The Shannara Chronicles is the TV version of author Terry Brooks’ long-running – 38 years, over 25 volumes – book series that launched with 1977’s The Sword Of Shannara.
Set thousands of years in the future following an apocalyptic event, the series chronicles generational tales that blend magic and primitive technology and involves characters typically found in fantasy, among them elves, Druids and demons.
The show’s executive producers are Dan Farah (Ready Player One, being directed by Steven Spielberg; the remake of The Crow), Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Al Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville, who are also serving as showrunners). It stars Ivana Baquero as Eretria, Austin Butler as Wil Ohmsford, Poppy Drayton as Amberle Elessedil and Lord Of The Rings star John Rhys-Davies as Eventine Elessedil.
Its first season – a debut date for which has not yet been announced – is based on the second book in the series, The Elfstones Of Shannara.
“Elfstones is about responsibility for yourself and others, and how far you’re willing to take responsibility for what you know is right,” says Brooks. “You’re the little man, you’re going to get kicked, you have no chance, but you somehow find the strength to do what you have to do. So those are all part and parcel of the story. And I wanted some kind of an epic battle, so that became part of it, too.”
Brooks expresses excitement over the TV series, though it’s obvious that he has a fairly pragmatic view of the process of adaptation and the needs of a medium different from the one Shannara began in.
“You have to go into it with the idea that it’s a collaborative effort,” he states matter of factly. “It’s an adaptation. It is not a paint-by-the-numbers experience. So you have to be willing to step away and give space to the creative people in that medium to do the job they need to do.
“In the case of the Shannara TV show, that was kind of my plan going in, and it’s worked out, because the writers are great. They have been absolutely terrific, and I told them up front. I said, ‘Look, you do what you need to do, but don’t trample all over it please.’ And they haven’t. I can’t ask for more than that.”
The Shannara Chronicles will air on MTV in the US later in 2015 – a UK release date is yet to be announced. For more on the biggest TV series, pick up the latest issue of SciFiNow.