NYCC ’15: Smallville Creators Bring The Shannara Chronicles To MTV

By Adam Wolfe

ShannaraAustin Butler, Poppy Drayton, John Rhys Davies, Al Gough, Miles Millar, Terry Brooks, and Manu Bennet talk Shannara.

MTV is bringing to life bestselling high Fantasy world of Shannara written by Terry Brooks. If you are the fan of the series, which began way back in 1977 then you will be excited to hear the show will be covering the second book of the first trilogy The Elfstones of Shannara. But, if you’re like me and are unfamiliar to the book series, that doesn’t really mean much. The panel began by showing us a clip of what the series had to offer.

Immediately I was excited as I saw a high fantasy setting that went a little deeper than game of thrones. There were trolls, elves, goblins, and rouges (my favorite class) all in the first five seconds! The gist of the plot is simple enough. There is a big magical tree that is keeping all the demons away, but the tree is dying and now the demons are coming. Austin Bulter plays Wil Ohmsford, the half elf protagonist. Though reluctant at first, Bulter agreed once he realized he would be “doing all the things he played with as a kid” such as clashing swords, riding horses etc. Manu Bennet, known for playing Crixus in Spartacus and Deathstroke in Arrow, will be playing Wil’s mentor Allanon. Bennet is not used to playing the good guy, but called his chance to portray Allanon “an honor.” Terry Brooks commented that Bennet brings a unique “intensity to every scene.” Allanon was called “part wise and noble druid, and party Crixus,” I love to see that play out. Bennet had nothing but great things to say about his costars, Bulter in particular whom he claimed was “something special.”

A big reason why The Elfstones of Shannara was chosen was the “strong male and female characters throughout the book. Enter the breath taking Poppy Drayton. She will be playing Amberle Elessedil, a badass warrior princess. Drayton said her character is “glamorous, but has a killer inside.” As John Rhys Davies emphatically put “watching Poppy run around in skin tight leather kicking ass for two hours alone, covers the price of admission.” He continued to say he wasn’t sure how the show could be any better, and fully believes The Shannara Chronicles “will raise the bar” for all of TV. Manu Bennet seemed to agree, saying “there was once film, and the TV. And you just couldn’t do on TV what you could on the movies.” He says the TV has become a fresh new revitalized media.

Miles Millar assured the panel that the Sannara Chronicles is “closer to Star Wars, than Lord of the Rings.” I found that tagline alone interesting enough to give it a watch. He says a key difference is, they are not on some fantasy land like Middle Earth, “this is our earth in a very different future.” He claims this helps viewers “connect” with the fantasy more. He also went onto say the Shannara Chronicles has more of a pure fantasy element and feel than say HBO’s Game of Thrones its obvious counterpart. “The elves, the trolls and the great grand quest” are all things that make any fantasy lover excited.  As for the fans worrying about the adaptation into this media, Terry Brooks confirmed that they have “protected the old books while trying to attract new fans.” He also made a point to mention the cohesion between the studio and himself. He seemed to understand creative changes had to happen for an adaptation, and assured us all the drama happened “on screen, not behind it.”

The Shannara Chronicles will premier in January 2016. As someone who has never heard of the book series, I can tell you my interest was very much peaked by this panel. I will definitely be giving this Lord of the Rings but really more of a Star Wars looking show a try!

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.