Two hundred moons after the events of 1988’s Willow, a new Disney+ series with the same name steps back into the world of magic and adventure. The film ended with Elora Danan, the chosen one, safe and sound. But what happens when she comes of age? That’s where the Willow TV series picks up, exploring a world in danger from darkness. Willow Ufgood returns, as does Sorsha. They join a cast of new characters, including Sorsha’s children with Madmartigan, Kit and Airk. Madmartigan himself, however, has not appeared in the series. Despite that, we do hear about Madmartigan and even get introduced to an imposter in the series. Willow hints that Madmartigan is still out there. He’s alive. It’s just a matter of finding him.
We learn Madmartigan left on a quest and never returned home. Though they had to move on, his family has had no closure. Kit and Airk, very clearly the progeny of the rogue-ish figure, comment on their missing father. Boorman, part of the quest to find Airk, is an associate of Madmartigan. The enigmatic adventurer has stories to tell, and Kit is ready to listen. She wants to find any clue that might explain why her father has been gone.
In a fun guest role, Christian Slater plays another associate of Madmartigan in episode six of the series. The trolls have kept him captive for 10 years. He introduces himself as Madmartigan, though obviously Kit and Willow know he’s an imposter. He claims he used the name to distract the trolls so the real Madmartigan could save the world. His real name is Allagash.
Showrunner Jon Kasdan shared of the role, “The idea immediately, once we saw where we were going with this, [is] there was a movie you never got to see… It came out in 1992, and it was The Adventures of Madmartigan, and it had Madmartigan leading a team of adventurers on a daring quest. And we thought, ‘Who would be in that movie?’ And Christian was the first name that popped into our heads.”
Allagash brings Willow and the others to the door through which Madmartigan disappeared. Kit finds Madmartigan’s sword and even hears his voice calling for her in the Willow series. It certainly sounds like Val Kilmer, but it’s actually a combination of his voice and the voice of his son, Jack Kilmer. Kasdan shares more about the process of creating Madmartigan’s voice in a tweet.
Additionally, Madmartigan’s heroic theme from the original movie even plays a few times throughout these Willow scenes. In other words, Madmartigan’s presence looms over Willow even though he hasn’t appeared yet. During a recent press conference for the series, Kasdan even said, “Madmartigan is still out there. I’ve had many conversations with everyone involved, and our feeling is he is out there to be found, should the day arrive.”
Including the key character in the series was a conversation from the beginning. However, Val Kilmer, who portrayed Madmartigan in Willow, couldn’t make it to Wales for filming. That doesn’t rule out some kind of appearance in the future. And now that Kit hasn’t just heard tales of her lost father but heard his voice for herself, it seems all the more likely Madmartigan will turn up in the future of Willow.
New episodes of Willow air on Wednesdays on Disney+.
Originally published November 30, 2022.