Val Kilmer Forced To Pull Out Of ‘Willow’ Series Due To Health Issues


Val Kilmer was unable to reprise his role as Madmartigan in the newly released Disney+ sequel of Willow. The executive producer, Jonathan Kasdan, explained that his absence was due to the continued struggle with his health during the Covid pandemic. Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 and had a tracheotomy and chemotherapy to treat his disease.

“As COVID overtook the world, it became insurmountable; we were prepping in the spring of the year that it was most happening. And Val reluctantly didn’t feel he could come out,” Jonathan Kasdan shared with Entertainment Weekly. “We had to figure out a way to preserve the story we wanted to tell with him about how his story was playing out.”


Val Kilmer showed interest in reprising his role in the ‘Willow’ series

WILLOW, l-r: Joanne Whalley, Val Kilmer, 1988, ph: Keith Hamshere/©MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

Jonathan Kasdan told the news outlet that he approached an optimistic Val Kilmer at the beginning of the production with the opportunity of hopes of participating.


RELATED: Val Kilmer Opens About His Recovery From Cancer And Voice Loss

“I remember going to see Val right after this thing started to get some momentum, and I said, ‘Listen, we’re doing this and the whole world wants Madmartigan back and he was like, ‘Not as much as I do,” Kasdan recalled. “He embraced me when I left. He picked me up, and he said, ‘See? I’m still super strong.’ And I was like, ‘Great.’ We started building out the first season with the intent of having him appear. [It wasn’t clear we couldn’t get him] until pretty late in the process, frankly.”

WILLOW, Val Kilmer, 1988, © MGM/courtesy Everett Collection, WLW 046, Photo by: Everett Collection (399)

Kasdan still hopes Val Kilmer can still be in the series

Although Kilmer’s absence from Willow‘s first season is regrettable, Jonathan Kasdan believes that the 62-year-old might still be able to make a comeback to the big screen.

“We wanted to leave open the door to any possibility in the future and also honor the spirit of him,” he said. “We’ve tried to do that and work with him in a way so that he is felt and heard, if not seen.”

WILLOW, Val Kilmer, 1988, (c) MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

Jonathan Kasdan also sincerely hopes that Kilmer will be able to appear in the second season of Willow if a decision to produce it is made.

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