Over $4 billion for Willow? Worth every penny
Shockwaves were felt recently when it was announced that George Lucas sold his Lucasfilm empire to Disney for $4.05 billion. There were many upset Star Wars fans who took to social media to express their displeasure with the deal, upset that billionaire George Lucas had sold out, calling this the final nail in the Star Wars coffin.
Here is a newsflash for those fans – this deal has nothing to do with Star Wars, so there is no need to get your Wookie bent out of shape about it. The Star Wars well has been tapped dry – that galaxy is staying far, far away. The deal isn’t even about the Indiana Jones franchise, which also falls under the Lucasfilm banner.
No, this deal clearly took place because Walt Disney (who still runs the company despite being cryogenically frozen 40 years ago) saw great potential in a little 1988 film called Willow.
Willow, a George Lucas story directed by Ron Howard, is a mythical adventure in which farmer/amateur magician Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) finds a newborn baby girl that has been sent away to protect her from an evil queen. Along with some other town folk, Willow embarks on a Tolkienesque journey to bring the child to safety in the land of “large people.” Willow and all of the residents of his village are Nelwyns, a form of dwarf.
Along the way they face obstacle after obstacle that tests Willow’s heart and also his magical ability. Before taking on this quest, Willow was always mocked by the other Nelwyns for his lack of magical ability. The band of Nelwyns are up against some incredible sorcerers – people are being turned into goats, pigs, and possums left right and centre. If Willow is to succeed in this mission, he is going to need to really believe in himself and conjure up so much magic that The Amazing Kreskin would look like The Merely Adequate Kreskin by comparison.
Warwick Davis is fantastic in the lead role. Though he may only be half the size of other Lucas leading men Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, he has twice the charisma and talent. He has shown he can do horror by appearing in six Leprechaun films. He has also displayed his comedic chops in the hilarious Ricky Gervais program Life’s Too Short. In Willow he shows he has what it takes to be an action-adventure superstar, and something tells me his phone has been ringing off the hook since this deal was first announced.
These are exciting times for those of us who have been waiting 24 years for a Willow prequel or sequel. We will all know more when Disney holds their next quarterly shareholders meeting, where I’m sure the first order of business will be to discuss how they plan to monetize the Willow franchise. That means film releases, theme parks and merchandise. I cannot wait to send my daughter to school with a Willow backpack and lunchbox. I mean, I already do, but I had to make them myself by printing off images from the web and gluing them on top of Disney Princesses. It will be nice to get some official stuff. It may seem like a tall task now, but in short order I see the Willow fan base dwarfing that of Star Wars.