Val Kilmer had to abandon the character of Madmartigan in the Willow series

Val Kilmer had to abandon the character of Madmartigan in the Willow series

Actor Val Kilmer’s revival as Willow’s famous Madmartigan character was on the verge of being a fairy tale, until at the last minute he had to call off his participation due to failing health in recent years. Series producer Jonathan Kasdan told Entertainment Weekly that he met with the Top Gun actor to see if he was interested in joining the project. “We really wanted Val to come on the show,” said Kasdan, “and Val wanted to come. I told him, ‘We’re doing this and everyone wants Madmartigan back.’ And he said, ‘Not as much as me.’ The 62-year-old actor was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015 and two years later he made public his health problems. As part of his cancer treatment, the actor had to undergo tracheostomy surgery that permanently damaged his vocal cords and left a hole in his throat.

Despite his health issues, Kasdan told EW that Kilmer was excited to pick up his sword once more. “He hugged me when I left,” explained the producer. “He picked me up and said, ‘See? I’m still super strong.’ And I said, ‘Great.’” Due to his determination to return to the world of Willow, the first season of the Disney+ series was written to cast Kilmer’s character in a significant role. However, after production was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that the Batman Forever lead would not be able to take part. “We were preparing it in the spring of this year,” Kasdan explained. “And Val, begrudgingly, didn’t feel like coming. We had to find a way to preserve the story that we wanted to tell with him about how his story was unfolding.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the adventurous Madmartigan will never return to the small screen. “We wanted to leave open the possibility of any possibility in the future and also honor the spirit of him,” the screenwriter continued. “We’ve tried to do that and work with him in a way that is felt and heard, even if not seen.” Kilmer’s health issues also played a role in his appearance in Top Gun: Maverick, where he briefly reprized his iconic role as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky. Director Joseph Kosinski told Entertainment Weekly in June: “You had to find a way to bring Iceman back. We meet up with Val. He had the idea of ​​how to integrate Iceman in a really authentic way.” Like Kilmer, the character was unable to speak after dealing with a debilitating illness. Instead, he communicated with Tom Cruise’s character, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, via text, which is how the California native expressed himself at the time of filming. (Kilmer has worked with Sonantic to create a prototype that uses stock footage to create a new voice.)

Val Kilmer had to abandon the character of Madmartigan in the Willow series

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