“Willow”: Disney+ Returns to Classic Fantasy Storytelling


Image Courtesy of DisneyPlus.com

By Mariah Solis

The recently released Disney+ fantasy series Willow (2022) follows the quest of an unlikely ensemble decades after the original 1988 George Lucas film, however, one does not need to watch the movie to enjoy the series. Praised for its diverse cast and LGBTQ+ representation, this fresh new story of new and old characters has something for everyone to enjoy. 

The show first introduces Kit, princess of Tir Asleen and daughter of Queen Sorsha, who is set to soon marry Prince Graydon in an effort to prevent the war between two kingdoms. Kit is clearly more concerned (and in love) with her best friend Jade, who is soon leaving to train for knighthood. However when her brother, Airk, is captured by a supernatural gang and taken to the infamous Shattered Sea, Kit embarks on a quest to find and return the prince. Jade and Graydon accompany her alongside a thief named Boorman and a chambermaid called Dove, Airk’s most recent lover. Their first mission: find and recruit the sorcerer Willow. 

Each episode, the group face a new adventure, well balanced with the development of the characters as individuals and in relationship with one another. Each individual has interesting backstories and inner motivations guiding the characters. A prime example of this is Kit’s uneasy and sometimes annoying attitude towards Dove during the start of their journey, which is eventually explained and ultimately evolves as the season progresses. The show’s strength lies in watching each character grow, whether that be through facing a mysterious past, navigating new magical abilities, or admitting romantic feelings. Since the big evil responsible for Airk’s kidnapping remains hidden for most of the show, some viewers might become more invested in the characters and their interactions rather than defeating the main antagonist. That being said, character development was still well-balanced with the action-packed adventure scenes, keeping both aspects of the series incredibly fun and entertaining to watch throughout the season.

Some fans of the original movie may be disappointed in the modern music and language, however the humor and overall tone of the new series makes the characters feel more human and relatable. Rather than attempting to fit dialogue into old-english standards, the script creates relaxed grammar and realistic conversations between people, making the characters and fictional world of Willow feel less distant from the life viewers know. 

One fan shared their love of the show, tweeting, “[W]illow is the perfect antidote to all the doom and gloom lately. I’m so happy a fantasy show this uncynical exists. Those last 3 episodes were just pure fun.” 

Other fans found the romance between Kit and Jade to be fantastic sapphic representation, defying gender roles, and avoiding oversexualization.

Another fan posted to twitter, stating, “[T]his season had everything I felt was missing from fantasy storytelling right now – it was funny, heartwarming, action packed, modern and magical (no pun intended) not to mention great queer representation.” 

Willow (2022) brings forth a fun, fantasy-filled adventure with loveable characters and captivating plotlines that anyone can watch and enjoy, returning to the beloved magical characteristics of fantasy that every Disney fan adores.  

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