“Prisoners of Skellin” features the return of a major Willow character, with the voice of Madmartigan speaking to his daughter Kit. This is Madmartigan’s first “appearance” in the Disney+ sequel series, with Val Kilmer choosing not to reprise his role from the 1988 movie due to pre-existing health concerns amidst Covid-19 travel restrictions. Madmartigan’s impact and his legacy have been a significant part of the series, with Madmartigan’s daughter Kit being one of the main characters, the main quest being about rescuing Madmartigan’s son Airk, and Madmartigan’s wife Sorsha ruling from Tir Asleen. Despite her father’s absence, Kit has been desperate to understand what happened to him and sought answers at every turn.
Episode 6 gives Kit her best answer yet when she and Willow are imprisoned by trolls in the Dread Mines of Skellin and encounter a fellow prisoner – played by Christian Slater – who claims to be Madmartigan. Allagash pretended to be Madmartigan so the real Madmartigan could escape the trolls and enter Wiggleheim’s tomb to find the Cuirass. This leads to Kit hearing her father’s voice when she enters the tomb later in the episode, and showrunner Jon Kasdan explains on Twitter that, through voice recording of Kilmer’s voice combined with his son Jack’s, they were able to use AI technology for the audio cameo.
Madmartigan’s Episode 6 Cameo Explained
Kasdan explains that the Madmartigan voice cameo in episode 6 became a reality through recording Val Kilmer’s voice and then combining it with the voice of his son Jack Kilmer using the AI technology Sonatic, with Lucasfilm Supervising Sound Editor and Designer David W. Collins weaving it all together. Kasdan noted the uncanny match between the voices of Jack Kilmer and his father. Jack Kilmer is not only the son of Val Kilmer, but is also the son of Joanne Whalley who plays Sorsha, making it even more fitting for him to bring Willow’s Madmartigan into the show.
The voice cameo is not just fan service but it also serves an important role in the story. Hearing stories from Boorman or Allagash is one thing, but actually hearing Madmartigan’s voice as Kit enters the tomb and holds the sword he left behind is another thing entirely. It makes it much harder for Kit to leave the tomb instead of going into the strange light from which she hears the voice, even though it is unlikely to be her father’s real voice and is likely a sinister temptation. Feeling closer to her father than she’s been in a long time and being denied a reunion feeds into her anger in one of the episode’s later scenes, feeling that Madmartigan chose protecting Elora Danan over his own children.
Will Kilmer Return As Madmartigan In Future Willow Episodes?
It remains to be seen if Willow will get a second season, but if it happens, there is a chance that Val Kilmer could return to reprise his role as the legendary Madmartigan. He was originally going to be part of the show, and it wasn’t until the Covid-19 pandemic that he opted not to be part of it. Given how the world has changed since Willow season 1 was filmed, Kilmer may be more comfortable traveling now. Since then, he has also seen incredibly positive reception to his return as Iceman in Top Gun: Maverick.
As one of the most important and beloved characters of the Willow universe, it is difficult to imagine another season of the show without the charismatic warrior. Given how Willow, Kit, and Elora Danan have grown in Madmartigan’s absence, it feels like ripe story material to see them reunite. Similar to Top Gun: Maverick, Kilmer may not have a large role, but a physical appearance would certainly go a long way for the fans and for the characters in the story. For now, audiences can enjoy Madmartigan’s voice cameo in episode 6 and wait to see if Willow season 2 gets renewed.