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‘Shannara’ Pilot in Development

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It seems logical that following the success of A Game of Thrones television studios would be jumping on the multi-book series of the fantasy genre, but none have been confirmed to be in development… until now.

MTV have revealed that a pilot based on The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, 22-time New York Times bestselling author, is in development. Terry Brooks, as a person, is a wonderful advocate of the fantasy genre and, even more so than A Game of Thrones, remains loyal to the genre to the point that the many have criticised his work for being too faithful to authors such as Tolkien. This may be a problem in literature where Elves, Dwarves and a return to a medieval type setting are seen as tropes, but, if done well, this could be a really epic fantasy television show that brings an example of epic, traditional fantasy to television on a scale that has never been done before.

Long ago, wars of ancient Evil ruined the world and forced mankind to compete with many other races – gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, and elves. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles until giant, forbidding Allanon, with strange Druidic powers, reveals a supposedly-dead Warlock Lord plots to destroy the world.

The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, only usable by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flies into the Vale to kill Shea. To save the Vale, Shea flees, drawing the Skull Bearer after him.

In total Terry Brooks’s Shannara work runs across 11 series, 35 books (including anthologised pieces) and more are coming… His writings in the world are not just extensive either, over 21 million copies of his books are in print and beloved by his many, many fans.

Jon-FavThe director for the pilot will be Jon Favreau. Who is he? Well, he has worked as an executive producer on Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Iron Man 3 (we won’t mention Cowboys & Aliens), which certainly whets the appetite. I’m glad to hear that he intends to keep Terry Brooks involved as an executive producer (although this may be a formality).

Deadline, who broke the news, have stated that the first season of Shannara will be based on the second novel in the overall series, The Elfstones of Shannara. It has been suggested that this move comes as a result of the feeling that the first book was almost ‘too’ Lord of the Rings inspired and that Elfstones is a faster-paced, better-written novel with more interesting characters on both sides of the protagonist/antagonist divide; exactly the kind of thing you need for TV.

ShannaraExcitingly, the team of Al Gough and Miles Millar have been chosen for scripting. They were the team behind Smallville and although Smallville had its faults, there is no denying that the team have been in demand and so, along with Favreau’s appointment, shows a commitment by MTV to bring in the big guns. It also makes sense to bring in a team that has balanced lighter and darker elements of a long series as the Shannara books are no where near as dark as A Game of Thrones.

The rumour is that MTV are pretty committed to a minimum of 13 episodes should the pilot go as well as expected.

If you are a Brooks fan you might be interested to watch the interview with Brooks we posted last week. It seems Mr Brooks was jumped on by an Italian fan and asked a range of unprepared-for questions that resulted in some great answers:

So, it seems the fantasy to TV revolution has begun: who’s excited?

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3 Comments

  1. Avatar JC Crumpton says:

    Fantasy (real Fantasy) to television has been a long time in coming. What an exciting time.

  2. Avatar Christopher Keene says:

    Damn right, Elfstones was the best choice.

  3. Avatar Jaedia says:

    The MTV brand gives me doubts but intrigued to see where they go with this one. And glad they went with Elfstones.. I read the prequel and book one and *yawn*. But the rambling current of Brooks’ dialogue literally can’t take over a TV show, so it should be good.

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