Hannah Waddingham's Excellent Willow Cameo Came About Thanks To Sex Education

This post contains spoilers for the third episode of "Willow."

The Disney+ series "Willow" is a thing of many zany wonders. It imagines a world full of were-rats, truth plums, and prophesied heroes, but even its most imaginative elements pale in comparison to a galaxy-brained cameo in the show's third episode. Other fantasy shows may have witches and sorcerers, but do any of them have Hannah Waddingham playing a denim-clad forest lesbian named Hubert? Exactly.

Waddingham appears in "The Battle of the Slaughtered Lamb" alongside Caoimhe Farren, who plays Hubert's other half, Anne. The pair encounter a disheartened and unsure Elora Danan (Ellie Bamber), who they first think is a random girl named after the hero before realizing she is, in fact, the long-lost child who is meant to change the world. That description really undersells the scene's delightful weirdness, though. Waddingham's character is a quirky woodswoman with an axe named Roargoth that belong to her "dear departed pa." She and Anne eat roasted mushrooms while Elora tells her story, and dramatically pledge their lifelong allegiance to her when she finishes. Then, in an ironic twist of fate, Hubert is immediately killed.

The new "Willow" is a delightfully silly show at times, and the "Ted Lasso" star is a great match for its energy. According to series creator and showrunner Jon Kasdan, casting the actress came down to a serendipitous connection. In an interview with Collider, he revealed that "Willow" shares a casting director with "Sex Education," which also features Waddingham as the mother of a Moordale student. "We had talked about a bunch of people, and our casting director, Lauren Evans, had worked with Hannah before, I think on 'Sex Education,'" Kasdan explained.

'She's sort of a big nerd, and she loves this kind of stuff'

Apparently when Lauren Evans mentioned Hannah Waddingham's name, Jon Kasdan was sure the Emmy-winner wouldn't be able to make the shoot fit into her busy schedule. "I said, 'Well, that would be great, but there's no way we're going to get Hannah to come to Wales and do three days,'" Kasdan recalled. But Evans knew something Kasdan didn't. "She said, 'Well, I wouldn't be so sure. She's sort of a big nerd, and she loves this kind of stuff.' And literally 45 minutes later, we got a call back saying, 'Send Hannah the scene. She's so excited.'"

So Waddingham ended up in the scene as Hubert, a character who gets to engage in an axe battle to protect Elora, and deliver some of the show's most entertaining lines before she kicks the bucket. "We tried to make it as funny as possible," Kasdan said of his experience co-writing the episode with John Bickerstaff. He added that Bickerstaff pitched the idea that these two woodswomen would be in the middle of an average day when their lives are upended by Elora. "You get that chaotic energy and familiar imagery of someone running from a monster," Kasdan noted, only "to stumble upon a character who was completely oblivious to what was happening."

Waddingham's sendoff is quick — her character is dispatched by Ralph Ineson's dark magic-infected Commander Ballantine –- and based on the brief three-day shoot Kasdan described, it sounds like she may be dead for good. But we'll always remember Hubert, whose cottage-core lifestyle, high-waisted jeans, and brave loyalty can be an inspiration for us all.

"Willow" is streaming on Disney+, with new episodes debuting on Wednesdays.