Jonathan Kasdan Says Val Kilmer Had To Be Written Out Of Reboot Due To COVID Concerns

Dec 17, 2022

If you’re a fan of Ron Howard’s fantasy film, “Willow,” you’re probably someone who enjoys the chemistry between the title character, played by Warwick Davis, and his cohort on the adventure, Madmartigan, played by Val Kilmer. The 1988 film was positioned right in the sweet spot of Val Kilmer’s career, where he was emerging as one of the biggest and most charismatic stars on the planet, following films like “Top Gun,” “Real Genius,” and “Top Secret.” So, with “Willow” getting a reboot on Disney+ this week, fans were probably hoping to see Kilmer reprise his role. Unfortunately, Madmartigan doesn’t show up in the new series, and showrunner Jonathan Kasdan recently explained why. 
Speaking to EW, Jonathan Kasdan went through the process of how Val Kilmer was originally attached to the show but eventually had to step away. Sadly, with Kilmer’s recent health bouts, the actor hasn’t been able to do much acting in recent years. But apparently, Kasdan and he were both really excited about the prospect of showing up in the new “Willow.”
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“We really wanted Val to come be in the show,” Kasdan explained. “And Val really wanted to come out and be in the show. I remember going to see Val right after this thing started to get some momentum, and I said, ‘Listen, we’re doing this. And the whole world wants Madmartigan back.’ And he was like, ‘Not as much as I do.’”
He added, “He embraced me when I left. He picked me up, and he said, ‘See? I’m still super strong.’ And I was like, ‘Great.’”
The biggest complication to bringing Kilmer into the new “Willow” is the fact that the actor is still dealing with the result of his throat cancer battle. You can see how this has impacted his life in the really great doc, “Val,” as well as his brief appearance in this year’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” where his lines were mostly typed on a computer screen.
READ MORE: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’: Tom Cruise Was “Really Adamant” That Val Kilmer Return For The Sequel
However, even though the writers began working on ways to include Kilmer in “Willow,” the world had other ideas in mind. With the onset of COVID and the increased regulations and whatnot, it became clear that Kilmer wasn’t going to be able to join them for production. In fact, Kasdan said that it was “pretty late in the process” when they found out the actor wasn’t going to be included.
“As COVID overtook the world, it became insurmountable,” Kasdan said. “We were prepping in the spring of the year that it was most happening. And Val reluctantly didn’t feel he could come out. We had to figure out a way to preserve the story we wanted to tell with him about how his story was playing out.”
So, Kasdan was left without the Madmartigan character appearing in the new “Willow.” That said, the showrunner was sure to point out that Val Kilmer could appear in future episodes, if “Willow” gets picked up for another season.
“We wanted to leave open the door to any possibility in the future and also honor the spirit of him,” he said. “We’ve tried to do that and work with him in a way so that he is felt and heard, if not seen.”
“Willow” debuts on Disney+ on November 30.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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