With the Willow TV series just releasing an appropriately epic first look trailer as part of Star Wars Celebration, many fans are now wondering whether Val Kilmer, who memorably played the roguish swordsman Madmartigan, will be part of the new series. Earlier this week, it was announced that Joanne Whalley, who played Sorsha opposite Kilmer, would return. Whalley and Kilmer were married in real life before divorcing in the nineties, but the two remain on good terms, with her playing a significant role in the recent A24 documentary Val. With Kilmer enjoying a renaissance of sorts thanks to his high-profile return as Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick, fans seem to want Kilmer back, and now the folks involved with the show reveal that he’s back – in a fashion.
According to executive producer Jonathan Kasdan, who spoke with Yahoo Entertainment at the event in Anaheim, Kilmer was approached to film scenes for the show, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was unable to travel to Wales to participate in the shooting. However, Kasdan notes, “Val has been in communication with Joann [Whalley] and I and Madmartigan is a character in the story and while we didn’t get to shoot with him on Season 1, we’ve made him a major figure in the story.”
While Kasdan’s answer makes me think Madmartigan may be dead, I sincerely hope that’s not the case. Even if Kilmer’s health is fragile and he’s unable to speak, he remains a potent force on-screen, and you could simply say that Madmartigan had an accident or health problem that made him mute. Things like this happen – even in a fantasy realm. Top Gun: Maverick addressed his health concerns by incorporating them into the film, and the result was one of the movie’s most powerful moments.
In the years following Willow, Kilmer remained close with on-screen co-star Warwick Davis, memorably satirizing his short tenure as Batman in an episode of Life’s Too Short. In the same Yahoo article, Davis called Kilmer “a terrific guy,” noting, “I still attribute me getting through the film to Val. He kept my spirits up when conditions were really treacherous and difficult. I was cold, wet, tired. He kept me laughing, kept the whole thing fun.”
The Willow TV series premieres on Disney Plus on November 30th, 2022.