Why Was The Willow Series On Disney Plus A Failure?


There was a vast amount of hype around the new Willow television series on Disney Plus, which served as a sequel to the cult 1988 classic of the same name. Fans of the original were thrilled to see Warwick Davis back as one of the characters who kickstarted his glittering career. However, the series unfortunately flopped.

There are various reasons why Willow failed to resonate with modern audiences, with its lack of a wider franchise likely hurting its chances from the off.

Willow Pulled from Disney Plus

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It was revealed on May 26 that Willow had been removed from Disney Plus, only a few months after its original release in November 2022. Series developer Jonathan Kasdan expressed his disappointment at the decision. The creator said that his team had already penned season two and is still hoping that it may be released in the future.

Willow enjoyed strong viewing figures during its eight-episode run, and each instalment was either the fifth or sixth most streamed show in the USA in the week of its release. Unfortunately, the critical response for the new fantasy adaptation wasn’t great. According to one review from a renowned critic of content from the genre, the series was packed with bizarre creative choices and terrible dialogue. The piece claimed that there was still potential for a good show, but there were too many rookie mistakes in this first season.

When Willow was originally pulled from streaming, many people believed that it was because it had failed to live up to the magic of the original picture. However, Kasdan later went on to claim that the show hadn’t been cancelled, but the actors would be allowed to pursue other projects for the time being with plans for a second season on hold.

Could Have Used Some Support on Other Platforms

Willow Cancelled At Disney Plus After One Season

Credit: Disney Plus

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It’s clear that Willow could have used some additional support in its marketing, and this is a mistake that needs to be rectified if it returns for another season. The new offering was watched by many loyal followers, but there are ways that it could reach a much wider market in the future.

Many of the most successful series on Disney do well because they have a wider franchise in place already. For instance, the Marvel and Star Wars offerings always drop to a readymade audience. The gaming industry can be a huge help to new offerings like Willow. There’s a strong argument to be made that licenced mobile or casino games could have helped promote it.

There are already fantasy-style games at online casinos that are inspired by mythology in the same way Willow was. For instance, Rainbow Riches slots use pots of gold and leprechauns and attract a lot of players who enjoy these themes. It’s a simple game with a 5×3 layout that could easily be replicated by developers who want to make something similar using Willow as inspiration.

If Willow returns to screens, it could be helpful if Disney Plus does more to promote the original film as well. If more people watch that and experience the magic, they may find themselves keen to learn more about this fantasy world and its rich characters.

At the moment, it looks as though Willow was a failure. However, there is a chance that it could bounce back stronger in the future. For it to be a success, the producers will need to explore other marketing avenues to boost its wider appeal.

What do you make of this feature? Do you think that Willow on Disney Plus was a failure? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. Dat Tong

    Agree with some things but strong viewership is spurious. It never made the Nielsen ratings for streaming, and other metric outlets like Showlabs which tracks actual minutes said it got incredibly low numbers (less than ⅓ of She Hulk for its first 2 episodes, and She Hulk had low ratings also).

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