When it comes to fantasy novels, there are certain works that are considered almost compulsory reading for fans. Not necessarily because they are all the best books out there, but it’s just sort of a tiered rite of passage that everybody does because, well, everybody else did. There’s Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”, of course, David Gemmel’s “Waylander” series and “The Belgariad”, Usurla K. LeGuin’s “Earthsea” works, Stephen R. Donaldson’s “Thomas Covenant” chronicles, some of Robin Hobb’s”Assassin” books and more.
One such title that definitely belongs on that list is Terry Brooks’ epic “Sword of Shannara” series, a different twist on the usual post-apocalyptic formula as it’s set thousands of years into our future, but a future in which magic and elves and other creatures abound. And which, to my fantasy fanboy shame, I have actually never read. Maybe this was why, going into this weekend past’s Comic-Con, the panel for The Shannara Chronicles, MTV’s live-action adaptation of the series, barely registered on my radar. I really should have been paying more attention though.
The first trailer/introduction to the series was shown and it looks damn amazing, showing off truly fantastical visuals, feature film-level production values, cool elf magic and more. The video also introduces us to the series showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville), and its principal cast: Manu Bennet as Allanon, the wise druid; Ivana Baquero as Eretria, a street-smart young human girl who grew up rough; Austin Butler as Will Ohmsford, a half-elf boy who tries to hide his Elvish heritage; Poppy Drayton as Amberle Elessedil, an elf princess; and John Rhys-Davies as King Everntine, ruler of the Elves.
Check it out below.
Terry Brooks’ message of assurance to longtime fans: “I promised my readers, over the years faithfully, that I would not betray their trust in the integrity of the book by giving it away to someone who was going to wreck it. And the only way to really do that is to be actively involved in the process. Luckily, Al and Miles were very willing to work with me.”
Gough and Millar’s on why the show can be created now, 30 years after the books were released: “The medium has caught up with the book. With Terry’s work, you see how many people have ripped [Terry] off over the ages.” It was crucial to have Brooks himself involved intimately in the process, because “when [you] don’t have the author invovled, that’s when things are going to go to hell.”
Rhys-Davies gives a special message to a certain Lord of the Rings co-star: “I would like to address this to a certain elf that I worked with on a different show…from dwarf to elf-king! Eat your heart out, Orlando Bloom!”
Brooks on why the series is actually adapting the second book in the series, “Elfstones” and not the first “Sword of Shannara”: “Elfstones has a much broader scope in plotting. It has strong female characters, and I felt strongly that the network and writers would want to have strong female characters. I also felt that the love triangle, that is an unorthodox kind of love triangle, would be attractive to the network and audience. [And] I hate to say this, but I also think it’s a better book [than the first one]… That gave me a strong push in deciding what ot do with it.”
The Shannara Chronicles will debut in January 2016.
Last Updated: July 14, 2015