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Willow Watch

  1. Celebrate Willow’s 30th Anniversary at North Carolina Comicon

    Thirty years ago, Lucasfilm unleashed an unparalleled fantasy epic on unsuspecting audiences: Willow.
    Helmed by George Lucas, directed by Ron Howard, and starring Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, and Joanne Whalley, Willow paired character-driven humor with a a powerful, mythic story and ground-breaking visual effects. When the film debuted in 1988, it was met with minuscule numbers, but over the past three decades, its following has grown — from a pulsating lump of troll flotsam into a full-on raging Eborsisk of cult status and pop-culture influence.
    Our Lucasfilm podcast, State of the Empire, has been celebrating Willow all year long in special Willow Watch episodes — exploring stories from behind-the-scenes and beyond the movie. They’ve delved into the film’s origins, dug into its long-forgotten expanded universe, dissected early drafts of the script, and yes, looked for signs of the now very real possibility there could one day be a “Willow 2?. But one thing remains: throwing a massive anniversary party to celebrate the big 3-0. (more…)
  2. Willow Watch :: Early Scripts & Roads Not Taken

    Welcome to Willow Watch! State of the the Empire‘s spin-off podcast dedicated to the 1988 Lucasfilm fantasy epic Willow – In which breaking news comes in all sizes, and obsessive fandom is the greatest magic of all.

    This may be a show about Willow, but we’re starting to feel like Indiana Jones the way we’re unearthing all these forgotten artifacts from the film’s past. We’ve regaled you with tales from the Willow expanded universe, which we suspected were based on unused sequences from the film. We’ve discovered production notes hinting as drastically different scenes… and now we’ve found the tome that answers all our questions and pieces our crackpot theories together: a first draft, third revision script of Willow.

    Brace yourselves for elves that steal baby tears, inflatable crabs, man-beast troopers, a romantic rivalry between Madmartigan and Kael – and that’s just for starters. We use a hitherto unknown Willow young readers film adaption by Hugo-winning author Joan D. Vinge to help us determine which draft of the script the entire Willow expanded universe was based off of. Then we explore the very divergent roads not taken in this early Willow script – specifically a “selling draft” used to secure finances for the film. Find out what would happen if Willow was sent alone to the crossroads, discover the truth behind Moebius’ “King Kael” illustration, and just what was that stinky spell Willow was making?

    Through our Willow archeology, we’re not just uncovering the untold history of one of the most beloved fantasy films of all-time, we’re also gleaning an unparalleled look into the Lucasfilm franchise machine in its prime. (more…)

  3. Willow Watch :: Behind-the-Scenes & Beyond the Film

    Welcome to Willow Watch! State of the the Empire‘s spin-off podcast dedicated to the 1988 Lucasfilm fantasy epic Willow – In which breaking news comes in all sizes, and obsessive fandom is the greatest magic of all.

    If you think you’ve got the world and characters of Willow all figured out – it’s time to forget all you know, or think you know.

    Lethal fishboys, deathbears, sorceress love triangles, and shocking backstories abound as we dig into the film’s deleted scenes, the extra context of the novelization, and the universe-expanding sourcebook. We also look to Moebius’ concept art for Willow, props and production notes revealing what might have been, the animated series that never happened, and the television show that Lucas himself teased.

    Willow is a film that builds a big world out of small perspectives – working magic that larger fantasy epics struggle to, even with modern effects. The further down the Nelwyn mine we go, the richer and more exciting the movie becomes. Hear us dramatically recreate tale of how Sorsha chose the sword over sorcery, and indulge in awesome character expansion for unsung heroes like Vohnkar and even get some charisma stats on Llug. (“Wanna breed?”) (more…)

  4. Willow Watch :: The Road to Willow 2

    Welcome to Willow Watch! A podcast dedicated to the 1988 Lucasfilm fantasy epic Willow – In which breaking news comes in all sizes, and obsessive fandom is the greatest magic of all.

    Willow Watch has been a reoccurring feature since our Star Wars podcast, State of the the Empire, began in 2012 – when Disney bought Lucasfilm and we first asked: does… that mean there could be more Willow? Over the years we’ve learned that the answer is an emphatic “YES!” Not only do we want it, not only do the cult film’s myriad fans want it, but the stars and the director want it too. Now, just in time for Willow‘s 30th anniversary, director Ron Howard has returned to Lucasfilm with Solo: A Star Wars Story, he’s working again with Warwick Davis, AND he’s admitted that there could be more Willow on the way. THE BONES HAVE SPOKEN!

    In celebration of Willow‘s 30th anniversary and this momentous news, throughout 2018 we’re doing a series of Willow Watch specials. First up, we’re recounting the past 6 years of Willow rumors and discoveries, archiving the best of our Willow Watch segments embedded in State of the Empire. In this episode we’ve chronicled the long road to the hypothetical “Willow 2” – from the tongue-in-cheek speculation to the barrage of legitimate rumors and hearsay that have culminated in this uncanny moment where dreams and fate have intertwined! (more…)

  5. Willow Watch Special :: Interview with Willow Screenwriter Bob Dolman

    willowwatch1 600We interrupt State of the Empire‘s regularly scheduled Star Wars news and updates for a Nerdy Show event that’s been years in the making: our first full-length installment of Willow Watch and an interview Willow screenwriter Bob Dolman!

    Yes, the bones have spoken. Our ongoing investigation into the 1988 Lucasfilm fantasy epic, Willow, has led us on an incredible journey. What began as a flight of fancy that we might someday see a Willow 2 from Disney has become a mad quest to track down the full story of this fantastic film and signs of what might come next. We’ve uncovered strange expanded universe secrets from novelizations and source books, dissected a long-forgotten animated series that never came to fruition, and speculated on the existence of much behind-the-scenes worldbuilding. Warwick Davis has been talking about the possibility of Willow 2 for ages, director Ron Howard recently said “never say never”, and here we are – potentially on the precipice of a new dawn for the nearly 30 year old fan favorite.

    What better time for Cap, Doug, and Matt to team up with the man who wrote the world of Willow into life? For the first time ever, hear the full story of how the film came to be – from Lucas’ early outline, to a fortuitous dinner with myth master Joseph Campbell, and remarkable on-set moments. Bob’s got unprecedented insights into the creative process of working with George Lucas, tales of Nelwyn hookups, the of the infamous deleted boat sequence, and so much more. Let’s face it, without this episode you’ll dwell in darkness. Step into an incredible world of behind-the-scenes adventure: (more…)

  6. Awesome Nerdy Costumes in Regular Show: Terror Tales of the Park V


    Every year, Regular Show takes part in the great Halloween tradition of spooky anthology episodes. Theirs is called “Terror Tales in the Park” and in this year’s installment the gang got done up in some eclectic nerdy costumes. Left to right we’ve got Benson as Sherlock Holmes, Pops as Tom Baker’s iteration of Doctor Who, Rigby as M. Bison from Street Fighter, Mordecai as Bruce Lee’s character… Lee from Enter the Dragon, Skips is John Rambo, High Five Ghost is Willow Ufgood, and Muscle Man is Snake Plisskin.

    Let’s back that up… FIVES IS WILLOW UFGOOD. (more…)

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