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John M. Chu announces his departure from Disney+ series Willow

John M. Chu at the Crazy Rich Asians Premiere
John M. Chu and wife Kristin Hodge at the "Crazy Rich Asians" premiere on August 21, 2018. (Image credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Jon M. Chu announced he would be parting ways with the Disney+ Willow series. 

The Crazy Rich Asians director announced on his Twitter account that he would no longer be able to work on the show due to scheduling problems created by COVID-19.

With the UK entering its third national coronavirus lockdown last week, Willow’s production dates have had to be moved again. Filming was meant to start in Wales later this year but has to be reorganized in line with the UK's newest guidelines. 

On a lighter note, the other complication comes with the surprise that John M. Chu and his wife, Kristin Hodge, are having a third child together. Their baby is due at some point in the summer!

John M. Chu was originally meant to direct Willow’s pilot episode and then serve as an executive producer alongside showrunners Jonathan Kasdan and Wendy Mericle.

Chu said: "I’m heartbroken to let you all know that I unfortunately have to step away from directing Willow. With the production schedule moving due to continued lockdowns in the UK, and with a new baby coming this summer (surprise!), the timing is just not going to work for me and my family."

The director is a lifelong Willow fan, calling it one of his favorite movies in the post. He even named his first daughter Willow, named after the original 1988 film which stars Warwick Davis. 

John M. Chu does still, promise that the remaining creative team (which includes the original director Ron Howard) have a great series in store when the Willow sequel does continue production.

You can read the full statement from Chu below:

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John M. Chu is no stranger to COVID-related complications. His upcoming movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-winning musical, In the Heights, was meant to have released last June. However, the film’s release was shelved until June 18, 2021, nearly a full year later.  

The Willow series was slated to release on Disney+ in 2022. No announcements have been made whether Chu's departure will have any effect on this release date.