Willow creator explains why he’s in favour of decision to remove LGBTQ+ show from Disney+

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

One of the writers and producers of Disney’s LGBTQ+ fantasy adventure series Willow has revealed the reason why he’s in favour of the show being removed from Disney+.

While Willow received positive reviews from critics and audiences, the series was cancelled earlier this year after just one season. Last week, it was reported that it would be one of more than 50 titles to be removed from streaming services Disney+ and Hulu.

A sequel to the award-winning 1988 cult film of the same name, the series – which starred Warwick Davis – was praised for including a sapphic relationship between lead characters Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Jade (Erin Kellyman). In one scene, the pair kiss, which was seen as positive move towards repairing Disney’s patchy relationship with LGBTQ+ representation.

Queer Willow fans were up in arms after learning that the series would be cancelled, and angered further by the decision to remove the one season from Disney+ just months after it first aired.

However, not everyone is focusing on the negatives. Jonathan Kasdan, who co-wrote and co-produced the series, has tried to instil a bit of hope into the devastated fandom.

“I’ve been quiet on this news that #Willow is leaving Disney+ ’cause… I’m kinda into it,” he wrote in a tweet yesterday (22 May).

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“I grew up at a time when Disney movies were periodically re-released and not available to own, and it made them… more special. I worry about many things but none of them are that Willow will never be available again, either on Disney+ or perhaps someplace else.

“Ya never know where that could lead. Stranger things have happened. So grateful for all the love and enthusiasm, it’s truly what keeps these worlds alive.”

Actors Erin Kellyman as Jade (L) and Ruby Cruz as Kit stand close to each other in a scene from new Disney+ series Willow. (Disney:Lucasfilms)
Erin Kellyman as Jade (L) and Ruby Cruz as Kit in Disney+ series Willow. (Disney/Lucasfilms)

Not all those who worked on the show are seeing the potential bright side, though. Writer John Bickerstaff slammed the decision to remove the series from streaming platforms.

“They gave us six months. Not even. This business has become absolutely cruel,” he wrote in a tweet that has since gone viral.

“Eternal streaming libraries are not sustainable. We’re all going to have to adjust to that at some point. But to spend… on a show and then disappear it six months later is just bad business.”

Ever since it was announced that Willow would not be returning for a second season, fans have been campaigning for a workaround to ensure that the show lives on. Hashtags including #KeepWillow and #SaveWillow have been spreading across social media.

Willow might be campy and very eccentric, but that’s what sets it apart from other fantasy productions,” one fan wrote. “It doesn’t take itself too seriously, while at the same time, it doesn’t treat its audience like idiots. It’s a show worth keeping.”

Another fan said: “Remember when Willow gave us an empress, a knight and a princess and made all three of them complete badasses who are allowed to love, cry, be angry and save the world? Yeah, they need to serve again, by force or by fire.”

Willow is one of a number of LGBTQ+ shows to face cancellation in recent months, with hits such as Warrior Nun, Uncoupled and A League of Their Own all being axed.

Other shows facing the chop from Disney+ and Hulu include Big Shot, Dollface and The Mysterious Benedict Society.

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