Disney+’s Willow bites the dust and fans are outraged: ‘A crime against the LGBTQ+ community’

Jade (L) and Kit (R) in Willow, the latest cancellation.

Disney+’s fantasy series Willow has been abruptly axed after one season, leaving fans mourning the loss of much-needed LGBTQ+ representation.

The first season, which landed on the streaming platform in November 2022, was a live-action sequel to Ron Howard’s beloved 1988 film of the same name starring Warwick Davis.

It follows an unlikely group of six heroes, who live in a world filled with brownies, sorcerers, trolls, and other mystical creatures. They set off on a dangerous quest to face their inner demons and come together to save their world from the Gales.

In a huge move for mainstream LGBTQ+ representation, the series centred a beautiful queer love story between Princess Kit (Ruby Cruz) and her longtime swordsman turned lover Jade (Erin Kellyman), and fans were excited to see how their relationship would develop in the next season.

However, just two months after the series aired its eighth and final episode, and despite a strong critical reception, Deadline has confirmed that Willow has now been cancelled.

Jade (L) and Kit (R) stare lovingly at each other in Willow.
Jade (L) and Kit (R) stare lovingly at each other in Willow. (Disney)

While no reason for the cancellation has been given just yet, executive producer, Roopesh Parekh, tweeted: “We tried something bold and different, and a little quirky, and we couldn’t be prouder of what we achieved. We’re not telling more Willow stories for now, but who knows what the future holds. I loved every moment of making the series.”

You may like to watch

The cancellation of Willow is the latest in a long line of TV shows featuring sapphic and wider LGBTQ+-centred stories to bite the dust. Recently, A League of Their Own, Warrior Nun, The Wilds, First Kill, Paper Girls, 1899, Batwoman, I Am Not Okay With This, Fate: The Winx Saga, Vagrant Queen and countless more shows have been abruptly axed, despite many receiving strong critical reviews and building devoted fanbases.

As fans flock to social media to mourn the end of yet another LGBTQ+ show, many are reflecting on the dire lack of sapphic representation in the fantasy genre.

Willow being added to the cancelled sapphic media list while having two main butch lesbian characters and their relationship is not seen as ‘bizarre’, but instead, they’re supported, celebrated and written well in a fantasy story,” one fan wrote. “Yeah, we have the right to be mad.”

“Yes I’m going to be very dramatic about the Willow cancellation ’cause I was so happy to finally have a fun fantasy show with sword lesbians and now it’s gone,” wrote another.

Many fans are raising the point that even if the first season didn’t have the biggest audience, there was every chance that it could flourish with a second run. More importantly, does every series with LGBTQ+ representation have to be exceptional to warrant a renewal, when the same standard isn’t applied for heteronormative media?

And many are analysing how this latest blow reflects the scary direction media is going.

Some fans, meanwhile, are holding onto hope for a future revival, as there are still two volumes of the original book series to adapt, and Lucasfilms maintains the rights.

Willow season one is available to stream on Disney+