‘Willow’ Writer John Bickerstaff Describes Series Getting Removed From Disney+ As “Absolutely Cruel”

(L-R): Scorpia (Adwoa Aboah) and Jade (Erin Kellyman) in Lucasfilm's WILLOW exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Willow writer John Bickerstaff recently responded to a report that The Walt Disney Company would be removing Lucasfilm’s Willow series from its streaming service just six months after it aired its finale as “absolutely cruel.”

(L-R): The Doom (Daniel Naporous), The Scourge (Joonas Suotoamo) and The Lich (Vitas Le Bas) in Lucasfilm’s WILLOW exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

A report from Deadline detailed that The Walt Disney Company would remove Willow, The Making of Willow, Big Shot, Turner & Hooch, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Just Beyond, Diary of a Future President, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and The World According to Jeff Goldblum from its Disney+ streaming platform.

Other titles being removed from Disney+ include: Marvel’s Project Hero, Marvel’s MPower, Marvel’s Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever, Cheaper by the Dozen (remake), Rosaline, The One and Only Ivan, Stargirl, Artemis Fowl, The Princess, Encore!, A Spark Story, Black Beauty, Clouds, America the Beautiful, Better Nate Than Ever, Weird but True!, Timmy Failure, Be Our Chef, Magic Camp, and Howard.

Earth to Ned, Foodtastic, Stuntman, Disney Fairy Tale Weddings, Wolfgang, It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer, The Real Right Stuff, The Big Fib, Rogue Trip, More Than Robots, Shop Class, Pick the Litter, Own the Room, Among the Stars, Harmonious Live!, and Pentatonix: Around the World for the Holidays will also reportedly be removed  from Disney+.

Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) in Lucasfilm’s WILLOW exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

RELATED: Report: Lucasfilm Cancels Disney+ ‘Willow’ Series That Was Used To Try To Normalize Sodomy

The outlet also reported that Y: The Last Man, Dollface, The Hot Zone, Maggie, Pistol, The Premise, Love in the Time of Corona, Everything’s Trash, Best in Snow, Best in Dough, Darby and the Dead, The Quest, and Little Demon are being removed from Hulu.

Y: The Last Man Official Trailer – Season 1 via FX Networks YouTube

RELATED: The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger On Disney+: “We Realized That We Made A Lot Of Content That Is Not Necessarily Driving Sub Growth”

These removals come after The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger admitted in the company’s most recent Q2 FY23 Earnings Results webcast that the company “made a lot of content that is not necessarily driving sub growth and we’re getting much more surgical about what it is we make.”

“So as we look to reduce content spend, we’re looking to reduce it in a way that should not have any impact at all on subs,” he asserted. “We believe there is an opportunity for us to focus more on real sub drivers.”

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 27: (L-R) The Walt Disney Company Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger and Chris Pratt attend the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 World Premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on April 27, 2023. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney)

In fact, Iger went on to detail that many of these pieces of content that they created were negatively impacting Disney’s bottom line due to their marketing costs outweighing the subscription revenue.

He explained, ““And one interesting example — I should throw marketing in too — where when you make a lot of content everything needs to be marketed. You’re spending a lot of money marketing things that are not going to have an impact on the bottom except negatively due to the marketing costs.”

“One thing we also know is that our films, those that are released theatrically, big tentpole movies, in particular, are great sub drivers, but we were spreading our marketing costs so thin that we were not allocating enough money to even market them when they came on the service,” he said.

(L-R): Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Jade (Erin Kellyman) in Lucasfilm’s WILLOW exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

RELATED: Amid Promises To Promote More Radical Gender Ideology To Children, Disney Casts Transgender Actor In Willow

He even admitted that some piece of content programming were not driving any subscriptions, “As witnessed by the ones that are coming up including AvatarLittle MermaidGuardians of the GalaxyIndiana JonesElemental, etc…, where we actually believe we have an opportunity to lean into those more, put the right marketing dollars against it, allocate more away from programming that was not driving any subs at all.”

“I guess this is part of the maturation process as we grow into a business that we had never been in. We are learning a lot more about it. Specifically, we are learning a lot more about how our content behaves on the service, and what it is consumers want,” he concluded.

Kevin Feige, Alan Bergman and Bob Iger attend the Ant-Man and The Wasp Quantumania World Premiere at the Regency Village Theatre on Monday, February 6, 2023 in Westwood, CA.

In response to this report that Willow will be pulled from Disney+, Bickerstaff took to Twitter where he wrote, “They gave us six months. Not even. This business has become absolutely cruel.”

John Bickerstaff Twitter

RELATED: ‘Willow’ Producer Jonathan Kasdan Says Sequel Series’ Central Lesbian Romance “Keeps Alive That Spirit Of Moving The Fantasy Genre Into A Contemporary Sound”

He added, “Before you say tax-write off: these shows have already been released and so can’t be a write-off. And in the case of Willow, they own the property outright. The only conclusion is that this is to get out of paying residuals. During a strike.”

John Bickerstaff Twitter

He did admit, “And look, eternal streaming libraries are not sustainable. We’re all going to have to adjust to that at some point. But to spend [REDACTED] on a show and then disappear it six months later is just bad business.”

John Bickerstaff Twitter

Bickerstaff’s fellow Willow writer, Brittney Jeng, also reacted to the news writing, “My 1st ep of TV is being wiped from the streamer after only 6 months!!! This totes blows Disney!!! Before there were dvd box sets to have as a keepsake. Now it will be as if it never existed.”

Brittney Jeng Twitter

What do you make of Bickerstaff’s comments? What do you think about The Walt Disney Company pulling these shows from Disney+?

NEXT: Lucasfilm’s ‘Willow’ Audience Ratings In The Toilet, Described As “Farging Bestish Of A Crap Show”

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