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Christian Slater on Playing the Delightfully “Off-Kilter” Allagash in Willow

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The actor digs into the thrill of his cameo in the recent series, the hazards of stunt fighting, and how he’d like to see the character return in the future.

Christian Slater’s most recent return to Lucasfilm called for far more physicality than his introduction in the Star Wars galaxy in 2021. In the Willow series, Slater’s Allagash, the “raconteur” rogue who once fought alongside Madmartigan, is a mix of warrior and wit wrapped in a slightly-mad package. And after one faux fight scene called for a particularly fierce headbutting, Slater was left with a real black eye.

“Yes, yes, that did happen,” Slater tells with a laugh, although he declines to say if it was Amar Chadha-Patel’s towering Thraxus Boorman who delivered the perhaps too-realistic choreographed blow. “I’m afraid to confirm or deny. I don’t want to get anybody in trouble, but you know, look, it was a very physical, active [production]. He and I were going at it. We were having a good time! As goofy as some of the fight was, there were still some moments that were pretty hairy. So next thing you know, I was in the make-up trailer — we were all covered in dirt and everything and looking pretty filthy — and I just kept wiping my eye going, ‘What? This dirt won’t come off!’”

The combination of stunts and on-location shooting with the cast was quite different from Slater’s Star Wars project, as the voice of Ren in LEGO Star Wars: Terrifying Tales. For one thing, voice acting typically doesn’t result in a headbutting. But as it was recorded during the pandemic, Slater captured his performance as the swaggering leader of the Knights of Ren from home. “I recorded that under a duvet in my bedroom,” he says. “We couldn’t go to a studio, so I had to build a home studio.” It was a different kind of challenge, “but we pulled it off.”

In both cases, Slater was ecstatic to be invited to add to some of the storytelling he’s loved since he was child. “I was born at the right time, I think, for all of this,” he says. “I was 7 years old when Star Wars came out, so it imprinted itself on my brain in such a huge, massive way. It’s just followed me throughout my whole life and my whole career. To get the call and to get the opportunity to be a part of something like [Willow] was thrilling.”

“Rather goofy and fun”

Slater worked closely with series creator Jon Kasdan from the beginning, formulating the right mix of energy and wildness for Allagash, a man who’s been trapped in a Troll mine and living in a cage for years. From its inception, Kasdan was looking to recapture some of the magic of the original 1988 film — released the same year Slater made his Lucasfilm debut as Preston Tucker Jr. in Tucker: The Man and His Dream — that he loved since his own youth, a fantasy epic that never took itself too seriously. Created by George Lucas and helmed by director Ron Howard, the film made Warwick Davis its titular leading man, with Val Kilmer as the devil-may-care Madmartigan, a disgraced knight and Willow’s companion on the quest to save the baby Elora Danan.

As Kasdan was looking to write the next chapter for the series, Kilmer was unable to participate in filming due to health issues. So Slater’s Allagash, scripted as one of Madmartigan’s closest friends, had to fill the void left behind. “It was fun to try and recapture some of that spirit [of the film and Kilmer’s performance],” Slater says. “And it was a challenge, a hard space to fill. Val is just such a legend and was so brilliant in this movie and, you know, I was such a fan of the movie and of his.”

“Jon Kasdan called me and we had several Zoom conversations like this,” Slater says, referencing this call with “We talked about the background and what kind of character we wanted him to be. He was open to a lot of ideas, a lot of suggestions, and a lot of wild and crazy things.” In Slater’s mind, Allagash’s predicament fed into his character as much as what was known about his friend, Madmartigan. “Allagash is a guy who’s been trapped in this cage for 10 years. He’s gotta find all kinds of different ways to entertain himself. I felt like he would be somebody a little bit off-kilter and certainly a little bit bizarre. He’s had a lot of time to himself,” Slater adds with a chuckle. “He’s probably lost his mind a little bit, which I felt was appropriate for the Willow universe and also somebody who would’ve been a good friend of Madmartigan. He was a bit of a goof, which I really loved, and I figured the types of people Madmartigan would’ve surrounded himself with would’ve been rather goofy and fun, as well, and a little out of their minds already.”

And like Madmartigan and other reluctant heroes in Lucasfilm’s more than 50 years of film history, Allagash’s heroism is an unexpected turn for the rogue. “He’s somebody that you’re not quite sure you can trust, but his heart is in the right place and he is willing to make all the right sacrifices and moves,” Slater says. “He does have an agenda in a Han Solo-esque sort of way. He is, to a certain degree, out for himself. But at the end of the day, he sees the bigger picture.”


In Kilmer’s absence, Slater played many of his scenes opposite Ruby Cruz, as Madmartigan’s daughter, Kit. “She and I got along great,” Slater says. “I loved the whole cast. They were just such a sweet group of people.” The core cast had already completed more than half of the season when Slater arrived for Chapter 6, “Prisoners of Skellin,” forming a genuine bond and a kind of shorthand with one another through off-screen friendships. And they’d been working hard. But the team wasted no time in welcoming Slater, and he hopes he injected some new energy and excitement into his days on set. “Something that I’ve picked up from actors that I’ve worked with, like Anthony Hopkins and people that have been in the business for a while, they have a genuine joy and appreciation for what it is that they get to do.”

And although we last saw his character wounded and battling a swarm of Trolls, if the Willow series continues, Slater already plans to pitch his own headcanon to Kasdan that could spell the return of Allagash. “It’s certainly a role that I would enjoy delving further into,” Slater says. “He kind of gets enveloped by the Trolls and you don’t really know what happened. I mean, I have a particular theory that I would like to share with Jon. I like playing this character, so I’m thinking of ways that he could have found out of that situation. And I would love to see where this adventure goes, how we could further develop the characters and have more goofy fun. That’s what we want. We just want to be entertained for a little while, have a good time, escape the madness! It was a lot of fun, a real treat. The struggles are, you know, the black eyes. [But] it’s all part of the adventure. We get to play these crazy characters and have a good time. I mean, what more could you ask for?”

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