A classic fantasy franchise is returning to the screen over 30 years after the original film was released and we reveal why Val Kilmer’s Madmartigan is not in the new Willow series on Disney Plus.

Talk of a sequel within the Willow franchise began as early as 2005, but it wasn’t until 2020 that a plan was put in place. Jon M. Chu was originally on board to direct the pilot episode, however, the Crazy Rich Asians director left the project due to production delays and personal reasons.

Based on the characters created by George Lucas and developed by Jonathan Kasdan for Disney Plus, the fantasy adventure series Willow is a direct sequel to the 1988 film of the same name by Ron Howard, starring Warwick Davis, Ruby Cruz, Erin Kellyman, Ellie Bamber, Tony Revolori, Amar Chadha-Patel, and more.

Willow | Official Trailer | DisneyPlus Hotstar

Willow | Official Trailer | DisneyPlus Hotstar

Who is Val Kilmer’s Madmartigan?

Known as the noble son from the Daikini family of Galladoorn, Madmartigan became a disgraced knight and ended up helping Willow in the Nelwyn’s quest to keep Elora Danan safe.

Madmartigan and Willow initially disliked each other but they soon became friends and the knight also ended up falling in love with Princess Sorsha – the daughter of the evil Queen Bavmorda.

In addition to appearing in the original film, Madmartigan also went on to feature in the Willow novel, the spin-off novel Shadow Moon, and the NES video game.

Val Kilmer as Madmartigan talking to Willow in Willow 1988
Willow – Cr. 20th Century Home Ent, YouTube.

Why is Madmartigan Not in the New Willow?

Despite previous rumors stating Val Kilmer’s role was written out of the series, Val Kilmer was sadly forced to forfeit his return as Madmartigan because of the pandemic.

Having struggled with his health for a number of years, Kilmer was initially completely on board to return in the sequel series. However, when Covid came around, the actor was unable to travel because of the risks it presented to his health.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Jonathan Kasdan explains Kilmer’s reluctant exit fuller:

“As COVID overtook the world, it became insurmountable. We were prepping in the spring of the year that it was most happening. And Val reluctantly didn’t feel he could come out. We had to figure out a way to preserve the story we wanted to tell with him about how his story was playing out.”

With Madmartigan’s presence still included in the Disney Plus series, there’s every chance that Kilmer could return as Madmartigan somewhere down the line.

Meet the Willow Cast

Harry Potter star Warwick Davis is the returning sorcerer from the original film, alongside familiar faces Kevin Pollack and Rick Overton as brownie duo Rool and Franjean.

Joining the original cast is a host of new faces playing the heroes of the series, including Spider-Man actor Tony Revolori and Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Erin Kellyman.

Additionally, Rosabell Laurenti Seller has been cast in a currently undisclosed role and they’ll no doubt be other surprises revealed along the way.

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

Willow is now streaming on Disney Plus.

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