According to producer Jonathan Kasdan, the decision to feature of a lesbian romance front-and-center in the upcoming Disney Plus Willow sequel series was borne out of the “spirit of moving the fantasy genre into a contemporary sound” found in George Lucas’ original film.
Kasdan, who also served as Willow’s lead developer, offered his thoughts on the romance between protagonists Dove (Ellie Bamber) and Kit (Ruby Cruz) during a promotional to Polygon ahead given of the series’ November 30th premiere.
As explained by Polygon’s Susana Polo, whose misfired attempt at hyping the romance instead comes off as a comprehensive listing of every terrible writing habit representative of modern Hollywood, “Willow’s two mains are Kit and Dove, both young women who wrestle with the legacy of Elora Danan. But Kit’s own bildungsroman may come to overshadow Dove’s in conversations about the show, as a good part of her journey is realizing that she’s in mutual love with her best friend.”
“In a long overdue and welcome development for fantasy cinema, television,” adds Polo” and the Disney corporation itself, Kit (a self-centered tomboy princess who spends most of the series dressed like the Dread Pirate Roberts) and Jade (an orphan girl who wants to become her country’s first female knight) are as though someone took every tomboy fantasy heroine in the YA literature canon, tossed them in a blender, and flipped a big mad scientist lever from SUBTEXT to TEXT.”
Asked by Polo for insight into both “the process” of developing the romance and whether or not he had received any caution against its inclusion from Disney higher-ups, Kasdan confirmed, “There was no pushback.”
“What’s interesting is — I hope and I believe we’re at a moment where you’re going to see a paradigm shift in that,” said the Solo: A Star Wars story writer. “And hopefully, the way that it’s gonna happen is that these kinds of [queer] stories, particularly like this one, that were just organic to the narrative we were telling, find their way in, and it becomes less of a surprising and unusual thing to see.”
“Because it’s a part of the landscape of the world around us, just like the diversity elements of casting,” continued Kasdan.
“If you look at the original Willow, by no fault of anyone, it’s not very diverse,” he then asserted. “And as we enter 2022, the world has changed, in the way we’re absorbing entertainment, and the faces we’re reflecting in entertainment have expanded enormously, and we hope the show can be growing as the world grows.”
“Just as, frankly, the movie was,” he concluded. “One thing that I love about the movie is that you have this very classical fantasy, but at the heart of it, you have this very contemporary Val Kilmer character who has a sound that it’s unlike any other ’80s fantasy character that had ever been, and it was important to us to keep alive that spirit of moving the genre into a contemporary sound.”
As many readers may have observed, Kasdan’s allusion to moving a genre of writing into a vague sense of modern audio – well, just like that recap, it makes no sense at all.
Yet, interestingly, Kasdan is not the only Disney producer in recent weeks to justify changes made between a given source material and its 2022 live-action adaptation.
In a recent interview with The Wrap, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever producer Nate Moore offered an equally nonsensical assertion in defense of the Mesoamerican changes made to Namor’s character in the transition from the page to the screen.
“There weren’t really things we couldn’t do from a character perspective for him,” said Moore, “which is good because clearly, we took a ton of inspiration from the source material, but we also made some big changes to really anchor him in that world in a truth that publishing never really landed on, I would argue, in a big way.”
What’s the connection? Admittedly, there may be none at all. This may just be a case of parallel thinking, where two separate Disney producers just happened to trip over their own notions of self-aggrandization while speaking to the press.
On the other hand, it may indicate that, having realized that audiences across the political spectrum have grown tired of their constant virtue signaling and no longer buy the usual marketing lines, Disney has adopted a strategy of hiding the abysmal quality of its recent products with verbal smokescreens.
After all, as seen time and time again, no matter how poor the actual product or how hollow its messaging, all the House of the Mouse has to do to garner widespread praise is offer their acolytes the vague sense that consuming the latest product will contribute to social progress.
When it’s that easy, why would anyone offer anymore than a barely-coherent string of words that just sound good?
Willow premieres on Disney Plus on November 30th.