Director Jon M Chu departs Disney+ series Willow

He blamed scheduling conflicts partly caused by the pandemic.

Filmmaker Jon M Chu has announced he will no longer be working on the Disney+ series Willow, revealing his wife is pregnant and “the timing is just not going to work for me and my family”.

Chu, known for his work on Crazy Rich Asians, cited scheduling concerns partly caused by pandemic-related production delays in the UK.

He had been set to direct the pilot and serve as executive producer of Willow, a series based on the 1988 film of the same name.

The series is expected to begin production in Wales, where much of the original film was shot.

Announcing his decision to leave the project, Chu said: “I’m heartbroken to let you all know that I unfortunately have to step away from directing Willow.

“With the production schedule moving due to continued lockdowns in the UK, and with a new baby coming this summer (surprise!), the timing is just not going to work out for me and my family.”

Chu, who directed the upcoming musical drama In The Heights, described Willow as one of his favourite films and told of his sadness at missing out.

He added: “Like a kid seeing Willow for the first time in the ’80s, I will look forward to watching this magical new world unfold as a very enthusiastic fan.”

Disney+ fantasy adventure Willow, set in an age of swords, sorcery, myths and monsters, will take place years after the events of the original film, which was directed by Ron Howard.

Warwick Davis will reprise his role in the TV series, having starred in the original.

Davis will return as titular hero Willow Ufgood, while Howard will serve as executive producer.

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