“The Shannara Chronicles” is gearing up for a seriously intense finale, with the fate of the Four Lands hanging in the balance now that the final leaf from the Ellcrys has fallen.
Zap2it sat down with Austin Butler (Wil Ohmsford) and Aaron Jakubenko (Ander Elessedil), as well as executive producers Miles Miller and Al Gough, to talk about where Wil and Ander are headed as the season comes to a close. Which moments from Season 1 resonated with them most? Find out below.
Austin, what can you say about your character going into the finale?
Austin Butler: I can’t say enough how the stakes get higher and higher, and as we’re getting closer and closer to Safehold, these last two episodes are intense and there’s loss and there’s sacrifice.
It’s hard because Wil’s now also starting to see that Eretria (Ivana Baquero) isn’t the simple Rover girl that he thought she was, she’s actually very selfless and very kind and that adds to a lot more possibility for loss there.
Aaron, what can you say about Ander now that he’s decided to take on his role as King?
Aaron Jakubenko: Yeah, “decided” and “taking on” are very different. There’s a scene with Arion (Daniel MacPherson) and Eventine (John Rhys-Davies) where they talk about it being a burden. No one really deserves the crown, it’s just something that you have to do.
If he [Ander] didn’t have to be king, he wouldn’t. He’d probably have a happier life doing something else, but he has to. He has to step up. He has to unite these people, otherwise the world has a great chance of falling.
I don’t know … if I was in that position, I’d like to think I’d step up, but who knows? But Ander does, and I think it’s a beautiful and admirable quality that was written for him. It’s been one of my favorite parts to play because that coronation scene that you saw the other night is where it starts to shift. The selflessness starts coming out.
Were there any scenes or arcs that resonated or felt very topical to you?
Butler: The “Pykon” episode … learning all that happened there, it just kind of reminded me of Guantanamo. Just kind of how when you peel back the layers of what seems to be so great on the outside, there’s so much underneath.
Jakubenko: I also think when you’re young – and even when you’re not – in a world where everyone has insecurities about things, I think seeing that on screen, especially with the three young people who are so appealing to a generation of children now, it’s their choices, it’s their decisions that they make.
Learning to love themselves and all these beautiful qualities, I’m so thankful that we get to show and teach other people, the kids of tomorrow. I’m really am so proud and so happy about that. I know that if we can teach people to be that little bit kinder or that little bit more honest, that makes the world a better place.
Do you guys do your own stunts? If so, what was the most challenging one?
Butler: I think the hardest thing – the most painful stunt – was being dragged by that horse. There was a safety rig that was supposed to keep me, like if I needed to pull it, then I could get apart from the horse. But that kept popping off and it would hit me in the face. So, I ended up with a bloody nose at the end of it.
Jakubenko: Speaking of bloody noses …
Butler: Yeah, he’s got a bloody nose story.
Jakubenko: I was mid-fight –- and I’m not going to say it was my fault, but anyway we’ll ignore that part –- and the sword bounced back and hit me square in the nose. This was in the middle of a take …
We got the whole scene done, we kept going, but as I walk back … the two [actors] who were in there were looking at me. I see them looking at my eyes, ready to act, but then they just look at my nose and blood’s just pouring down everywhere. Fortunately that was the only incident that I had.
Al Gough: [Poppy Drayton] almost lost her eye.
Butler: That was the worst. We were running down, it was when we were running away from … I’m not going to say, but we were running down the staircase. It was a real staircase on the beach in New Zealand, and there were all these vines and stuff, so we were running down and this one stick got her right in the eye.
She kept running down the stairs … and we’re running down and we have this moment, which is a really emotional moment, and I’m looking at her eye and her eyeball is bleeding. I thought it was just her being an amazing British actress.
Miles Miller: They can bleed on command out of their eyes!
“The Shannara Chronicles” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV