Concept Art for the ‘Willow’ Cartoon that Never Came to Be
George Lucas and Ron Howard’s 1988 fantasy film Willow might have had a happy ending, but the followup novel, Chronicles of the Shadow Moon, outlined by Lucas and adapted by Chris Claremont, wiped out all those warm fuzzy feelings in one giant cataclysm. It didn’t have to be that way, however. In fact, Willow, Elora Danan, Madmartigan and Sorsha could have had a second, much happier life in a Saturday morning cartoon. While little evidence of this failed animation project remains, some of the concept art still exists.Collector Joe Frese recently shared this trove of concept art with io9. He purchased the pieces in a series of auctions in 2006, and while auction house Howard Lowery certified them as authentic concept pieces for a Willow TV show, Frese received no information about the animation house. He suspects that Nelvana may have been involved in the project, as they produced two other Lucas cartoons, the Star Wars-spinoffs Droids and Ewoks.
I wonder just when these pieces were created. Could a Willow show have already been in the wings when the movie was released, only to be canned when the film flopped at the box office? Or did Lucas hope to have a second go at turning Willow into a full-fledged franchise? Either way, if we’d gotten 13 episodes of Madmartigan and Sorsha raising a happy, well-adjusted Elora Danan who made it securely of her toddler years, perhaps we would have been spared some of the massacre that came with Shadow Moon. Then again, knowing Lucas, he probably would have declared the whole series non-canon and killed everyone off anyway.