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The magical world of George Lucas' "Willow," the epic fantasy adventure set in an age of swords, sorcery, myths and monsters, will be returning in a Disney+ series slated to begin production next year. Jon M. Chu ("In The Heights," "Crazy Rich Asians") is set to direct the pilot, and will serve as executive producer along with showrunners Jonathan Kasdan ("Solo") and Wendy Mericle ("Arrow"). Jonathan Kasdan wrote the pilot. "Growing up in the '80s, 'Willow' has had a profound effect on me," says Chu. "The story of the bravest heroes in the least likely places allowed me, an Asian-American kid growing up in a Chinese restaurant looking to go to Hollywood, to believe in the power of our own will, determination and of course, inner magic. So the fact that I get to work with my heroes from Kathleen Kennedy to Ron Howard is bigger than a dream come-true. It's a bucket-list moment for me. Jon Kasdan and Wendy Mericle have added such groundbreaking new characters and delightful surprises to this timeless story that I can't wait for the world to come along on this epic journey with us." Chu directed the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical "In the Heights," which will be released in June 2021. He will also direct and serve as executive producer for the pilot of ABC's Medical Drama "Triage." Ron Howard, director of the original "Willow" film, returns as executive producer on the series with Bob Dolman, writer of the original film, serving as consulting producer. "It's creatively exciting to not only revisit the world and characters first conceived by George Lucas, Bob Dolman and myself but to see it take flight in such fresh, fun and cinematic ways through the imagination of Jon Kasdan and Team Willow," says Howard. "This isn't a nostalgic throw-back, it's a creative lean-forward and it's a blast to be a part of it all." The series, which is Lucasfilm's first venture into non-Star Wars storytelling since 2015, takes place years after the events of the original "Willow" film. It introduces all-new characters to the enchanted realm of fairy queens and two-headed Eborsisk monsters, and welcomes back its namesake hero, Willow Ufgood, performed once again by the unmatchable Warwick Davis. "So many fans have asked me over the years if Willow will make a return, and now I'm thrilled to tell them that he will indeed," says Davis. "Many have told me they grew up with 'Willow' and that the film has influenced how they view heroism in our own world. If Willow Ufgood can represent the heroic potential in all of us, then he is a character I am extremely honored to reprise." "This is an exciting new era for storytelling at Lucasfilm," says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. "Jon Chu's vision, coupled with the writing of Jon Kasdan and Wendy Mericle, is going to take Willow into new and exciting directions for the series. Reuniting Ron Howard and Warwick Davis in the world of 'Willow' is something that they've both wanted to do for some time, and I couldn't be more proud of the incredible team we've put together to bring this series to Disney+." Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Jon M. Chu, Jonathan Kasdan, Wendy Mericle, Ron Howard and Imagine Television will serve as executive producers, with Roopesh Parekh and Hannah Friedman as co-executive producers. Additionally, Bob Dolman will serve as consulting producer with Julia Cooperman as producer. The production plans to return to the dramatic and enchanted landscapes of Wales, where much of the original film was shot.
Celebration Stage ScheduleWintrust ArenaHosted by Celebration fan-favorite actor Warwick Davis, the Celebration Stage will present not-to-be-missed productions, intimate conversations, and live events that Star Wars fans will be sure to add to their Celebration weekend plans.DJ Elliott and Mark Daniel will get the stage rocking before every performance.Thursday, April 11No Stage ProgramingFriday, April 1211:00AM – 12:00PMStar Wars: Episode IXLive on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages1:30PM – 2:30PMVader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series4:00PM – 5:00PMThe Creatures, Droids & Aliens of Star Wars Take a deep dive into the Pinewood Studios-based Star Warscreature shop, where Creative Supervisor Neal Scanlan and team designed and built every alien, beast and droid for this new era of Star Wars movies. Saturday, April 13 11:00AM – 12:00PM Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Life at Disney Parks1:30PM – 2:30PMThe Galaxy-Wide Premiere of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order4:00PM – 5:00PMSisters of the Force, A Celebration of Women and Star WarsJoin moderator Ashley Eckstein and guests, Vanessa Marshall, Catherine Taber, Amy Ratcliffe and many others (including some surprises) for an incredibly inspiring, empowering and fun discussion!Sunday, April 1411:00AM – 12:00PMThe MandalorianLive on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns StagesLearn about the perilous world of The Mandalorian with executive producer and writer Jon Favreau and executive producer and director Dave Filoni.1:30PM – 2:30PMIn Conversation with Alan Tudyk3:30PM – 4:30PMStar Wars: The Clone Wars Sneak PeekLive on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Twin Suns StageMonday, April 1511:00AM – 12:00PMStar Wars: The Phantom Menace 20th Anniversary CelebrationLive on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy Stage1:30PM – 2:30PMShort Stories with Warwick Davis 3:30PM – 4:30PMCelebration Chicago Closing CeremonyLive on the Celebration, Galaxy, and StarWars.com StagesStar Wars Galaxy StageSkyline Ballroom E&D, Level 3 West BuildingThe Galaxy Stage is hosted by Celebration veteran David W. Collins.Some programs on the Celebration Stage will be streamed to the Galaxy Stage. We clear the Galaxy Stage after every performance.Thursday, April 11No Stage ProgramingFriday, April 1211:00AM – 12:00PMStar Wars: Episode IXLive on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages1:30-2:30pm20 years of the LEGO Star Wars Story – A Retrospective and Forward Look3:30pm-4:30pmThe Music of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace with David Collins5:30-6:30pmILM Presents: Making Solo>Rob Bredow, Academy Award nominee and VFX Supervisor for Solo: A Star Wars Story will share his personal stories and photos in this exclusive behind-the-scenes talk.Saturday, April 1310:45AM – 11:45PMDroids and Animatronic Creatures of Star WarsJoin Matt Denton, Josh Lee and Lee Towersey as they discuss the challenges faced bringing complex droid and animatronic creatures from The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi and Solo to life. 12:45PM – 1:45PM Star Wars Rebels Remembered 3:30PM – 4:30PM Star Wars Cosplay Competition 5:30PM – 6:30PM A Star Wars Let’s Play Love classic Star Wars games like Super Star Wars, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, or Star Wars Racer Revenge? Hosted by David Collins, join Star Wars special guests as they play their favorite Star Wars classics all while having a great time and answering audience questions along the way. Sunday, April 14 11:00AM – 12:00PM The Mandalorian Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages 1:15PM – 2:15PM Doug Chiang: The Evolution of Star Wars Design – Designing Episode I 3:15PM – 4:15PM ILM Model Shop: Building a Galaxy b>Monday, April 15 11:00AM – 12:00PM Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 20th Anniversary Celebration Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy Stage 1:30PM – 2:50PM Star Wars Resistance Season Two Sneak Peek Join Star Wars Resistance Executive Producers Justin Ridge, Athena Portillo, Brandon Auman and special guests for a look back at the shocking season one finale and an exclusive preview of what’s to come! 3:30PM – 4:30PM Celebration Chicago Closing Ceremony Live on the Celebration and Galaxy Stages Twin Suns Stage W196ABC, Level 1 West Building Celebration’s Twin Suns stage covers the ins and outs of what goes into creating the Star Wars universe, hosting guests who make it happen for the movies, television, toys, books, comics and more. Returning for her third Celebration hosting gig, but certainly not just her third Celebration, is Star Wars expert and host Amy Ratcliffe. Thursday, April 13 No Programming Friday, April 12 11:00AM – 12:00PM Star Wars: Episode IX Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages 1:15 PM – 2:30 PM Star Wars Collectibles Update with Lucasfilm’s Brian Merten 3:00PM – 4:00PM Star Wars Hasbro 4:45PM – 5:45PM Lucasfilm Publishing Panel Featuring Jeffrey Brown, Zorida Cordova, Delilah Dawson, Claudia Gray, Justina Ireland, E.K. Johnston, Cavan Scott, Timothy Zahn, and more! Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Michael Siglain 6:30PM – 7:30PM I’ll Take Droids for $500, Obi-Wan: An Intergalactic Game Show We are inviting fans to test their Star Wars knowledge, competing head-to-head with their favorite Star Wars authors in categories like “Never tell me the odds”, “Going Solo”, “A Long Time Ago” and “Far, Far Away” and more, using audio clips from Star Wars audiobooks. Hosted by Marc Thompson. Prizes awarded! Saturday, April 13 11:00AM – 12:00PM Inside Fantasy Flight Games Go behind the scenes with Fantasy Flight Games, creators of the world’s premier Star Wars board games, card games, collectible games, miniatures games, and roleplaying games! Here, you’ll get the chance to ask your own questions for Head of Studio Andrew Navaro, Visual Creative Director Brian Schomburg, Miniatures Game Manager John Shaffer, and Producer Molly Glover. You’ll also catch a glimpse of what FFG has planned next for X-Wing! 12:45PM – 1:45PM Del Rey Behind the Scenes Join authors Claudia Gray (Master & Apprentice; Bloodline), Timothy Zahn (The Thrawn Trilogy), Alexander Freed (Alphabet Squadron; Twilight Company), and Delilah S. Dawson (Black Spire; Phasma) as they discuss current projects and preview other books to come. 2:30PM – 3:30PM Marvel Comics Presents: Star Wars Join Marvel Comics writers Greg Pak (Star Wars: Age of Rebellion) and Ethan Sacks (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) and a host of other Mighty Marvel Guests in this can’t-miss panel! Greg Pak’s Age of Rebellion series spotlights the fan-favorites of the classic trilogy, while Sacks’ Galaxy’s Edge is the riveting comic series tie-in to the highly-anticipated theme park! Don’t miss your chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the House of Ideas’ parsec of the Galaxy Far, Far Away – including a glimpse of what’s to come! 4:15PM – 5:15PM Step Into Our Star Wars Stories: ILMxLAB 5:45PM – 6:45PM Star Wars: The Force of Funko Sunday, April 14 11:00AM – 12:00PM The Mandalorian Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Galaxy and Twin Suns Stages 1:00PM – 2:00PM Behind the Scenes of the Cantina Go behind the scenes like never before as cantina expert and FX artist Tom Spina (Regal Robot, Tom Spina Designs) and stage host Amy Ratcliffe once again dive into the most wretched hive of scum and villainy with rare behind the scenes images, video and stories from geniuses who helped create everyone’s favorite Tatooine hang out! 3:30PM – 4:30PM Star Wars: The Clone Wars/i> Sneak Peek Live on the Celebration Stage; streamed to the Twin Suns Stage 5:30PM – 6:30PM Into the Archives Author Paul Duncan takes you into the Lucasfilm archives to show you how he researched and assembled images and texts for his book The Star Wars Archives: Episodes IV-VI, published by TASCHEN. Illustrated with concept art, storyboards, photos, script and production documents from Episodes IV, V and VI, Duncan will explain the working processes of both the main unit and ILM. The talk will include ideas that never made it into the book, including the timeline of Boba Fett’s creation. This is a unique opportunity to see previously unpublished materials. To quote Paul Duncan, “I cannot take people into the archives, so I want to bring the archives to them.” Monday, April 15 10:30AM – 11:30AM Lucasfilm Publishing: Writers Roundtable Join all-star Star Wars authors Claudia Gray (Master & Apprentice; Bloodline), Justina Ireland (Lando’s Luck), Daniel José Older (Last Shot), Cavan Scott (Tales from Vader’s Castle, The Choose Your Destiny series), and Charles Soule (Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, Poe Dameron) as they discuss their approach, process, and reception to writing stories set in a galaxy far, far away. Plus, get some exclusive news into future Star Wars publishing! Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Michael Siglain. 12:15PM – 1:15PM Star Wars Celebration Tattoo Competition Presented by Marc Draven (Ink Fusion Empire), the competition will feature these categories: small/medium color, large color, small/medium black and grey, large black and grey and tattoo of the weekend, with awards created exclusively for Star Wars Celebration. 2:00PM – 3:00PM Check the Celebration Show App for Updates! 3:45PM – 4:45PM IDW Publishing: The Adventures Continue! Come hear from the writers and artists of your favorite Star Wars Adventures tales—including Nick Brokenshire, Delilah Dawson, Tony Fleecs, Michael Moreci, and Cavan Scott. Check out StarWars.com and StarWarsCelebration.com for more information
Actor Warwick Davis, a Lucasfilm fixture since 1983, returns to the stage to host Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019. Davis, who hosted Celecration Europe in 2016 and Orlando in 2017, played Wicket the Ewok in Return Of The Jedi, as well as, the tv movies, and has also had roles in The Phantom Menace, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Star Wars: Rebels. You can read more at StarWars.com