The Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker is stepping away from the fantasy pilot due to scheduling issues.
John Chu, Willow
Credit: John Shearer/Getty Images; Everett Collection

Filmmaker Jon M. Chu is well aware of COVID-19's disastrous impact on the entertainment industry. In the Heights, his much-anticipated adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's breakthrough musical, screened for some critics in the weeks before lockdown began last March but has been shelved ever since. And now the pandemic has messed up Chu's follow-up project as well. The director announced Monday on social media that he is stepping away from the Disney+ Willow reboot series for both personal and lockdown-related reasons.

"With the production schedule moving due to continued lockdowns in the UK, and with a new baby coming this summer (surprise!), the timing is just not going to work for me and my family," Chu wrote. "As you may know, Willow has been one of my favorite movies since I was a child, so I'm devastated that I won't be able to work with my heroes old and new like Kathy, Ron, Jon, Wendy, Michelle, and the amazing cast and crew they've put together."

Chu had been set to direct Willow's pilot episode, but according to his note, showrunners Wendy Mericle (Arrow) and Jonathan Kasdan (who wrote the pilot episode and previously co-wrote Solo: A Star Wars Story with his father, Lawrence) remain attached to the project, along with original Willow movie director Ron Howard, who is an executive producer. The series is set to begin production in Wales, where most of the 1988 film was shot, later this year.

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