‘Happy Days’ Star Ron Howard Reveals His New Role With Highly-Anticipated Disney Plus Series

by Craig Garrett

Ron Howard recently elaborated on his behind-the-scenes role in the revival Of Willow, a cult hit he directed in the 1980s. Howard’s film career is in large part directly linked to legendary director George Lucas. Of course, a young Howard starred in George’s 1973 breakthrough, American Graffiti.

This film helped Happy Days get off the ground. American Graffiti also lead to Star Wars getting picked up at 20th Century Fox after all the other studios passed on the script. Willow, the 6th film directed by Ron Howard, adapted from a story by George Lucas. Lucas also executive produced the film, and his prolific effect house, Industrial Light and Magic, made the amazing visual effects.

Now Disney+ is expanding on the Willow franchise. In the new series, original star Warwick Davis (who also played Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi) returns as a wiser, older wizard. In a recent interview with Looper about his upcoming film 13 Lives, Ron Howard dropped hints about the Willow series. Howard is serving as a producer on the series, set to drop on November 30th.

Ron Howard details his producing role in the new series

“[My job is] not hands-on, not in the trenches.” The main creative forces behind the series are showrunners Jonathan Kasdan and Wendy Mericle. Howard previously worked with Kasdan on 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. While Ron Howard directed that film, Kasdan co-wrote and produced it. “However,” Howard told Looper, “I’m reading all the scripts, seeing dailies, seeing the cuts.” Howard has high hope for the series. “I’m really excited for the show,” he gushes.

Ron Howard feels the legacy he established in the original 1988 film is in good hands. “[The Willow series is] both true to the traditions of Willow and the work that we did then… [and] a real contemporary evolution of it, in a cool way that is entertaining. It preserves a lot of the humor but in a much more modern way. Jon and the team are great, and it’s great to see Warwick Davis back as Willow, wiser, but [still] Willow. It’s been fun to be a part of it.”

In a 2020 interview with Nickelodeon’s Astronauts, Howard dropped more hints about the upcoming show. “This isn’t a nostalgic throw-back, it’s a creative lean-forward and it’s a blast to be a part of it all,” he said. “On a conceptual level, the relationships, the details of the character, it’s a hero’s journey, but the ways in which they’re tested emotionally, who they are, what makes them tick, there’s nothing nostalgic about that,” Howard says. “It’s very relatable in ways that are still entirely consistent with the world that George [Lucas], and then with my help and Bob [Dolman] and others, tried to create.”