Rewatching the 1988 movie Willow scene-by-scene. Why? Because it’s freakin’ Willow! It’s the big happy ending, 1:56:20 to the end of the credits.
We cut from the previous scene’s “Well done!” to the exterior of a castle. There’s some debate here and there among fans as to which castle this is, but a quick comparison to earlier in the movie easily reveals that this is Tir Asleen. The unanswered question is just how much time has passed? It’s assumed that all these people are the ones frozen around Tir Asleen, who have now been unfrozen, and that they’ve cleaned the place up. A whole bunch of folks have gathered around for some sort of ceremony, with Willow and Fin Raziel in the center.
Raziel says, Willow Ufgood, receive this book of magic. You are on your way to becoming a great sorcerer.” There’s a shot of Madmartigan and Sorsha, with Sorsha holding baby Elora Danan. It appears as though the two of them have more or less adopted the baby. A man with a long white beard stands alongside them. I believe this is Sorsha’s father, and that they are now reunited, concluding this deeply-buried subplot. Willow looks through the book of magic, which looks like it’s about to fall apart. The Brownies are here, with Rool saying, “Willow the sorcerer” and Franjean adding, “You make us proud!” Willow gives them a smile and a nod.
Sorsha steps down and holds the baby up to Willow. He says, “Goodbye, Elora Danan.” Madmartigan sneaks up behind Willow, lifts him up, and places him on a size-appropriate Shetland pony, secured just for him. Madmartigan, wearing some sweet Ren-faire brown leathers, shakes Willow’s hands. They don’t say anything, just a knowing nod between them. Franjean is heard saying, “Goodbye, Willow!” Madmartigan gives the horse a gentle whack, and it trots forward. It cuts back to the Brownies, as Rool says “Farewell!” He takes off his mouse-head helmet to reveal he is bald underneath, and Franjean reacts with surprise, as if he didn’t know this. Then there’s a big exterior shot of the whole crowd in front of the castle, now with bright red banners hanging from the castle walls.
Fade to the Nelwyn village, and the recognizable area where the fair was held earlier. In the next shot, Willow reappears on his pony. A Nelwyn farmer spots him and cheers, “Willow! Willow!” Willow responds, “Hello, Regan,” so I guess they’re friends. Regan calls out to the rest of the Nelwyn, “Willow’s back!” In the next shot, Willow is surrounded by Nelwyn, happily cheering his name. Meegosh shows up and waves to Willow, and Willow says, “Hey, Meegosh,” reminding us of him from earlier in the movie. Burglekutt is there, pointedly not smiling and celebrating. The Grand High Aldwin quickly makes it the front of the crowd, putting his hand on Willow’s with a fatherly smile.
Willow takes a green apple out of a pouch and tosses it into the air. Calling back from earlier, the apple transforms into a bird. A little girl’s voice is heard saying, “A bird, he turned it into a bird,” in case we don’t get it, I guess. In yet another callback from earlier, the bird poops on Burglekutt’s face, like the baby barfed on him. The Aldwin gives Willow another knowing look.
Willow then looks out over the crowd. Kiaya and the two kids approach, apparently not noticing the crowd but going about some ordinary business. Willow calls out her name, gets off the pony, and runs over to her. There’s quite a bit of drama as the two of them run at each other, calling their names, before finally embracing and kissing. The kids are next, running over saying “Dada!” and “I missed you!”
Then the camera puls back, taking in the whole crowd surrounding Willow and his family. It pulls back even farther then, taking in this part of the Nelwyn village, and the Nelwyn valley beyond. Then it’s time for the end credits, which play over the image of the valley for a while, until the background goes black. Interesting end credits trivia: Famed comic book artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud is credited as a concept artist. The two on-set nurses both have the first name Nicky. The soundtrack was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, home (sort of) of Beatles!
And then this happened:
In first few pages of Shadow War, the world of Willow as we know it is destroyed by a worldwide cataclysm, killing most of the main characters and leveling most locations from the movie. Willow survives and renames himself “Thorn Drumheller,” transforming into a musclebound Viking type. Teenage Elora Danan eventually fulfills her destiny by leading the war against her true arch-nemesis, the Deceiver. Opinions vary about these books. I’ve read all three, and personally, I felt they were too dreary and downbeat, and not in the fun and adventurous tone of the movie. If the Willow sequel revival ever happens, these three books will likely be erased from continuity.
And that’s it for the Willow rewatch. What should I do with this blog next? Taking suggestions!
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