Jonathan Kasdan and Wendy Mericle, both of whom also serve as executive producers. Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman will co-executive produce, with Julia Cooperman listed as a producer. Bob Dolman, writer of the original Willow, will serve as a consulting producer on the Disney+ project.
‘Willow’ Loses Director Jon M. Chu: “I’m Devastated” The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Decider.