Willow: Who is Elora Danan?

Ellie Bamber as Elora Danan in the Willow TV series.
Ellie Bamber as Elora Danan in the Willow TV series. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

The legendary character from the 1988 film Willow is once again talked about at length in the sequel series now streaming on Disney Plus. 

The name of the show might be Willow but one of the most important characters in all the realms is Elora Danan. The young girl who was onced saved by the Nelwyn sorcerer is once again at the heart of Willow’s adventures.

The Disney Plus series reintroduced the character of Elora Danan in its prologue by revealing that the girl was hidden away for the sake of protecting her and the realms against evil. However, her importance in the lore of the show is reiterated time and time again throughout the show’s first episode, which ends by revealing who Elora Danan is now.

Elora’s narrative arc in the show relies on her gaining confidence and becoming more and more powerful in order to be a true asset in the quest of the unlikely group of heroes that make the main characters of the series.

But who is Elora Danan and why does she matter so much? Who portrays her on Willow? Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Elora Danan?

Warwick Davis with baby Elora

Baby Elora in the original film. (Image credit: Lucasfilm)

First introduced in the 1988 movie Willow, Elora Danan was born in prison and identified as the prophesied child that would bring the downfall of the evil Queen Bavmorda. Persecuted because of her destiny, Elora was eventually rescued by Willow Ufgood, a Nelwyn and aspiring sorcerer. Willow took on the mission to return Elora to the Daikini but found out who she really was along the way and decided to take her back to Tir Asleen.

In Tir Asleen, Willow, along with Madmartigan and Sorsha, defeated Queen Bavmorda. Before returning to his village, Willow left Elora in the care of the two aforementioned lovers. But the Willow series on Disney Plus reveals that Sorsha decided to keep Elora hidden in order to protect Tir Asleen and the rest of the realms from evil. Therefore, Elora was raised under a different identity and even she doesn’t know who she really is.

By the end of the series’ first episode, Willow joins the party and unveils who Elora Danan is. It turns out that the kitchen maid nicknamed Dove by Prince Airk is in fact the one and only Elora Danan, Last Blood of Kymeria, future Empress, High Priestess, Semprum Sorceress of the Nine Realms…and someone who really knows nothing about magic.

Why is Elora Danan important?

Elora Danan is destined to save the world. Against her, no evil shall prevail, but since she was not raised with that knowledge in mind, Elora has a lot to learn before she can face the forces of darkness.

In the Disney Plus series, we see the character train with Willow and become stronger as the plot thickens. However, being Elora Danan comes with a lot of responsibilities that the young lady who thought her only job consisted of making muffins did not sign up for. 

The show also reveals in its first episodes that the spirit of Queen Bavmorda, which was thought to be defeated at the end of the Ron Howard movie, survived. Elora Danan’s role therefore turns out to be even more important, because Willow had a vision of that spirit returning one day to destroy Tir Alseen, and all that stands between Bavmorda and this fate is Elora. But that’s not all Willow has foreseen. Indeed, his visions include the tragic destiny of the young sorceress, which is to die saving the world.

Who plays Elora Danan in Willow?

Willow star Ellie Bamber

Ellie Bamber at the premiere of Willow. (Image credit: Getty Images)

If several infants played the role of Elora Danan in the 1988 Willow movie (and make a cameo as adults in the Disney Plus series), it is English actress Ellie Bamber who picks up the mantle in the TV show. 

Bamber started acting at a young age and was the youngest ever member of The London Players’ Theatre. Balancing a career on stage and in film she was announced, in 2015, as one of BFI and Screen Daily's Screen Stars of Tomorrow .

At only 25, Bamber has already been featured in several high-profile movies and TV shows. She started off in the miniseries A Mother’s Son in 2012 but has since been seen in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, alongside Lily James et Matt Smith, Nocturnal Animals, with Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, with Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman.

Before Willow, Bamber was featured on the small screen in shows like Les Misérables, The Trial of Christine Keeler, and The Serpent. She also stars in a number of upcoming films such as Red White & Royal Blue, based on the novel of the same name, The Seven Sorrows of Mary, in which she plays the titular character, and Anna, alongside Ciarán Hinds and Jason Isaacs.

Willow is now streaming on Disney Plus.

Marine Perot is a freelance entertainment writer living in London. She has been writing about television for 10 years, which led us to work with various publications including Paste Magazine, Radio Times, Konbini, Giddy, and more. Her favorite shows include LostOutlanderGame of Thrones, and The Haunting of Hill House. When not writing, Marine enjoys going on adventures with her corgi and reading a good book.