Well, for starters, we know that the upcoming series will be titled The Shannara Chronicles, and will start by covering the second book of the original Sword of Shannara trilogy, called The Elfstones of Shannara. This I am actually very happy to hear about, as it’s my favourite book in the series, and I’m sure many other long-time fans of the series would agree.
For those not familiar with the Shannara novels, they are the masterworks of high fantasy author Terry Brooks. Born in the same decade that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was published, Brooks has been instrumental in shaping the high fantasy genre we know and love today. His stories are set in The Four Lands – a place which is essentially our Earth many hundreds of years after a nuclear war. Elfstones sees protagonist Wil Ohmsford, born with the blood of the legendary Jerle Shannara in his veins, accompany an elf named Amberle on a quest to save an Elven tree. Oh, and the tree protects the world from demons. It’s a great adventure, and I hope you’re looking forward to see who they will cast.
On that note, we already have word that Poppy Drayton will be playing the part of Amberle. You may recognise her from Midsomer Murders and Downton Abbey, and I’ve never been happier! She looks like she will fit the role perfectly.
Ivana Baquero of Pan’s Labyrinth fame will play action-girl Eretria the Rover, and Manu Bennett (Slade from Arrow) will play the druid Allanon. Also on the cast list is Daniel MacPherson (Neighbours) and John Rhys Davies (none other than Gimli from The Lord of the Rings).
Playing the part of Wil Ohmsford we have Austin Butler, an ex-Hannah Montana actor who has come into his own recently, so we won’t hold that against him! You may recognise him as Chase from Arrow, and weirdly, his face happens to look incredibly similar to Wil’s from the Elfstones cover art. So great things, we hope! Also, we’re noticing a trend in that this is yet another person who has come over from The CW’s Green Arrow retelling.
The series is going to be filmed in New Zealand, because of course, it’s High Fantasy land. I’ve seen actors typecast before, but this country I swear is starting to suffer the same treatment!
It’s being made by Dan Farah of Farah Films, who plans for a Game of Thrones style series. I have to say, I’m glad that the mainstream interest in Game of Thrones has allowed other fantasy classics to come under the limelight like this.
Another reason this is kicking off now is that Warner Brothers had been squatting on the rights until they expired in 2010, after which Sonar Entertainment bought them up, and now that there’s evidence that other high fantasy TV series can do well, it’s time to bring out the big guns with an adaptation of this classic series.
The US release date is currently listed as July 2015, so only a few months away! We will keep you updated on this, and on UK availability, when we hear more.
Now, before this series comes to pass – who’s with me for a spirited re-read of Terry Brooks’ high fantasy masterpieces?