It’s been a while since I last mused about the upcoming Elfstones of Shannara miniseries, so I thought it was time for an update. First: It is now officially named The Shannara Chronicles which leaves room for further miniseries in the future. It is coming on MTV, but no actual broadcast date has been announced—believe me, I have my ear to the ground on that. There has, however, been a lot of casting news and some clarification on various matters. Also, the first trailer will air at the San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, July 10 in “MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles Panel” (12:30PM – 1:30PM | Room 6DE).
In my last post, I wondered about the additional characters being added to the story and talked about those whose arcs I would rather see expanded. Since then, it has been clarified (multiple times) that these additional characters are there to give the chance for some needed dialog and expansion in the tale, which makes complete sense. Catania, for example, is an addition, added to be Amberle’s trusted friend. And, yes, Amberle very much needs someone to talk to. She spends about the first half of the book too furious with Wil and Allanon—and too afraid –to speak to them. In the book Elfstones of Shannara, we’ve got everyone’s thoughts to keep us entertained, and it is clear why she would be both angry and afraid (two strangers just showed up and turned her life upside down). On screen, “Three characters spend all their time walking in absolute silence,” is going to be as dull as dishwater. I suspect Amberle will talk more to Wil and Allanon earlier in the tale as well.
It sounds like the two princes are getting something of a character-swap, what with Ander being described as “party animal” and Arion as “serious,” but that also makes sense. I love Ander for his ability to silently take the responsibilities needed, but, again, we see his thoughts in the book. On screen—”Knows the filing system really well” is not going to make him a particularly endearing or interesting character, especially not with Allanon out killing dragons and the king carving through the army. Of course, there’s a very good chance that Ander will get to do some of said carving in The Shannara Chronicles which would be for the good.
Characters and Cast
I will make some references to The Sword of Shannara below, but don’t worry if you haven’t read it. The Elfstones of Shannara functions as a standalone.
The Ellcrys is the Four Lands’ only guardian against the demons who would overwhelm the lands. When The Elfstones of Shannara begins, the tree is failing, and she needs Amberle to bathe her seed in the bloodfire to renew the protection. So far, there is no news on who, if anyone, will voice her; she doesn’t exactly talk in the book, so things could go either way.
Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler), the part-elven grandson of Shea Ohmsford (From The Sword of Shannara) and current holder of the Elfstones. He is studying to be a healer when Elfstones begins and is jolted by Allanon’s insistence that he travel with and defend Amberle Elessedil on her quest.
Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton) is the daughter of the Elven king. When the book begins, she has fled from the Eleven kingdom for reasons she will not disclose and is serving as a teacher in one of the human towns. She has built a quiet, stable life for herself, and mysterious druids followed by killer demons are not a welcome addition.
Allanon (Manu Bennett) is a dark and forbidding druid, the last of his kind. He appears when the Four Lands are in trouble and provides aid as needed. He also never tells anyone everything he knows, which isolates him and leads to people distrusting him.
Artaq (Trienko) is the willful but strong horse who carries first Allanon and then Wil and Amberle on their quest.
Ander Elessedil (Aaron Jakubenko) is the younger son of the Elven king, Amberle’s uncle. In the book, he’s a serious, studious sort who does a lot of hard work in the background and has no clearly defined role in the royal family. From all descriptions, he’ll be a party animal in The Shannara Chronicles–and will not have a clearly defined role in the royal family. This is quite a personality flip, but it will give him something more active to do, and it is possible for him to have the same character arc in the series as in the book.
Arion (Daniel MacPherson) is the eldest son and heir to the Elven king. In the book, he’s self-confident to the point of arrogance. In the miniseries, it looks like he’ll be flipped with Ander and take the serious, studious role.
Crispin Edensong (James Trevena-Brown) is the captain of the Elven guard sent to protect Wil and Amberle on their quest. The miniseries has given him a last name and perhaps more speaking lines.
Commander Tilton (Emilia Burns) is not explicitly in the book. She will be portraying the Captain of the Black Watch, defenders of the Ellcrys (they are in the book). If she’s there for the siege, she’ll have plenty to do.
King Eventine Elessedil (John Rhys-Davies) is the king of the Elves. He’s a noted fighter and strong ruler, but is older and faced with ruling over the almost-certain destruction of his people.
Cephelo (James Remar) is the leader of the Rovers, a traveling people who wander the Four Lands. He is a strong, clever individual who holds his and his people’s good over that of anyone or anything else.
Eretria (Ivana Baquero) is Cephelo’s strong-willed daughter. She and Wil are attracted to one another almost at once, but Wil won’t allow her to accompany him on his quest. She has her own ideas.
Mallenroh (Genevieve Aitken) and Morag (Kendal Rae) are powerful witch sisters in the Wildrun, a nasty wasteland. Each wants power over the other and realizes that control over the Elfstones would give just that.
Catania (Brooke Williams) is not in the book. She is there to serve as Amberle’s friend and confidant. She will give Amberle someone to confide in, so viewers will know what is going on in her mind, and she, along with Commander Tilton will add some more women to the cast.
Bandon (Marcus Vanco) is also not in the book. Amberle and Wil find him chained to a wall because people fear his visions. It will be interesting to see how he fits into the puzzle.
I am also trying to see if I can read all of Shannara before the show airs. Anyone is welcome to join me! So far, I’m up to Morgawr, though I must admit to listening to Dark Legacy of Shannara out of order.
The information here comes from TerryBrooks.net and from reading The Elfstones of Shannara. Whenever the miniseries is, I’m pretty sure you have time to get the book read first. The audiobook version is also very good.