Comic Con 2015 Coverage: The Shannara Chronicles

The Shannara Chronicles

On the second day of Comic Con 2015, some of the cast and the creative minds behind the upcoming MTV fantasy drama The Shannara Chronicles took to the stage to talk about the small screen adaptation of the classic novel by author Terry Brooks. The panelists included Poppy Drayton (Downton Abbey and When Calls the Heart), Austin Butler (The Carrie Diaries and Switched at Birth), Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth), Manu Bennett (Arrow and Spartacus) and legendary actor John Rhys Davies (The Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones franchises) as well as author Terry Brooks and executive producers Al Gough and Miles Millar.

Al and Miles were asked what drew them to the story created by Terry; and they shared they got involved years ago; but when it comes to adapting a book series of this scale, making a movie would have been difficult simply because the story is too raw and expansive.

Terry then shared that many people have asked him over the years when his books would be adapted as a live-action project, but until now he had not found anyone to do it the justice it deserved. Specifically he had promised his readers many years ago that he would not allow anyone to wreck it. He made it clear that it wasn’t until Al and Miles that he felt he had finally found the right people to work on the project.

There was some concern expressed about whether MTV was the right choice of a home for the series, but Al, Miles and Terry all assured that the network has been exceedingly supportive of the production and have “been great to work with”. Additionally, this will be a show that “has not been seen on TV before” and all three of the men felt that MTV is the network for the show.

When asked about the casting process, Al and Miles shared that they had the time to find just the right actors for the roles, sharing that “it’s a magic you can’t equate, it just happens”. Terry then joined in to say that “each of them (the actors who got the parts) brought something unexpected to their roles. There wasn’t anyone in this case that I felt was wrong (for their respective roles)”.

To further elaborate on the casting John Rhys Davies chimed in to say “that this will be an amazing project; everything about it is right. If this show doesn’t succeed, I don’t know what will”.

The actors then got a chance to talk briefly about their respective roles with Ivana stating that her character is “a bad ass” and that it’s “one of the most fun roles I’ve (ever) played” while Poppy said there is a “wonderful vulnerability” about her character that she finds so great to portray.

Manu then shared that his audition for this role was his first in Hollywood and then he learned it would be filmed in his home country of New Zealand while Austin had been thinking how great it would be to have his new project include horse-riding and swordplay only to have this project come his way.

And lastly when Terry was asked why The Shannara Chronicles was going to be based on “The Elfstones of Shannara” instead of “The Sword of Shannara”, he shared that the former has strong female characters, an unorthodox love triangle and “is a better book”.

The Shannara Chronicles will debut on MTV in January of 2016.