Madmartigan's presence will be felt, but in "spirit" only.


Madmartigan lives on — just not onscreen.

Despite confusing reports from Thursday's Star Wars Celebration, Val Kilmer's rogue swordsman is not in the forthcoming Disney+ series Willow, EW has learned.

The continuation of the beloved 1988 fantasy film by the same name will find Warwick Davis and Joanne Whalley reprising their roles as the sorcerer Willow Ufgood and the warrior queen Sorsha, respectively. However, Kilmer, who has struggled with his speech following a two-year battle with throat cancer, will not star in the show.

WILLOW, Val Kilmer, 1988, (c) MGM/courtesy Everett Collection; (L-R): Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) and (Graham Hughes) in Lucasfilm's WILLOW exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Val Kilmer in the 1988 film version of 'Willow'; Warwick Davis in Disney+'s upcoming 'Willow' series
| Credit: MGM/courtesy Everett Collection; Lucasfilm Ltd.

Nevertheless, Madmartigan will be remembered somehow in the series.

"Val's a huge part of this, and the first conversation I had, when Warwick and I got the green light to do this, was with Val," executive producer Jonathan Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story) told Yahoo Entertainment at a Star Wars Celebration panel Thursday. "We wanted his character to be a part of the story. We wanted him to be in the show."

Although Kilmer wasn't able to travel to Wales to shoot Willow due to COVID-19 lockdowns, Kasdan said he is "in the show in a big way."

Davis added, "Val's spirit is very much with the series."

EW has reached out to Disney+ representatives for further comment.

Willow is executive produced by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) alongside showrunners Kasdan and Wendy Mericle (Arrow). Ron Howard, the film's director, and Bob Dolman, the film's writer, are also executive producers, as is Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy.

The new series follows Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz), the daughter of Sorcha and Madmartigan, as she, Jade (Erin Kellyman), and Dove (Ellie Bamber) seek out Willow to help them save the world. Tony Revolori, Amer Chadha-Patel, Dempsey Bryk, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, and Talisa Garcia also star.

The series will take place "years after the events of the original Willow film," introducing "all-new characters to the enchanted realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters," EW reported after the October 2020 announcement.

"This isn't a nostalgic throwback," Howard said at the time. "It's a creative lean forward, and it's a blast to be a part of it all."

Speaking to Yahoo Entertainment about the 1988 film at the Star Wars Celebration, Davis credited Kilmer with helping him get through filming. "He kept my spirits up when conditions were really treacherous and difficult," Davis said. "I was cold, wet, tired. He kept me laughing, kept the whole thing fun. He's a terrific guy."

Fans already wondering about Kilmer's participation in Willow had their curiosity fanned further when Top Gun: Maverick soared into theaters this weekend. Kilmer makes a brief appearance as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky opposite Tom Cruise. The short cameo pays homage to Kilmer's character and his relationship with Cruise's  Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, while still acknowledging Kilmer's real-life struggles with his vocal abilities.

The Willow series is Lucasfilm's first non–Star Wars project since 2015. It begins streaming November 30 on Disney+. Watch the new teaser trailer below.

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