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.
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.