For years, Terry Brooks thought that if “The Shannara Chronicles” ever made it to the screen it would be a movie, but he agrees with the producers that television is the only way to tell such a sweeping tale.
“I promised my readers over the years faithfully that I would not break their trust and ruin the integrity of the work by giving it to someone who would wreck it,” Brooks says. The right people were found at MTV as they took the chance on their most ambitious series yet.
“MTV have been incredible partners on this. They saw the opportunity to bring this to TV,” executive producer Miles Millar chimes in. “This is a show that no one has ever seen before. They had the vision to do it.”
It’s also finally making it to the screen because the technology has caught up with the book’s vision. “The medium caught up with the book,” says producer Al Gough. “The best way to tell this story was with this 10-episode series.”
The cast and crew know that to make this series work, they must involve Brooks. “It’s crucial to have the author involved. I think when these things don’t have the author involved, that’s when it goes to hell,” Gough admits.
Manu Bennett, who takes on the role of Allanon in the series, demonstrates the affection for Brooks when he convinces the author to take part in a hongi — a New Zealand traditional greeting very similar to an Eskimo kiss.
“You won’t see this in Hall H,” producer Al Gough jokes as the two embrace hands and press their foreheads together for a cheering crowd.
To create the world of Shannara for the small screen, the show recruited the best in the world when it comes to fantasy costume and set design. The same people who created the set of “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” and Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy before coming to work on the show. “They may have great sets in Vancouver but the actual genre itself is being pinpointed and worked on in New Zealand,” Bennett explains.
The scope of the series is what John Rhys-Davies, the series’ Eventine Elessedil, is what will rope people in. “I think this is going to be a big show and I am awfully pleased to have been a part of it,” he says. “If this show doesn’t succeed, I don’t know what will.”