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Jon M. Chu no longer directing Willow series pilot for Disney+

By Vanessa Armstrong
Warwick Davis in Willow

Jon M. Chu, director of Crazy Rich Asians and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, is no longer directing the pilot episode of the Willow series ordered by Disney+. He shared the news in a tweet today, and referenced scheduling conflicts and life events that ultimately made his involvement impossible.

“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 wrote. “As you may know, Willow has been one of my favorite movies since I was a child, so I’m devastated that I won’t be able to work with my heroes old and new like Kathy, Ron, Jon, Wendy, Michelle, and the amazing cast and crew they’ve put together.”

Disney+ officially greenlit the Willow series back in October 2020. The show will be a sequel to the beloved 1988 film, which was co-written and produced by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard. Warwick Davis is returning as the titular farmer, who in the film goes on a quest to protect a baby from an evil queen trying to kill the child and take over the world.

The series will also star Erin Kellyman (Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier), Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy), and Ellie Bamber (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).

There’s been no announcement on who will replace Chu in directing the pilot, which was written by co-showrunner Jonathan Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story). The series' other showrunner is Wendy Mericle (Arrow). Ron Howard and Bob Dolman — co-writer of the original film — are also involved as executive producer and consultant producer, respectively. Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Jonathan Kasdan, and Wendy Mericle are also executive producers on the project. 

The Willow series will be produced in Wales, just like the original movie. There are no details yet, however, on when production will begin or when the show will ultimately air on Disney+.

(via Deadline)