Terry Brooks’ ‘Shannara’ Book Series is Headed for Television

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 9th, 2013 at 2:01 pm,

shannara tv series Terry Brooks Shannara Book Series is Headed for Television

The success of HBO’s Game of Thrones TV show – based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire – inspired us to draw up a list of other fantasy literary series deserving of a small screen adaptation. Terry Brooks long-running Shannara series (specifically, his Sword of Shannara trilogy) landed a high spot for its classic Hero’s Story elements and Tolkien-esque setting. Indeed, a film adaptation was developing for several years, back when Warner Bros. held the rights.

Mike Newell reportedly came close to directing a Shannara movie, but he ended up moving on to work on Prince of Persia before WB’s property rights expired in 2010. However, Sonar Entertainment and Farah Films are now teaming to bring Brooks’ series to television instead.

Variety is reporting that the first season of the Shannara TV show will be based on the second-released book, “The Elfstones of Shannara.” Such a move makes more sense when you recall that installment is part of Brooks’ first-published Shannara trilogy (arguably, still his most-widely known). Moreover, that allows the show to bypass criticisms that have long hounded “The Sword of Shannara” (namely, that it follows its Lord of the Rings trilogy inspiration a bit too closely).

Brooks is helping to back the TV project and has voiced his public approval of the planned approach, saying:

“Partnering with Sonar Entertainment and Farah Films on adapting the ‘Shannara’ saga for television is an exciting prospect. Everything about both companies suggests the result will be one that both old and new fans of the books will readily embrace. I am committed to doing everything I can to help make this happen.”

Brooks’ Shannara series takes place hundreds of years in the future, after modern human civilization has been laid to ruin following a cataclysmic event known as the Great Wars (a chemical/nuclear holocaust, in essence). Humans live in a Medieval state where magic exists alongside science, while mystical creatures such as elves and trolls populate the Earth. Most of the main characters in Brooks’ novels are members of the Shannara clan, a noble lineage with mixed heritage of man and Elf that allows them to wield magic.

Lean Headey Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones The Old Gods and the New Terry Brooks Shannara Book Series is Headed for Television

Could ‘Shannara’ be the next ‘Game of Thrones’?

The first published Shannara novel (“The Sword of Shannara”) was released back in 1977. A 20th installment (“Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara”) was released just last month, premiering high on the NYT Bestseller list, with two more books due out next year. Moreover, over the past 25 years, Brooks has written more than half a dozen Shannara trilogies, duologies, and tetralogies – that’s to say: there’s no shortage of source material for a television series adaptation.

However, there are still challenges: there’s a lot of time-skipping between Brooks’ Shannara story arcs, which presents different hurdles than Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire – as far as the adaptation process for future seasons goes. The executive producers behind the Shannara TV series – Dan Farah, Sonar Entertainment CEO Stewart Till, and Brooks – are searching for a showrunner and director to assemble a coherent vision for the television show, before they start shopping it to networks.

More on the Shannara TV series as the story develops.

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Source: Variety

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TAGS: Shannara

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  1. lol no this doesn’t compare to the first book Game of Thrones at all or the rest of the books. The series came across like a bad copy of Lord of the Rings.

    • Well, so YOU say…that is NOT everyone’s opinion.

      • Seriously, Sword of Shannara is exactly like Lord of the Rings whereas Game of Thrones seriously hold its own ground and somebody is yet to say it rips off Tolkien. It doesn’t matter whose opinion is whose, because Shannara IS an inferior fantasy series which fed off some severe derivation. Sure, you may like it better, but the quality of the novel doesn’t change.

        • Your opinion does not become fact no matter how much you want it to…sorry. Both series possess elements of quality writing.

        • Shannara is not like Lord of The Rings. It is a post apocalyptic novel and shows how races developed because of their environment. Lord of the Rings has inferior magic and honestly it may have been a nice epic however in many ways it doesn’t have the depth that the Shannara series has. I would be interested in seeing an entire series based on the books. Shannara also has better warfare and battles than Lord of the Rings.

          But back to the point. Shannara stands on its own and will would have made a much better movie than Lord of the Rings but I think they will be able to put a lot more of the story into a TV series. Personally I think it would work better done in the style of the new Beowulf movie but anyway they do it I just don’t hope they skimp on anything.

          • I 100% agree with you

    • I loved the books! The Wishsong of Shannara with Garet Jax was great!

    • Brooks first book – The Sword of Shanara seemed a little slow and did remind me of LOTR’s but reading LOTR’s for the first time, I found similarities with King Arthur. Actually, it was Brook’s second book – Elfstones of Shanara where Brook’s came into his own. This second book has nothing in common with any of Tolkien’s works and I consider Elfstones of Shanara to be one of the most exciting and moving books I personally have ever read. Other Brook’s books that followed “Elfstones” were a cut above “The sword” but I do not believe that any of his later works match “Elfstones” – no other books in this genre come close. I just hope that the upcoming TV series can uphold this sensational work.

    • Your crazy. I have read so far 8 of the shannara series and have enjoyed them all. If they are even a little similar to Tolkien then good. Bring me more and more and more.

    • If you believe that then you are wrong in all sense of the word. The lord of the rings follows the story of a hobbit who through unlikely circumstances inherits a ring who is then forced to take a journey while the world rages war around him etc. The sword of Shannara (the book which most people say is a rip off) Follows Shae has he must go on a quest to retrieve the Sword of shannara as is his birthright to defeat the warlock lord and his army of trolls and gnomes…. Now please tell me if I am wrong here but

      Warlock lord – Not giant eye
      Skull Bearers – Not black robed guys on horses but actual creatures
      No gnomes in LORT
      Trolls are described 100% different
      Druids are NOT like the wizards in lotr

      They are completely different. You are wrong and so is everyone else who thinks like you. Learn to read and appreciate books and their stories

    • I already posted about your comment but I had to repost. Lord of the rings did not have any magical items besides a few rings and staves. No faerie creatures, no monsters or things really born from magic. The series are nothing alike so stop saying its a rip off

    • Everyone’s so quick to judge the first Shannara book, without realizing that Brooks was 17 when he wrote that book. When you view it from that perspective, he did a very good job for a teenager who’d never been published before. While it does give off a massive Hobbit vibe, Allanon is the character who really changes things up between the two. Unlike Gandalf, he’s a dark, brooding character with so many secrets. There are many other changes that the YOUNG Brooks made that aren’t very LotR-ish. For instance, there’s a huge blend of Scifi into the fantasy. It’s post-apocalyptic, there’s a giant cyborg spider that proves advanced technology (almost steampunk worthy), and all the races derived from either humans, while the elves were faekind. That in itself does make it much different from LotR.

      After book 1, Brooks really turned things around and made the series a completely different animal. I saw book 1 as a major tribute to Tolkien, showing that he inspired what was a young mind at the time, and believe it’s wonderful that Tolkien helped shape another wonderful fantasy writer.

      Brooks isn’t the only author out there who was inspired by Tolkien. Any idea how many scifi books, movies, and TV shows were inspired by the Barsoom novels? Ever heard of a movie series called Star Wars? How about those pod racers? Sure looked a lot like a certain flying pod during the climax of John Carter. How about Superman? Total John Carter rip off. The guy goes to another planet and happens to have super strength. Imagine that.

      Game of Thrones, on the other hand, is overly HBO-ed and just comes across as a bunch of T&A on screen. But then again, HBO has a habit of over sexualizing their TV series. I’m already tired of all the boobs and poopers I’ve got shoved in my face thanks to “fantasy” art. Not to mention all the Magic Mike’s and Fabio’s out there with swords as soft innuendo. I sure hope all TV or movie companies just stay away from Shannara. Unless Peter Jackson or David Yates directs the movies, I just don’t want to see yet another book to movie disappointment. Sometimes people can kill what’s in one’s imagination.

  2. I read “The Elfstones of Shannara” which was a good book. It just felt like generic fantasy to me more than anything. Good, but it lacked anything to make it special. I haven’t read anymore of the books in the series, so maybe the others were better.

  3. I’d compare Shannara’s adaptation to Legend of the Seeker, not Game of Thrones.

    • Yeah, I’m only really comparing it to Game of Thrones because the latter is a recent example of a very popular, difficult-to-adapt fantasy book series turned into a TV show.

      For sure, the Shannara novels are worlds apart from GoT, as far as tone, style, and content are concerned.

  4. Didn’t much care for Brooks’ writing. Maybe a TV adaptation will bring some life to it.

  5. I read a huge chunk of Brooks’ Shannara series years ago. What critics forget is that any post-Tolkien fantasy novel will draw comparisons to Tolkien, no matter how similar or different it is (he’s the grandfather of the modern fantasy genre, after all).

    With that said, yes, I read Sword of Shannara right after Lord of the Rings and while I did like it, it did have all of those stock characters employed by Tolkien (wizard, naive innocents, mixed-race warriors). I’d agree that it deserves the comparison (and by extent, criticism), but I’d be crass if I said I didn’t want to someday see an on-screen adaptation of the novel.

    This news is beyond exciting for me, though. Despite Brooks’ criticism about his first novel, his universe is massive and rich. The novels that follow have wonders in them that I’ve never even imagined. That, in my mind, is worth trying to develop the series into a TV show. If it doesn’t work, hey, somebody tried.

  6. as long as it does not end up like legend of the seeker, I will give it a shot

    • Yea no kidding, The Sword of Truth series is my all time favorite series, the cast was descent, especially Cara, but they completely bastardized the story to the point of it being unforgivable.

      • I found TSOT series interesting to start with, but it ended up as a vehicle for Terry Goodkind’s own political beliefs, and really you can only read so many pages of speeches praising Objectivism before the whole collapses into a muddy mess.

        Not to mention the Mary Sue qualities of Richard Raul, the man who does everything.

  7. Will be difficult seeing as how the characters change in almost every book (with the exceptions of the high druids). I would rather see an adaptation of Running with the Demon or Magic Kingdom for Sale Sold.

    • MKfSS would indeed make for an excellent series, as well.

      I’m STILL hoping for an “Incarnations of Immortality” series…ah, to dream.

    • Well in my opinion, with all that goes on in the books and the way many things are either left out, left unsaid or just by passed (example, chapters starting with “5 days later” “a week past” etc) I think they could easily make one book into an entire season. Heck if it came to it I think that many of the books could be made into two solid movies. The Wishsong of Shannara for example, if you tried putting that into one movie it would be rushed and just horrible, however spaced out it could be a very good movie.

  8. The Shannara series is not the equivalent of the Game of Thrones series, BUT it is quite enjoyable in its own right. A show based on it would be a wonderful new world opened up for the television masses…if care is taken in its production (yes, including the writing, acting, etc.). Those shooting down the idea are limiting themselves, as well as those who may have some real interest in the Shannara books.

  9. “Seriously, Sword of Shannara is exactly like Lord of the Rings whereas Game of Thrones seriously hold its own ground and somebody is yet to say it rips off Tolkien.”

    What a $#*& statement… SMH!

  10. ARG, why do such upstart authors and their books get adaptions while more venerable (and deserving) series continue to fall by the wayside?!

    We should be seeing Moorcock’s “Elric of Melnibone” (and tales of the Eternal Champion), Fritz Leiber’s “Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser”, Zelazny’s “Chronicles of Amber”, Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” and even Donaldson’s “Thomas Covenant the Unbeliver” (even though his series is the same age as Brooks Shannara, it’s much better imho)

    Instead we get adaptions of crap like Eragon and now Terry Brook’s books?! What’s next, Piers Anthony’s Xanth books???!

    SO frustrating! ><

    • @Mongoose,

      “Upstart”? Seriously, Sword of Shannara came out in 19 friggin 77!!
      He’s been cranking out books since. He’s one of the top selling fantasy writers of all time.

      • Sorry, I was kind of generalizing the whole “movie adaption from books” thing with recent movies like “Hunger Games” and “Game of Thrones” fresh on my mind (both much much younger than the authors and books I mentioned). Brooks series falls more into the “less deserving” category than upstart but still is younger than most of my choices.

        And “top selling” doesn’t always denote quality. While his later books in the Shannara series did eventually manage to diverge from the first hack LotR clone, the fact the original was so derivative has always tainted my view of him as a writer.

        So I stand by my statement that the books and authors I listed are much more deserving of TV/Movie adaptions than Shannara, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones and the like. Not that either the books OR TV/movie adaptions of many of these are in any way bad, only that it’s a bit unfair that such great stories have been around longer and been continually passed over (especially considering many of the newer authors READ those books for inspiration)

        • That’s cool, but you’re downplaying the 35 years of his books being read and having top ratings in Fantasy. There isn’t a series that’s still being churned out like that, especially sans ghost writers. Upstart is a word used for newbies or hacks. He’s neither. His world stands on it’s own and continues to evolve. The longevity of the series denotes quality in itself. if not, his books would have gone poof 20 years ago.

          I respect your opinion though. We all like what we like.

          Dragon Riders of Pern bored the hell out of me. Too girly for my tastes even when I read the first books back in the late 70′s.

          Of all the Books I’ve read, I’d wish to see on the big screen are:
          1. Martin’s Wild Card Series
          2. Raymond E. Feist’s novels.
          3. Gleen Cook’s “Black Company”
          4. Simon R. Green’s “Death Stalker” series

          • I’m not looking to tear Brooks down but he did get his start by being a “hack”. And you make it sound as if he’s been the only top selling fantasy author out there since he started writing.

            Just because the authors I mentioned might not be as prolific (some of which have passed on) or currently in the limelight, doesn’t make them less deserving or their books not worthy/of quality (see Tolkien or CS Lewis), which was my main point.

            I also find it interesting that all the books you listed are from the 80′s-90′s. I have to wonder if you’ve read all the books and authors I listed?

            • I read “Thomas Covenant” when it first came out. Chronicles of Amber in the around 82 (one of my fav series). The Elric series around the same time. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.. nah. Never heard of that. Googled it, i’ll still pass.

              Dragon Riders of Pern, already gave my view on that series. yawn!
              if you’d originally compared him to CS Lewis or Tolkien, I’d agree to a certain extent. Having said that, Who isn’t compared to Tolkien?

              I don’t know of any writer who hasn’t “Hacked” someone else ideas and expanded on them.

              again, I respect your opinion. We like what we like.

              • Well it’s good to know you have at least read the majority of books I listed. Nothing irritates me more than someone who says something is better but never even bothers to learn about the object it was being compared with.

                Everyone has their own personal tastes so what you like or dislike is just as valid an opinion as mine.

                And even if you didn’t put it on your mini list, it’s good to know Zelazny’s series still on top. So why won’t someone make it into a movie already?! Like I said, I just don’t get it.

            • I will always argue this, just because there are some similarities between Lord of the Rings and the Sword of Shannara doesn’t mean the latter was a hack of the first. There was the journey element that was similar but then again every book that has a journey element is. Read ‘The gift’ its journey element is almost exact to that of lord of the rings, but it wasnt a hack or a copy, that book is amazing on its own merits and it cant be helped but that doesnt mean it was a copy or a hack

        • Okay, for one thing. One book was derived from LOTR not 21 books and counting. There were a lot of similarities to LOTR in SOS yes. Even Terry says so. As was defended here many times, it is hard for anyone in the fantasy genre to write a book and not take parts from Tolkien. That being said, Elfstones of Shannara is its own book. It does not steal from Tolkien in any way. The series went off into its own way after Elfstones was released and has been plugging along very well since. Many fantasy writers out there today credit Terry Brooks as being a influence on them just as they credit Tolkien. And to be honest, I always preferred the Four Lands to the Tolkien books. I’m sorry, but spending half a chapter talking about how the hair on a hobbit’s feet means good luck doesn’t really warm my cup of tea. I’m thrilled that Elfstones might be made into a tv series. I want to see who they cast for Allanon.

          • I am not a big fan of CGI to be honest, but when i envision Allanon I don’t see an ordinary man, whoever plays him I hope they just give him that extra push to make him appear as he does in the books

  11. I would rather have a Wheel of Time adaption!

    • Wheel of Time wouldn’t be too bad as long as they leave out all the stupid details about dress fabric, different colors of this or that, biting bugs and women pulling their hair.

      • And the spanking… although that might be the best part now I think about it.

        • ROFL@ Jason..

          Yah, the Spanking. Yawn..yet, Hmmmm!

  12. I must be honest, I tried to read the book. Started the first book, and I just could not get myself to finish it. It was like a really horrible copy of The Lord of the Rings. I had just finished reading The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Unfinished tales at the time, so maybe that effected the way I judged the book.

    But I’m still interested to see what this show brings.

    Just one more thing, it will never beat A Game of Thrones, book or TV show. ASOIF is just on another level, the way LOTR is on another level that this book cannot reach.

  13. I’d rather have a movie/tv series based on Forgotten Realms stuff like R.A. Salvatore’s Icewind Dale Trilogy and the rest of the books concerning Drizzt and pals, amazing stories, characters and to me doesn’t rip off other fantasy.

    • I like R.A Salvatore’s work, but to say it isn’t derivative is asking too much. Drizzt is unique, the world is not.

      Anyone playing Drizzt would have to be a real butt kicker or gymnast. Scott Adkins type dude.

    • Talk about a Lord of the Rings rip off. Everything In D&D came from Tolken I hope this Terrys Books gets made into a TV series.

  14. Having only read fantasy books ( currently working on heroes by joe Abercrombie ) for 25 years I have to say the first three books of this series are not very well written and pretty poor
    I’d even call them worse than the tripe Raymond e fiest has been putting out since he finished the empire trilogy
    Sorry!

  15. I enjoyed the original trilogy, even if the first book was actually a bore. Look foreward to seeing the tv show of this, i don’t plan on comparing with GoT, just two different in so many ways.

    Hope they get the budget needed to accomplish this.

  16. Man, I loved brooks books and am pumped bout this coming out. Druid of Shannara still one of my favourite reads. He might have lost his way a bit with the grianne saga of her being everything, but recent releases of armageddons and elves of cintra were a good read. Sure, not as involved as wheel of time, sword of truth or malazan series, but still a good read in their own right. Looking forward to how they portray these on the small screen and am praying it to be more game of thronish than the seekerish

  17. I would love to see Terry Brooks Shannara series become tv programs. I’d been wanting and waiting for it to hit the movies it would be interesting just like the lord of the rings. Which is my favourite.

  18. I read The Sword of Shannara when it came out in 1977, and although I agree that it is a close copy of the Lord of the Rings, I still loved it. I’ve been looking forward to some sort of film adaptation for years. (I thought for sure it would be an animated film).

  19. The Word & Void Trilogy would be a great mini series to start with.

  20. There are more then 20 books, as well as a graphic novel and multiple short stories taking place in the world of Shabbat. To say that all of them copy Lord of the Rings is just ignorant. Brooks is my favorite author and I for one love the extremely detailed diverse and unique world he has created. Sword is the only book that draws a parallel to Tolkiens books.

  21. I think they should start with Armageddon’s Children.

  22. Fantastic news it has taken far to long the books are fantastic terry is an amazing writer can’t wait

  23. In the end guys……………….PLEASE MAKE THIS SHOW… but make it from be beginning with Sword of Shannara and work upwards. It will be loved by so many and yes many people will enjoy it REGARDLESS of what you compare it with!!!! Ill be honest F your commercials!!! I will wait till its on Netflix and watch it back to back…. AND i will love every moment of it!!! Just make the damn shows and the money that goes with it… and we will WATCH!!!