Ron Howard Gives Update on ‘Willow’ Disney Plus Series: ‘No Greenlight Yet’

While the prospect of a sequel series to Ron Howard‘s 1988 fantasy feature “Willow” has gotten fans frothing at the mouth, Howard told Variety that Disney Plus still hasn’t made a final decision on the show as of yet.

Reports that Howard was in talks to develop the series with writer Jonathan Kasdan emerged last May, and Howard said that the scripts for the project are pretty much complete, but that a big yes from Disney was yet to come their way.

“We’re working on it, it’s not greenlit, but I was just on the phone today discussing it with Jonathan who has written the scripts,” Howard said. “It’s in serious development, but there’s nothing to announce quite yet.”

Reports had also emerged that Warwick Davis, who played the titular Nelwyn dwarf in the original movie, was in talks to reprise the role in a “more mature” version. Howard confirmed that Davis is on board and was suitably emphatic about his involvement in the project.

“If it happens, Warwick will definitely be a part of it,” Howard said.

The “Da Vinci Code” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” director was speaking on the red carpet on Tuesday night at the Television Academy Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles.

Howard later made introductory remarks about the 2020 class of inductees, which was made up of Walt Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger, legendary actor Cicely Tyson, “Family Guy” and “The Orville” creator Seth MacFarlane, Nickelodeon and Oxygen Media co-founder Geraldine Laybourne and iconic sitcom director Jay Sandrich.

Kerry Washington, Robert Iger. Kerry Washington, left, and inductee Robert Iger, Chief Executive Officer of Disney, pose for a portrait at 25th Television Academy Hall of Fame at the Saban Media Center on at the Television Academy's Saban Media Center in North Hollywood, Calif25th Television Academy Hall of Fame - Portraits, North Hollywood, USA - 28 Jan 2020
CREDIT: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Iger was first up to the podium, introduced by “Scandal” and “Little Fires Everywhere” star Kerry Washington as “the ultimate Disney princess.”

“I know this may be controversial, but when you think about it Bob is kind of like the ultimate Disney princess. Hear me out, he began his career sweeping ashes out of the ovens at Pizza Hut, if that isn’t a modern day Cinderella, I don’t know what is. Then eventually, just like Cinderella, things changed when he befriended a mouse.”

Rendered at first speechless by Washington’s detailed analogy, Iger used his speech to reflect on the modern TV landscape and offered his thought on what the industry’s “number one priority” should be going forward.

“All of us Hall of Famers have witnessed a complete a rapid transformation of our industry, one that I don’t think ant of us could have imagined. But as daunting as that all is, it’s consistent with the sweeping changes that the world has seen and a world that’s a swirl with change needs all of us more than ever, because anxiety and uncertainty and contempt seem to dominate the headlines in people’s lives,” Iger said. “We need to make sure that woman, minorities and other underrepresented groups have the opportunity  to tell their stories, both on-screen and behind the camera, so that they may play a bigger role in contributing in more meaningful ways to the quality and resonance of the content that we create.”

Next up to the stage was Tyson, with Shonda Rhimes introducing her as a woman who “paved a black road through a thick, unyielding white male forest with nothing on her side, but courage and integrity.”

Tyson echoed that sentiment by saying that she dedicated her whole career, which is now entering an incredible 8th decade, to trying to make a difference.

“I decided to choose my career as my platform….I just could not afford the luxury of being an actress, there were some issues that I wanted to address,” Tyson said. “That it would bring me to a moment like this is nothing that I ever fathomed.”

Last up was MacFarlane who delivered a characteristically gag-filled speech which took light digs both at Disney, which now owns both his “Family Guy” and “American Dad” properties, and the Television Academy for inducting former CBS boss Les Moonves into the Hall of Fame back in 2013.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Television Hall of Fame alongside so many TV legends and Les Moonves,” MacFarlane said to both laughs and also groans from the crowd. “Don’t look at me man, you put him there.”

“I am receiving this at a time when I’ve passed yet another career milestone. Walt Disney’s ‘Family Guy’ has been on television for two decades. See Bob I’m towing the f—king company line,” MacFarlane then quipped, eyeballing Iger who was sitting in the very front row.

The night was then capped off with a drinks reception in the foyer of the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center, where guests such as Ann Sweeney, James Burrows and Don Mischer all mingled.

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