Willow Writer Attacks Disney Over “Cruel” Removal Of Series

Disney recently surprised everyone by removing a significant amount of content from Disney+ and Hulu, aiming to streamline their catalogues before merging the two into a single streaming application. Unfortunately, the series “Willow” was one of the casualties, which came as a shock considering it had only ended six months ago. Writer John Bickerstaff, who worked on the show, expressed his disappointment on Twitter, criticizing Disney for making the series unavailable.

“Willow” served as a follow-up to the 1988 film of the same name, created by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard. Set in the future after the defeat of Queen Bavmorda, the series followed Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn sorcerer who becomes the leader of a new group of adventurers, including the grown-up Elora, whom they had saved as an infant in the first film. Their mission was to rescue Prince Airk, who had been kidnapped, leading them to explore more of the world beyond the original film and confront a growing evil.

The process of making a sequel to “Willow” took years, and it was highly anticipated once it was finally in development under Jonathan Kasdan. It even had a teaser shown at Star Wars Celebration in 2022. Bickerstaff expressed his frustration at seeing the efforts of the entire team essentially discarded so quickly. He highlighted the cruelty of the industry, as they were given only a short period of six months, or even less, before the series was taken down. The move not only resulted in a significant financial charge of $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion for Disney but also meant losing streaming residuals during a challenging time in the industry, with the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike.

Before you say tax-write off: these shows have already been released and so can’t be a write-off. And in the case of Willow, they own the property outright. The only conclusion is that this is to get out of paying residuals. During a strike.

Beyond that, Bickerstaff was frustrated at Disney’s willingness to throw away an in-house show that cost a fortune to make so soon. It was one thing to cancel WIllow in the effort of reorganizing the company’s streaming strategy under Bob Iger, but another entirely to remove it to where there’s nothing left to gain. “And look, eternal streaming libraries are not sustainable,” he continued. “We’re all going to have to adjust to that at some point. But to spend [REDACTED] on a show and then disappear it six months later is just bad business.”

Of course, Willow is just one such removal of many from Disney’s streamers. The shows cut by the House of Mouse included a number of fan favorites from The Mysterious Benedict Society to The World According to Jeff Goldblum and Dollface. It represents a disheartening modern reality for streaming where shows and the minds behind them are scrapped without a second thought. This was recently made apparent with the massive Warner Bros. Discovery cuts last year which saw animated series and family content axed on a massive scale. Unfortunately, this trend doesn’t appear to be dying any time soon.

Check out the trailer for Willow below:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s