Christian Slater and Jonathan Kasdan Talk Willow Finale, Allagash's Possible Survival, and Potential Season 2 Stories

The season 1 star and executive producer answer our questions about Allagash's prospects after that troll pile-on, whether fairies will make an appearance, and more.

by | January 17, 2023 | Comments

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Willow key art

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Fans of the various Lucasfilm properties received a special treat in the penultimate episode of Willow‘s first season: a character, Zeb, played by Julian Glover. The actor — who has appeared in things as various as James Bond films, Game of Thrones, the recent film Tár, and Doctor Who — played Imperial General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back and Walter Donovan, the main villain of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. So when Rotten Tomatoes had the chance to talk with Willow executive producer Jonathan Kasdan about the season’s conclusion, we had to ask if it was important to make sure Glover appeared in all of the live-action Lucasfilm properties.

“It was the whole purpose of this series,” he joked.

“I had written that role originally with [Monty Python veteran] Eric Idle in mind,” the producer explained. “I grew up loving Eric and when he wasn’t available to come out and do it, the first idea that came along was Julian. And the fact that this would complete his George [Lucas] trifecta was very exciting to all of us and made it sort of a no-brainer … [it] felt like it lent a real continuity to the show that we were always seeking in various places; be it with Kevin Pollak or with the use of [film character] Kael, we wanted to make this feel of a piece with George’s incredible legacy.”

Being a Lucasfilm property, Willow cannot help but be steeped in a sense of nostalgia, whether it be for things like Glover’s presence in other films, its own film history, or even the greater love for movies of the 1980s. Enter Christian Slater, who appeared the program’s sixth episode of Allagash, another of Madmartigan’s roguish associates. Although he was a working actor by the time movies like Willow were unspooling in movie theaters, he still has a lot of nostalgia for the era.

“I guess we were born at a good time,” he said. “That whole fun adventure vibe has just been something that’s been in my spirit since I was a kid.”

Christian Slater in WILLOW season 1

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The vibe was part of the reason he chose to visit the Lucasfilm playground, but he also appreciated Allagash’s lack of chill — an inversion of his own relaxed-but-cool screen persona.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more hyper,” he explained. “It felt like an appropriate energy for that this kind of fantasy world … and the energy in the movie to a certain degree.”

WILLOW, Val Kilmer

(Photo by © MGM/courtesy Everett Collection)

He pointed to Val Kilmer, who played Madmartigan in the film (his son, Jack Kilmer, lends his voice to the unseen character in the series) as a locus for the “charming” and enjoyable “over the top” elements he wanted to honor with Allagash.

Amar Chadha-Patel in WILLOW season 1

(Photo by Amanda Searle/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Aiding that sensibility is the plot itself, which features both Slater’s character and Amir Chadha-Patel’s Boorman claiming to be close confidants of the missing adventure and sharing aspects of the swordsman’s own roguish charm. Also, they immediately try to kill each other when reunited after 10 years. But can what either say about themselves or Madmartigan be trusted? Slater suggested the dubious nature is part of the character’s charm.

“He’s a guy who really does have his own particular agenda,” Slater said. “[He] may only be in it for the prize at the end, but somehow, these kinds of characters do have something within them that they’re able to connect with and end up seeing the bigger picture by the end.”

Warwick Davis in WILLOW season 1

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Of course, it is still unclear if Allagash will get to have that moment, as viewers last saw him getting swarmed by trolls as Willow (Warwick Davis) and the rest of the party escaped. Slater hopes there will be “an opportunity to explore,” but the future of the series is as uncertain as Allagash’s survival.

Nevertheless, Kasdan still made his intentions for the program known in the season finale’s stinger scene: a book shelf announcing the first run of episodes as “Volume 1” of a three-volume epic. But the scene serves other purposes, too.

“What’s fun about putting those books on the shelf is they have the potential for a lot of stories, and we are very hopeful that we would get to fill out those books in the near future,” he explained. “But if we don’t, then they will still be sitting on that shelf waiting to be opened at some point.”

Dempsey Bryk and Ellie Bamber in WILLOW season 1

(Photo by Amanda Searle/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Additionally, the other unnamed books on the shelf speak to Kasdan’s belief that “the world of Andowyne that George has created is rife with more adventure.” So, perhaps, there is a way to continue on even after Willow or Elora Danan’s (Ellie Bamber) stories are complete.

But presuming the series does return in the near future, Kasdan suggested some of the lightheartedness of the first season may give way to something darker.

“One of the imperatives of a franchise like this is that the stakes rise, and the darkness becomes more palpable, and its costs grow. So, I think it inevitably does get more serious for everyone involved as they go.” Nevertheless, he thinks it is important for Willow to keep “its sense of humor and its fun.”

“What you hope is something like Empire or Return of the Jedi — that it doesn’t lose its sense of humor even as it goes to darker places,” he added.

Tony Revolori in Lucasfilm's WILLOW

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Graydon (Tony Revolori) is one of those characters who may find themselves in a darker place sooner than the others. For some viewers, his survival was a relief, but Kasdan teased he does not have “an easy road ahead out of wherever hell he’s in.”

Another aspect of the growing darkness is the future Willow saw in his dreams and the vision the Wyrm gives to Graydon. Both point to the possibility that the future is not as set as Willow believes, but the Wyrm, nevertheless, sees a future in which “[Elora] is not dead and she has been fully converted.”

“I hope that what people take from the final scene is that what Graydon is seeing is the promise of a world that could be,” he said. “I think that vision can be changed, and I think it could still happen.”

Christian Slater and Ruby Cruz in WILLOW season 1

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Outside of dark futures, one element that will continue is the difficult friendship of Elora and Kit (Ruby Cruz). As Kasdan explained, the “journey from animosity to companionship to real devotion to each other” is the spine of the show — even as the characters face their own separate romantic and personal growth stories — and though they are at a point of friendship at the season’s end, there is still drama to explore in the disagreements, distrust, and jealousy expressed throughout their trek to the Immemorial City.

“I think that to not continue to make that dramatic and complicated would be a mistake. I think that friendships are that way, and long friendships continue to be complex and fraught — particularly when you’re young. As you either drift apart or come closer together or want different things, you find you’re often at odds with the people you’re closest to,” he added.

Warwick Davis in WILLOW season 1

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Also on the list of things to be explored: fairies. Despite their prominent role in the film — they first give Willow Cherlindrea’s wand — the creatures were conspicuously absent from the first season.

“You’re forced to make tough choices about what you’re able to afford to do and what you aren’t,” Kasdan explained. “There were sequences written for the series that had hundreds of Brownies in them, and they were in battle and riding on birds, and it was just not feasible.”

Like the Brownie battle, the fairies fell by the wayside.

Nevertheless, Kasdan said there is a “very large picture [from the film] of a fairy kissing Warwick’s nose” on the corkboard in the production’s conference room. “They’re not forgotten,” he continued. “There is a meaningful place for them ahead, and I think it’s a good one.”

84% Willow: Season 1 (2022) is now streaming in its entirety on Disney+.

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