In the penultimate episode for Season 1 of Willow, a key arc emerges with a surprising hero that improves what Star Wars attempted with Finn.
The following contains spoilers for Willow Season 1, Episode 7, “Chapter VII: Beyond the Shattered Sea,” now streaming on Disney+.
In Season 1 of Willow, it became obvious there was something more to Prince Graydon. The Galladoorn regent killed his brother, but flashbacks confirmed he was possessed and has been atoning since. Coincidentally, after dark spirits took his body at Bavmorda’s castle at Nockmaar, Willow sensed Graydon had a strong connection to magic.
At first, it seemed like he was just a fanboy who read too many books and got obsessed with legends. But, hints have been dropped that he is as special as the naturally imbued Elora Danan. Episode 7 reveals a massive bombshell regarding his power, and it’s an arc that’s done much better than what Star Wars tried to do with Finn.
Star Wars’ Finn Was Botched as a Chosen One
In the sequel trilogy, Star Wars initially positioned Finn as someone in tune with the Force, ergo him wielding a lightsaber. Many expected him to learn with Rey as she uncovered her path as a Jedi, studying the texts from Luke Skywalker’s haven. However, the concept of the Force being for everyone, as introduced in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, was quickly dropped.
Instead, the series reverted to making it all about Rey as a Palpatine, giving Finn a gun and fashioning him as a backup character once more. This is why John Boyega has since grown disenchanted with studios that promise diversity, yet sideline characters of color. What makes it worse is this was such an intriguing concept, painting everyone as potential heroes once they dug deep.
Willow’s Graydon Maxes Out This Potential
On Willow, Graydon and Co. flee across the Shattered Sea on a magical sled only for the Gales to attack. They’re trying to take Elora to the Crone to complete the sacrifice Bavmorda failed at in the 1988 Willow movie. However, Graydon blasts the Harpy-like Dag out of the sky, using his flute as a wand. He got desperate, thinking it’d snatch Elora, so he protected the girl he loved the only way he knew how — with hope.
It leads to Willow training him in a brilliant sequence, admitting magic isn’t confined to select sorcerers — there are others out there who can be Chosen Ones, too. He confirms Graydon is one, as he can use his flute as a conduit, which means it’s flowing strongly through him. Willow even has him sparring with Elora, shooting blasts at each other and leveling up, enriching their sentimental bond and doing what Luke should have done.
Graydon also connects with the creature that’s pulling the sled, sensing it is hurting and releasing it. Like Rey and other Force-sensitive beings, he can communicate with animals, teasing the nuance eliminated with Finn. It’s a remarkable arc of compassion, empathy and shared power that doesn’t detract from Elora’s journey. Ultimately, Star Wars could have followed this route, having Finn as Rey’s partner and exploring their potential romance, rather than forcing him with Rose and her with Kylo Ren. Unfortunately, Star Wars‘ route felt repeated and inorganic, while Willow‘s tale with Grayson has much more heart, soul and inclusivity.
Willow’s Season 1 finale airs Jan. 11 on Disney+.