31 October 2020

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Blog post #100! On 20 October 2020 it was announced that Disney+ is developing a television series based on WILLOW, a fantasy film from 1988. Director Ron Howard is now executive producer and Warwick Davis will reprise the title role.

Willow, 0:35:37
The story follows Willow Ufgood, a young farmer who lives with his family in the Nelwyn valley. One day, his children discover a newborn Daikini child, Elora Danan. She is no ordinary girl, on her arm is a special sign. According to a prophecy unknown to Willow, this baby will end the rule of the evil queen and sorceress Bavmorda (Jean Marsh). She has sent her amy, including her daughter Sorsha (Joanne Whalley), to find the baby. 

When Willow tries to return Elora to her own people, he soon discovers that both the baby and he are in danger. On his journey he meets all kinds of creatures and characters. One of them is the mercenary Madmartigan (Val Kilmer).

Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
Filming started in April 1987 and would last until October. Interior scenes were made in the Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England. Shooting on location took place in Wales, England, Ireland, California and New Zealand. Producer George Lucas also wanted to film in China but was not given permission by the government. Instead photographs of the Chinese landscapes were used in the background of some scenes.

In New Zealand a number of locations where chosen. If you search the internet, several places are mentioned but I have not been able to find out if all of them are actually in the movie. During the opening credits, when the midwife is on the run with Elora, the snowy nature reserve at Glenorchy in Paradise Valley, on the South Island can be seen for a moment.

Willow, 0:02:38
Paradise, Glenorchy, 19 January 2020

The other location that was definitely used is Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park, also seen in Mission: Impossible - Fallout and Alien: Covenant.
Willow and Madmartigan are looking for Fin Raziel (Patricia Hayes), the only sorceress strong enough to take on Bavmorda but she has been transformed into a marsupial. They find her in a deserted fishing village but are captured by soldiers of Bavmorda, under the command of Sorsha.
On the first screenshot the mountains are recognizable but the foreground is not, maybe the background was digitally added?

Willow, 0:58:29
Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
Willow, 0:59:50
Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
Willow, 1:00:07
Milford Sound, 18 January 2020
Willow, 1:03:48
Milford Sound, 18 January 2020

Screenshots © Lucasfilm Ltd/Imagine Entertainment