The new Willow series premiered this week, and the first two episodes feature the return of Warwick Davis (Willow) and Joanne Whalley (Sorsha) from the original 1988 fantasy film. However, one iconic actor from the Willow movie won’t be seen in the new series. Val Kilmer was unable to appear in the new show as the fan-favorite Madmartigen, but his presence is felt, especially with Ruby Cruz and Demspey Bryk playing his children. In addition to having characters that are related to Madmartigen, Willow also features Amar Chadha-Patel as Boorman, a character who has a similar energy to the lovable trickster and warrior played by Kilmer. During a recent interview with Digital Spy, Chadha-Patel talked about paying tribute to Kilmer in the show.
“I think Val Kilmer sort of helped redefine what the sort of roguish archetype in those types of films is. His performance is so unique and bonkers and tonally strange and off-kilter, but it works,” Chadha-Patel explained. “And then there was obviously going to be an equivalent of that in this series that people would want and the fantasy demands. But I was never going to be able to do what he did, so I just tried to make that as much my own as possible.”
He continued, “And Jon Kasdan, our creator, and Steven Wolfman, our first block director, we did a lot of work in our bootcamp of learning who these characters are. We just tried to create this sort of swagger, aloofness, like an almost drunken, carefreeness to this character that paid a bit of a tribute to Madmartigan but was still, in essence, myself.” He added, “I would never try and recreate what he did. But there was a tall guy with a sword and there had to be another one,” he added.
“We knew going in, he was going to be this archetype of the guy with the sword and make jokes and he was funny and loud,” Chadha-Patel told ComicBook.com at the Willow premiere. “But the whole point of him was to deconstruct that archetype and make him a little bit more fragile.” He added, “And Jon [Kasdan] and I spent a lot of time trying to make him physical and that Toshiro Mifune is a Japanese actor in Seven Samurai. He’s a really big influence because he’s just like a caged tiger. So there was a lot of physical work that went into making him funny but also stoic. It was a really interesting process.”
The first two episodes of Willow are now streaming on Disney+.