Warwick Davis gushed about new Elora Danan, working with daughter IRL and the world of ‘Willow’


The new Disney+ show willow not only marks our return to the cult film world of the 80s, but the return of Warwick Davis in the eponymous role of Willow Ufgood. Ron Howard’s film is packed with outstanding performances from Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley and Kevin Pollack, but Davis is the heart, soul and face of the saga. willow the show might introduce audiences to a whole new generation of heroes and villains, but it’s Warwick Davis who is once again leading the way.

willow the series is set 20 years after the events of the 1988 film. Elora Danan has been in hiding, Madmartigan (Val Kilmer) has disappeared on a mysterious quest, and Sorsha (Joanne Whalley) is busy juggling teenage twins obsessed with very different from their absent father. His daughter Kit (Ruby Cruz) just wants to go swordsmanship with best friend Jade (Erin Kellyman) while his son Airk (Dempsey Bryk) is the kingdom’s lothario, recently tamed by falling in love with Dove cooking (Ellie Bamber).

When the forces of evil kidnap Airk, Kit embarks on a mission to save his brother. But she needs help. Jade, Dove, Kit’s fiancé Graydon (Tony Revolori), and mischievous warrior Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) join Kit on his quest to find the high wizard Willow. Almost as soon as Willow meets the daughter of his old friends Madmartigan and Sorsha, he is distracted by the fact that Dove, as she is called, is actually all-grown Elora Danan.

Decider recently spoke with willow star Warwick Davis on returning to the iconic role of Willow Ufgood, acting alongside his real-life daughter Annabelle Davis in the new series, and how Ellie Bamber measures up to the adult Elora Danan he’s had in mind for years 80…

Warwick Davis in 'Willow' (2022)
Picture: Disney+

DECISION MAKER When Willow meets Elora Danan, she doesn’t measure up to what he thought she would be. I’m curious, how did Ellie Bamber live up to what you thought Elora Danan would be after all these years?

WARWICK-DAVIS: I mean, Ellie did a terrific job of capturing the kind of innocence and spirit of what Warwick Davis thought Elora Danan should be as a character. I mean, she has the beautiful innocence, the charm that, you know, we saw that baby growing up. And also, this kind of peculiarity in her. Elora is a special type of character with abilities beyond most people’s abilities and they just need to be nurtured and enhanced. Ellie really captured that brilliantly in her performance.

In Episode 2 we have a flashback to a scene between a young Willow and Sorsha and Sorsha has this horrible and devastating thing to say to her. She doesn’t believe he will ever become a great wizard. Why was it important to share this moment and how does it affect their relationship and how Willow sees herself throughout the season?

Well, it really hits Willow hard when Sorsha tells her, « You’re not a great wizard and you never will be. » I mean, it hits him really hard because it’s always been his kind of ambition to be a better wizard and a good wizard and it reminds him that the success and the triumph over Bavmorda that he had in willow the movie was really wrong. He somehow cheated everyone. He tricked Bavmorda using a sleight of hand and somehow made it look like real witchcraft. So deep down he knows he’s not a great wizard. But I don’t think he agrees with « never will ». He knows that if he puts in the work and commits to it, he can be successful.

Willow and baby Elora Danan, who holds the wand, in 'Willow' (1988)
Photo: Everett Collection

Kind of on that note, you’re taking over this character after, you know, so many years. What was the biggest similarity and difference between who Willow was in the movie and who he is now?

Willow in the 1988 film was an upbeat and bright young man. Willow who we see on the show has been going through some tough times in her family life. His own experiences of the world are quite dark. He’s now much older and has kind of the sum total of those life experiences with him. We always see a guy who can focus on things and achieve great things and who is hesitant to be the hero again. So there are still quite a few similarities. But, you know, the main difference is the fact that he’s now a lot older and he’s being played by a much older person.

Speaking of her family life, I know your daughter Annabelle Davis plays Mims. She is extraordinary in her scenes with you. What was it like working with her on set and what do you think she brought to Mims that no one else could?

For starters, I mean Annabelle and I share DNA so she makes a perfect cast as my daughter and she’s also a very talented actress in her own right. It was a real pleasure to play scenes opposite Annabelle. You know, a lot of actors can’t give you much as a performer, but Annabelle gives a lot. You have something to bounce back. And the fact that we know each other so well also helps. You can feel that kind of chemistry and connection coming through in the scenes we play together. And I think there’s definitely a lot more scope to develop Mims’ character as well. I mean, he’s really kind of a cool young character that I think audiences will really relate to.

You’ve been part of this saga since the beginning, what excites you the most for the fans of willow ’88 to see in this series?

I’m glad they’re exploring the world of willow. You know, the world you saw in the movie was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the extent of this place. In the series, we explore the whole – well, not quite the whole – but most of the world of willow and introduce a whole new set of characters. Some of them are somehow related to the characters from the original movie, some are not. And I think we’re really kind of taking the seed that was set in the movie willow and and just expand it in many different directions: funny, dramatic. I mean there’s so much in there that it’s…I mean eight episodes really wasn’t enough to tell that story. Let’s put it this way.


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