Christian Slater being part of Disney+’s Willow is easily one of the most exciting things about the series. Slater’s career has spanned decades and includes some of our most beloved films and shows. He’s the kind of actor who, if they’re in a project, instantly makes you more excited about it. However, previous to this week—and with over half the season finished—the actor had yet to make his debut.
That changed with “Prisoners of Skellin,” which not only featured Slater, but featured him in a key role that linked the story of the original Willow film with this new show. A few weeks back, io9 spoke with Willow showrunner Jon Kasdan who told us why Slater was cast, and what the role means to the series.
In the episode, Slater plays Allagash, a friend of Val Kilmer’s movie character Madmartigan, who joined him on a daring adventure to secure the legendary armor called the Kymerian Cuirass. The pair, along with Madmartigan’s steward Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel), searched for the Cuirass for three years, leading them to Wiggleheim’s tomb in the troll mountain of Skellin. Madmartigan entered the tomb, never to return, and Allagash told the trolls he was Madmartigan so that his friend could continue the quest without being chased.
Sounds like a fun movie, right? Well, that’s what Kasdan had in mind when casting the pivotal role.
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“The idea immediately, once we saw where we were going with this, [is] there was a movie you never got to see,” Kasdan told io9. “It came out in 1992 and it was The Adventures of Madmartigan and it had Madmartigan leading a team of adventurers on a daring quest. And we thought, ‘Who would be in that movie?’ And Christian was the first name that popped into our heads.”
It was that pitch that Kasdan used to lure Slater in. “The first thing I told Christian when I was finally able to get him on the phone was exactly what I just told you,” Kasdan said. “And he said, ‘Absolutely, man, I would have been in that movie in a heartbeat.’”
“What’s amazing about Christian is he has a real genuine love of genre,” Kasdan continues. “He loves this kind of adventure story. He loves Star Wars, he loves swashbucklers and scoundrels, and he’s been waiting to play one. So it was sort of serendipitous when this role emerged and we wanted someone who could fill in some of the gaps in what happened to Madmartigan and what that quest would be. But the first and most obvious thing about it was that that person would not be someone we could trust. He would have to be a real con man and a double dealer and out for himself in every way. And that was the second thing I explained to Christian. And he was even more in because he does that naturally.”
Slater is excellent in the episode, portraying this duplicitous, boisterous but ultimately selfless man who, we think, may sacrifice himself for the other heroes. We’ll have to wait and see if he survives or if that’s it but, either way, Slater on Willow is a huge highlight of the season.
We’ll have more from Kasdan and his cast as we reach the end of the season. The first six episodes of Willow, including Slater’s, are now on Disney+
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