After watching the first two hours of The Shannara Chronicles last night, it’s clear that MTV was more than ready to bring Terry Brooks’ best-selling Shannara book series to life. We here at Nerdist loved it. And according to the author himself, who has been scouring the internet to find out how his fanbase felt about the show, the readers are loving it too.
“The readers are all pretty positive,” Brooks said during the 2016 TCA Winter Press Tour. “If anything, it’s a tougher show than they thought it would be. It’s an adaptation, for crying out loud. It’s not a paint by numbers experience. You’re looking to preserve the heart of the story. The way you put it together is going to change the visual form from what you see in the book.”
Executive producer Miles Millar agreed, adding that since The Elfstones of Shannara was published back in 1982, they had to make some changes to the story and characters to keep it fresh.
“Obviously the book is 20 years old,” Millar told the room of reporters during the show’s panel. “There are some changes but if you are a die hard fan, you’ll still have plenty to love and you’ll see the book you loved as a kid or teenager come to life.”
Jessica Chobot asks the Shannara Chronicles cast 5 questions:
In fact, executive producer Jon Favreau remembered reading Brooks’ Shannara books back in high school, and that’s why he felt so connected to the material. And he, along with Brooks, Millar, and Al Gough, all agreed that every change they made to the story was a mutual decision.
“We really clicked right off the bat,” Brooks said of all the executive producers working to adapt his novels. “We tried to find middle ground when there was any kind of dissension but I’ve never felt like it was a train going off the rails.”
One of the changes is that the character of Eretria, played by Ivana Baquero, will have a bigger role on the show than she does in the books.
“At the end of the day, it is an adaptation,” Baquero said during the panel. “In my case, my character goes through more adventures than in the book and I think that enriches the story. We were lucky to have so much material to choose from.”
Although the Shannara book series has been in film development for years before landing at MTV as a TV series, Brooks is still to this day surprised that his work is being brought to life as a show.
“Writers are all the same. When we start out, we just want someone to read our books,” Brooks said. “I never thought about the possibility of having it adapted into other forms. Along the way, you start to get glimmerings of what might happen because what’s happening to other people’s works. It’s something happening that I didn’t see coming but I’m sure glad it has.”
Brooks credits the fact that technology has advanced leaps and bounds since when he first published his books, making it possible to finally bring his world to life. And star John Rhys-Davies, who plays elf king Eventine, couldn’t stop gushing over how the final product turned out.
“It’s going to set a new expectation for fantasy on television,” Rhys-Davies said during the panel. “It’s going to cause a lot of headaches in production offices in town.”
Star Austin Butler, who plays half-elf, half-human Wil, is most excited for viewers to see his character evolve as he sets out on his journey to save the four lands from evil.
“When Wil starts out, I see him as the audience,” Butler said during the panel. “He is taught through the entire story how when challenges arise, the hero is within you and he will come up when you need him to. I love that. It reminds me of my real life so much, turning from a boy into a man, wading through these challenges in front of you.”
What did you think of last night’s series premiere of The Shannara Chronicles? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
The Shannara Chronicles airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on MTV.