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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

For great justice

Terry Brooks’ Shannara Series Could Be Headed to MTV


Be prepared for an extremely nerdy sentence: Iron Man director Jon Favreau and Smallville showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar are joining forces to adapt Terry BrooksShannara series.

The series is just in the development stage at this point, but it seems reasonably likely that MTV will pick it up given Shannara’s straight-to-series development deal. That means if that if the script is good they will greenlight a whole season, no advance pilot required. That first season, if it happens, will be based on the series’ second book, The Elfstones of Shannara.

It was only a matter of time: The Shannara series is huge, with 25 books published since 1977, and Elfstones spent 16 weeks on the New York Times‘ bestseller list. According to The Hollywood Reporter not only is Shannara the highest-selling fantasy series yet to be adapted, but Brooks is the second highest-selling living fantasy author. (Three guesses as to who holds the #1 spot.) Warner Bros. had the series optioned for a while, and at one point Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire‘s Mike Newell was attached to direct, but obviously that never happened.

The MTV series, if it’s picked up, will be written by Gough and Millar and executive produced by them, Favreau, and Dan Farah, whose Farah Films acquired the rights to the series last year. THR also notes that Favreau will direct, but how many episodes is unclear.

One person happy about the adaptation is, obviously, Brooks:

“I believe we have formed the perfect team to bring Shannara to life onscreen. The adaptation of these books is very important to me, and I believe we are on the right track in our endeavor to create an epic television series that both new and old fans of the books will love.”

I’m cautiously optimistic myself. I’ve never read Shannara, but saying no to a high fantasy series? Not bloody likely. Then again… MTV? Granted, from what I know about Shannara it seems rather teen-friendly, and MTV has already dipped its toe into the supernatural with Teen Wolf. But… really?

Yes, really, says MTV President Susanne Daniels. And it’s gonna be good:

“We feel that the Shannara novels are a perfect fit for MTV as this type of fantasy genre has continuously proved to resonate with our audience.”

Well we’ll see, won’t we? You bring the swords, I’ll bring the sorcery.

(via: The Hollywood Reporter)

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  • Marissa Nolan-Layman

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! This is the series that turned me into a Fantasy fan when I was 12 years old!!! I have wanted a movie or miniseries or SOMETHING for sooooo long.!!!

  • http://tmirai.deviantart.com/ Talia

    Terry Brooks and the Shannara series are what really got me into Sci-Fi/Fantasy back in 7th grade. While I kind of abandoned the series recently, it is still a cornerstone of my life as a geek and a reader.

    That being said, I totally did a Tina Belcher style groan reading this. I would have preferred to see it adapted on a network like TNT or BBC. It’s definitely not “juicy” enough to be on HBO, but any other network but MTV please. While many of the characters in the Shannara series are young and romance is sometimes a part of the story, I just cringe at the idea of it becoming reduced down to a trope filled tween show with pretty, young white actors. The Shannara series is epic and dark, and while not as filled with as much political intrigue as GoT, has some great themes and plotting that I would not want to see watered down to appeal to MTV’s target audience.

  • Anonymous

    It’s probably too optimistic to hope this is the start of a trend in high fantasy TV that at some point results in a Magician series being commissioned.

  • Anonymous

    well, this is unexpected, and there is unexpected as well…i’m not sure how this info strikes me just yet. this property and that network seem like two great tastes that dont taste great together, like chocolate spaghetti. prove me wrong, creative team, i have nothing but fond memories of the shannara tales, as derivative and repetitive as they may have been, they were always good to the younger version of me.

  • Anonymous

    Thank goodness they’re starting with Elfstones. The series would never
    have survived if they’d started with the blatant LOTR rip-off that was
    Sword of Shannara.

  • jdhovland

    Now MTV has more Sci-Fi/Fantasy than the SyFy channel.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    I met Terry Brooks once, ever so briefly at a Seattle book signing back in 1998, or so. I asked him then about Shannara movie possibilities and he expressed the same passion about holding back until finding the right time and team to make the films, lest the movie find itself “in the dust bin” as he put it. So I believe him when he says he’s found the right team but I’m still scratching my head about MTV. Should I be cautiously optimistic?

    Maybe it’s time to re-read the series. So… who will they cast as Allanon?

  • http://technicalluddite.com/ Hannele Kormano

    I’m actually not sure off-hand who would hold the #1 spot. George R. R. Martin? J. R. R. Tolkien? J. K. Rowling? (so many initials).

    …ah, J. K. Rowling, according to the article, which is just awesome.

  • EleniRPG

    I really hope they handle this well, as it certainly has potential. And as others have said, it is a REALLY GOOD THING they are starting with Elfstones and not the first book, Sword of Shannara. Sword rips off so much of Lord of the Rings it’s kind of amazing (characters, events, even geopolitics), and it still somehow manages to have EVEN LESS of a female presence than LotR. Brooks must have gotten slammed for that, because all his later Shannara books had important female characters. Not just “strong female character” sidekick/love interest types (though Elfstones does have one of those). Some nuanced, flawed heroes, and some villains (Elfstones has these as well–Amberle is still one of my favorite book characters). So it’s a good call.

    Being less grim, gritty and “adult” than Game of Thrones, I don’t think they’ll be able to achieve the prestige of that series. But I’m at least hoping for better than Legend of the Seeker.

  • EleniRPG

    I really hope they handle this well, as it certainly has potential. And as others have said, it is a REALLY GOOD THING they are starting with Elfstones and not the first book, Sword of Shannara. Sword rips off so much of Lord of the Rings it’s kind of amazing (characters, events, even geopolitics), and it still somehow manages to have EVEN LESS of a female presence than LotR. Brooks must have gotten slammed for that, because all his later Shannara books had important female characters. Not just “strong female character” sidekick/love interest types (though Elfstones does have one of those). Some nuanced, flawed heroes, and some villains (Elfstones has these as well–Amberle is still one of my favorite book characters). So it’s a good call.

    Being less grim, gritty and “adult” than Game of Thrones, I don’t think they’ll be able to achieve the prestige of that series. But I’m at least hoping for better than Legend of the Seeker.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh, imagine the typical MTV caliber ‘star’. Gonna be worse than a CW production.

  • odango atama

    Legend of the Seeker was so sad. They really didn’t know what to do with the characters.

    And this is open to everyone here: I’ve never read the Shannara books, but have been interested. 1) Where do I begin? 2) Would the series be accessible for someone in their near-30s?

    Thanks!

  • Cowtools

    A few years ago, having worked my way through Eddings, Martin, Jordan, Hobb, Williams, et al, I tried reading Swords Of Shannara and found it incredibly boring. It was page-after-page of description, of telling not showing – we’d be told that characters had a conversation but not read it, fer chrisakes!

    Can someone tell me, does it get any better after the first book?

  • Herbert West

    If they do the Sword of Shannara story, people will wonder if they’re watching a bad rip-off of LOTR.

    Which, to be honest, it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nuuni.nuunani Nuuni Nuunani

    Oh~ A book adaption where I am actually fully caught up with the series in question~ Neat! ^^

    Okay, I suppose I will have to keep from spoiling events in the books, some of which spoils the setting in great strides…

    But this is a really great classic of the fantasy genre, though if they are skipping the sword of Shannara, I cannot help but wonder how they will deal with the timeskips between books. Well, unless they intend to center it entirly on Elfstones, which could work but might begin to feel a bit like walking dead after a while.

    My favorite is the second Shannara series that takes place long after the first three books, so I am curious to see how this all goes.

    And if Brooks is still talking about things like this, does this mean potential for future books in the series? The latest books in the series are preludes and the last book timeline-wise was several years ago with much curiosity on my part regarding what happens next.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nuuni.nuunani Nuuni Nuunani

    Hard to say. Personally I loved the first book which was a bit slow but fun. Every other book after that has the same quality, but with a reoccurring theme of the world falling apart around the protagonists heads with a desperate need to reach their desperation before they die, thus screwing over the world.
    Id describe it as the frodo/sam scenes in return of the king meets walking dead. Lots of monsters coming out of the wood work, lots of screaming and lots of running and stress

  • http://www.facebook.com/nuuni.nuunani Nuuni Nuunani

    Im really hoping that Landover gets its own series one of these days X3

  • Anonymous

    The first Shannara book I read was the prequel boook “First King of Shannara” (I have since become an advocate of reading books in published order NOT chronological order), and I loved it!
    When I tried to read Sword of Shannara, I did feel it was very boring…so I never made it past that…

  • Anonymous

    Read the headline—for a minute I confused Terry Brooks with Terry Goodkind. My reaction can only be described as abject horror, tinged with secret delight that the Chicken of Pure Evil would be making its TV debut.

  • Cowtools

    Hmm, well seeing as that was my least favourite part of LOTR, maybe the Shannara books aren’t for me. :-(

  • http://www.facebook.com/nuuni.nuunani Nuuni Nuunani

    Sorry ^^;

    But yah, virtually every book in the series revolves around the protagonist running from unstopable super monsters of different stripes each and every volume.

    Its quite good, though if that isn’t your thing you might not be interested.
    On the otheer hand, books can translate oddly to television and you might enjoy it more as a show than you would have as a book

  • kbroxmysox

    Gough and Millar didn’t exactly make quality in Smallville…God, if Chloe/Allison Mack wasn’t in it, I don’t imagine I would have stuck around.

  • Marissa Nolan-Layman

    These books definitely hold up as an adult. You have a few choices where to start, you can read them in the order they were released or in the chronological order within the books. I personally started with Scions of Shannara which is the second series within the world.

    Wikipedia has the full list in chronological order. The Genisis of Shannara books are set in our current time/near future, I suggest starting with the Sword of Shannara if you want to jump right into the full fantasy world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannara

  • http://www.develsaa.com/ Kimberly

    My kids are named after Shannara characters, this shall be interesting to see.