A messiah and many dwarves.


A messiah and many dwarves.

On this occasion, I will talk about another George Lucas’s production: Willow.

The plot:

Once upon a time, in a kingdom ruled by a wicked evil witch queen, a prophecy promises that a little girl would be born, with a special birthmark, who will put an end to the queen’s regime.


Fearful that the prophecy would be fulfilled, the queen orders to examine all the newborn girls. Her intention is discovering the chosen one and practicing a ritual on her, which would banish her soul to the underworld.

queen performing the ritual
queen performing the ritual

But when the chosen one is born, her mother asks a servant to take her away. The maid hesitates at first, but eventually runs away with the baby. She can’t get very far before she is caught. But she does manage to put the baby on a river and send her downstream.

This is where our protagonist enters the picture: A dwarf named Willow.

This dwarf is a humble farmer, family man. He works hard in the fields and at the same time, he has to deal with a rich man who wants to take away his land if he does not pay his debts.

Willow is also fond of sleight of hand tricks and dreams of becoming a magician. The village magician organizes a test every year during a festival, to decide whether to take a disciple. Willow looks forward to being able to take the test and pass it.

Willow and the wizard
Willow and the wizard

But when his children find the baby by the riverbank, Willow’s life changes forever. First, he will try to take her to the nearest human population, to find someone to take care of her. But he will soon discover that it is not so easy, so he will take responsibility for keeping her safe.

In order to do this, he must face all kinds of dangers (including his greatest fear: trolls). But he will not be alone: A rogue warrior, masterfully played by Val Kilmer, who improvised much of his dialogue. Also, some goblins (played by two actors dressed as Indians and dwarfed with chroma key), a good sorceress and, surprisingly, the queen’s daughter who, for reasons that I will not reveal here, decides to betray her, all of them will assist our hero.

Madmartigan and the princess
Madmartigan and the princess

Will Willow be able protect the world savior or will the witch queen’s reign of terror prevail? You will have to watch it to find out.

Fun facts

  • The film is based on an idea by George Lucas. This was something of a consolation award, as Lucas wanted to film an adaptation of The Hobbit, but couldn’t get the rights to do so.
  • It was directed by Ron Howard (the same director of Cocoon). It was released in 1988.
  • This is the movie with the most dwarfs I have ever seen and it was for a long time the one that has used the most dwarfs.
  • The film was also one of the first to employ detailed CGI effects, by Industrial Light & Magic.
  • Some of the monsters and villains had names taken from famous movie critics of the time.
  • Filming took place in the UK, Wales and New Zealand.
  • Although it had modest box office success and mixed reviews from critics, over time it became a cult film.


Nintendo and Capcom created an RPG video game based on the movie. Capcom also created a platform game for arcades.

George Lucas devised a trilogy of books that would follow the film. The stories take place fifteen years after the film, with the baby messiah (now a teenager) as the protagonist. The books are Shadow Moon, Shadow Dawn and Shadow Star.

Here is the trailer:



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