Why ‘Willow’ Revealed Elora Danan’s True Identity At The End Of Episode 1 – Nifey

Spoiler for willow Episode 1 ends before!

One of the most exciting things about the new Disney+ series willow is that it’s a fantastic show that doesn’t taunt the audience with its mysteries. At the end of willow Episode 1, we know who Elora Danan is nowadays. There is no complicated puzzle for the audience to theorize about. We’re not teased that Erin Kellyman’s red-haired warrior Jade is a modern-day version of Willow (Warwick Davis) and her fellow proteges in the film. We are never led to believe that Kit (Ruby Cruz) is secretly the child destined to become Empress. We don’t have to wait for the season finale to learn that Halbrand is Sauron kitchen maid “Dove” (Ellie Bamber) is really Elora Danan.

Let’s go back for a minute. Disney+ willow is the long-awaited sequel to the cult 1988 film about a magical child destined to save the world by defeating the evil witch queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh). The baby, named Elora Danan, is secreted out of Bavmorda Castle before the queen can kill her and drift down a river. When discovered by the children of Nelwyn Willow Ufgood, the aspiring witch embarks on an epic journey to bring the baby to safety. He finally defeats Bavmorda with a cunning trick and it seems all is well. The baby will grow up to be a great witch and empress of all lands.

Because the new Disney+ series takes place 20 years after the movie, it’s time to meet that adult version of Elora Danan. We are first told that no one knows what happened to him. In episode 2, we are told that Sorsha (Joanne Whalley) hid her for her safety and happiness. Elora grew up as Brunhilde, nicknamed Dove, and eventually became a talented housekeeper in the castle. When she falls in love with Sorsha’s son, Airk (Dempsey Bryk), “Dove” is drawn into the quest to save the prince from his evil captors. This is how she ends up crossing Willow’s path and discovers her true identity. At the end of willow Episode 1.

Willow and baby Elora Danan, who holds the wand, in 'Willow' (1988)
Photo: Everett Collection

Yeah, unlike other major fantasy series – *cough* The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power *cough* –willow doesn’t wait for the season finale to reveal its biggest cast. “Not us!” willow Showrunner Jonathan Kasdan laughed when Decider asked about it.

“Well, for me, a lot of the DNA of the show was that we thought the movie suggested a sequel in a way that almost very few things these days make that clear,” Kasdan said. “Having a baby at the center of a story like this, to tell us, the audience, that she has this tremendous power, that was the story that we thought the movie had promise for and that was the story we wanted to tell.”

Elora Danan may not be aware of her true identity, but actress Ellie Bamber told Decider she knew “early on” in the casting process that she was in the running to play the legendary character. .

“Dove/Elora on the show goes through this incredible journey of self-discovery. At the end of Episode 1, there’s this total shock because she could never, ever conceive that it would ever be her destiny or anything like that,” Bamber said. “Then I think throughout the show she’s going down the path of acceptance and figuring out what that means and how she’s going to move forward with that knowledge and how she’s going to help people around of her.”

“Because, you know, I think she has this amazing heart and always sees people with a beautiful view of every person, you know? She sees the true good in people. So, I think she immediately wants to help the people around her and she realizes that it’s her destiny and that’s what she’s going to have to do.

Ellie Bamber as Dove in 'Willow' (2022)
Picture: Disney+

Kasdan added that they also wanted to go straight to the reveal of Elora Danan so they could tell the story of how she would become the witch she was destined to be. “We loved the idea that she wouldn’t be aware of who she was, that we could go through this whole journey with her. But we wanted to get to this trip and we really wanted to get there. We wanted to know more about what it’s like when she starts learning witchcraft,” Kasdan said.

“The way Ellie threw herself into this character and this character and this fun was inspiring. And when we saw Warwick and Ellie practice on our sets and in our broken sea places [in future episodes], you are cold. I absolutely looked at my producer and said, “See, that’s why we did this thing.” And he accepted.

Warwick Davis told Decider that “Ellie has done a wonderful job capturing the kind of innocence and spirit of who [I] thought Elora Danan should be a character.

“I mean, she has the beautiful innocence, the charm that, you know, we saw that baby grow up. Also, this kind of peculiarity in her. You know, Elora is a special type of character with abilities beyond most people’s abilities and they just need to be nurtured and enhanced. Like, Ellie really captured that brilliantly in her performance.

Elora Danan: baby plus.

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Why ‘Willow’ Revealed Elora Danan’s True Identity At The End Of Episode 1 – Nifey

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