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The producer of the fantasy series “Willow” spoke with Polygon about his decision to include a “queer” romance front and center. The show begins streaming on Disney+ starting November 30. “Willow” is rated TV-14.
“There was no pushback,” Jonathan Kasdan told the interviewer when asked if there was any resistance to the central romance between two female characters.
“What’s interesting is — I hope and I believe we’re at a moment where you’re going to see a paradigm shift in that. And hopefully, the way that it’s gonna happen is that these kinds of [queer] stories, particularly like this one, that were just organic to the narrative we were telling, find their way in, and it becomes less of a surprising and unusual thing to see.”
“Willow” is loosely based on the 1988 fantasy movie by Ron Howard and George Lucas that didn’t reach “Star Wars” levels of fame, but is still revered by many fans as a cult classic from the time. Kasdan accused the original of being “not very diverse” due to the time it was made, which is part of the reason why he inserted an LGBTQ angle that wasn’t previously there.
“… As we enter 2022, the world has changed, in the way we’re absorbing entertainment, and the faces we’re reflecting in entertainment have expanded enormously, and we hope the show can be growing as the world grows. Just as, frankly, the movie was,” he continued.
The Disney+ description says, “Willow, the legendary sorcerer, returns in a new series set many years after the events of the original film. Willow leads a group of misfit heroes on a dangerous rescue mission through a world beyond their wildest imaginations.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Kasdan pointed to “Harry Potter” and even the Bible as being influences for the series.
Critics will be watching closely to see how “Willow” performs after the massive failure of “Strange World.” The animated film was released over the Thanksgiving holiday and underperformed expectations, bringing in just $11.9 million over the weekend ($18.9 million over the five-day holiday break) after adjusted forecasts predicted numbers closer to $40 million.
“Strange World” will need to make $360 million just to break even, The Daily Wire originally reported. Some critics blamed lack of advertising and promotion while others pointed to the addition of an overtly gay teen character as being one reason for the flop.
Something similar happened with Disney’s “Lightyear” when the studio insisted on including a same-sex kiss in the animated film as a form of protest for Florida’s recently enacted Parental Rights in Education bill, which the media erroneously dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.