Adaptation News: The Elfstones of Shannara

I have been Terry’s webmaster for 16 years.

In that time, thousands and thousands of fans have written into the website asking questions. The question most often asked, however, is, “When will Terry’s books be adapted into movies?”

Hollywood has been interested in Terry’s work for a long time. He has sold rights to various studios over the years but nothing has been greenlit into production. Currently, Warner Bros. holds the rights to the Landover books with Steve Carell attached to play Ben Holiday but we have new news to report about Shannara!

Here is the official press release:

Sonar Entertainment has acquired the rights to author Terry Brooks’ bestselling fantasy series “Shannara” and is partnering with Farah Films to produce a television series based on the books.

Farah Films principal Dan Farah and Sonar Entertainment CEO Stewart Till will exec produce with Brooks. Producers plan to recruit a showrunner and director before they shop the project to network buyers.

Set hundreds of years after the destruction of our civilization, series follows the Shannara family, who are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world. The plan is to base the show’s first season on “The Elfstones of Shannara,” the second book in the series.

The 20th bestselling book in the 25-year-old series has just premiered at No. 2 on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Two more books in the series are set to be published in 2013.

“Partnering with Sonar Entertainment and Farah Films on adapting the ‘Shannara’ saga for television is an exciting prospect,” said Brooks, who is repped by Anne Sibbald of Janklow and Nesbit Associates. “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.”

“Terry has created a rich world of characters and stories that have entertained millions of readers all around the world for a quarter of a century,” Farah said. “He has a built-in fanbase that is bigger than those for even the most recent hit book series, like ‘The Hunger Games.’ We’re very excited and proud to have the opportunity to partner with Terry in adapting his great work for the smallscreen.”

“Terry Brooks appeals to a huge and diverse cross-section of audiences throughout the world,” Till added. “There is an enormous desire to see ‘Shannara’ brought to life for television. We know this is going to be a terrific series that will both delight longtime fans and attract legions of new devotees.”

As a producer, Farah is currently developing a remake of “The Crow” at Relativity and an adaptation of Ernie Cline’s bestselling novel “Ready Player One” at Warner Bros., as well as an upcoming stage musical based on the Castle Rock comedy “Honeymoon in Vegas.” He’s also developing a sitcom for Tony Danza, “The Guys,” for ABC and ABC Studios.

There you have it. The Elfstones of Shannara is being looked at for a television series ala Game of Thrones. I have to stress that while the rights have sold it doesn’t mean the adaptation is moving into production. Terry has high hopes it will given the enthusiasm at Sonar Entertainment but this is a first step—an important step. The next step is to find a writer for the project as well as a director. With those two pieces in place, a pilot will be created that will be shown to various networks.

Imagine the first episode and what it could be: The Chosen. The Ellcrys. The tree is dying. The three demons return to the Four Lands from their prison and want to ensure no rebirth can take place. The Dagda Mor is aware of the Druid. And a last scene depicting Allanon arriving in Arborlon. Or perhaps the last scene of the Chosen massacred…

So many possibilities. And if one of those television networks is interested, we’ll get our adaptation!

There are some great things about this. In this situation, Terry is a partner, given a level of creative control that assures any adaptation is done to his vision. We also have Game of Thrones on our side. The show has been wildly popular in the episodic television format and we hope other networks might be interested in Shannara for the same reasons Thrones works. Not to mention giving eight or ten episodes to tell the grandness of Elfstones will ensure a faithful adaptation of one of the masterpieces of fantasy literature.

Terry also feels Elfstones is the right place to start. Sword mimics LOTR for the first third of the book whereas Elfstones is originally riveting from the start and also has the strong female characters Sword entirely lacks. If this gets greenlit into production and becomes a hit, the next likely place for Season 2 would be The Wishsong of Shannara.

More on this when Terry returns to Seattle in a week. I plan on interviewing him extensively about it. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed!

What do you think about this? And what questions would you like me to ask Terry? Post them below!

More news when we have it!

Shawn Speakman

I am the long-time friend and webmaster for Terry Brooks as well as the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel Terry calls "a fine tale by a talented writer." Join me on Facebook and Twitter (@shawnspeakman)!

        • Adam

          It may have been a moderate success, but Legend of the Seeker, because it strayed so far from the novel Wizard’s First Rule, was a disappointment for hardcore fans of the novels. Let’s take stock: Legend of the Seeker petered out after a two season run, whereas the novels were New York Times’ Bestsellers from the beginning, and every subsequent novel continues to hit the bestsellers lists. Not to mention, Goodkind himself was never involved in the production of the show, except to dole out more information about the world of the Midlands. Ratings are what matter to a sindicated show like that, ratings and nothing more. The more people that watch it, the longer it airs. The less people that watch it, . . .

      • Mark Rizzo

        I agree. I only watched a portion of the pilot on the ‘Sword of Truth’ or ‘Seeker’ series (whatever they called it) and although I knew that the story line was not to follow his book(s) directly, I was let down with it. Also, I love Sam Raimi and was stokked to hear he was going to be a part of the SOT series.

        Oh well, let’s hope for better with TG…

  1. Daniele

    Good news! And compliments to Terry. I’m curious to see the scenes, the actors and, also, the magic effects! And I agree that 8-10 episodes are enough for The Elfstones. The Game of Thrones is a saga, not a single novel (ok, it’s the title of the first novel, ma the TV series is on the entire production).

    • Terri L

      I was thinking sort of the same. Shannara books would be GREAT feature films, or maybe a TV miniseries. I just have a hard time seeing how this series would work for TV since there are such big time gaps between the books. (GOT books pick up pretty much right where the other left off). I’m not saying it won’t work with Shannara- I’m just saying there are other choices of Terry’s work that I think would suit TV better, like Magic Kingdom or Word and the Void.

    • kyle

      I think that is completely wrong. First take pride and prejudice in the 95 television mini series. This is the most faithful and best version for anyone who loves the book. Then you have game of thrones, I haven’t read it, but I hear it it not that faithful to the book, BUT the popularity and production quality is so good that it is bringing a TON of people into the fandom. Even the Dresden Files did fairly decent with a small budget and big competition in that genre.

    • Ron

      It actually could work out quite well ala American Horror Story – a new story (book) each season. A feature film would be awesome – don’t get me wrong – but episodic television with the production values of a Game of Thrones would allow far more flexibility to capture the full scope of the book(s) and more time to develop/explore the characters. I would just be thrilled to see it done well in either medium!

    • Travis

      I would actually disagree, I think a TV series would be excellent. When making feature movies, some of the subplots get cut out to make the movie fit into a 2-3 hour stretch. A TV series where each season is one novel would make it possible to fit all the subplots in, and more accurately tell the whole story.

      That said, I would be more inclined to start a TV series from the Beginning (i.e. the Word and the Void), and proceed from there.

      I also have a casting suggestion, for what it’s worth. I think Johnny Depp would make a perfect Panamon Creel, and his descendant Padishar.

      • Rizz

        Wow! I am feeling the need to respond to everyone today. Great comments and insight all around. I didn’t think about it at first Travis, but I agree with you as well that a TV series over a big budget movie would encapsulate more of the ‘whole feel’ affect if you will whereas the big movie solutions ride on the ‘Shock and Awe’ feel and lose some of the really subtle, but truly important background subplots that bring it all together.

        Oh – and well said on Depp being Panamon. I just finished doing the audio version of the Sword of Shannara and I think Depp as Panamon would be dead on. (only problem is in my vision of Panamon Depp would have to gain a few inches. 🙂

    • Rizz

      I totally agree Perry. I admit I don’t watch much TV anymore, but I think that Terry might be doing himself a disservice in the long run with doing a television series version a trilogy movie like LOTR.

      i do think though that if Terry and Sonar Ent. are able to keep the audience it will be a home-run that will bring me back again and again to the TV…

      *Now let’s quit talking about it and get it out there. 🙂

  2. M Sellers

    Shannara as a tv series sounds interesting. I’ve not seen Game of Thrones and know nothing about it but I am an avid fan of Shannara. My only concern about a tv series is how they will keep it going for the long haul. So often, after a time, a tv series get down right ridiculous and I would hate to see Shannara go that route.

    • joann

      well if they do get this t.v series into production, i agree that they need to stay with the book and not change things like other books do when made into a movie. If this id done i don’t think it would need to last for longer then what was written, a lot of anime has a beginning and a end. i think that’s the way it should go so nothing is ruined. i love the Shannara and the Landover series, I haven’t read any books that i liked better.

  3. Tim Bennett

    Exciting news once again! Let’s keep our fingers crossed. I’m glad this wasn’t released on April 1st, ha, ha, ha. Obviously many questions can’t be answered yet, but I do have one. Would Terry prefer to see the series on standard network (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox) or a cable network (HBO, Showtime, etc.)? I can pros and cons to both.

  4. Trina Blight

    I am a huge fan of the Shannara series. I am 41 and have been reading the series since I was 5 yrs old. Sure it would be nice to see it on the big screen or even as a series on tv, but if Terry has no say in how its written or filmed, it would ruin the story for new readers and current readers alike. As far as having Steve Carell in any series or movie based on any of Terry Brooks’ stories, that would be an insult to his writing and the characters in his books.

    • Shawn Speakman

      Trina, as the article clearly states, Terry is involved in the Shannara deal and has creative control over it. As far as Steve Carell, Terry is happy Steve wants to be Ben Holiday. If you haven’t watched Carell’s dark, dramatic roles, then you need to. He’s perfect to play Ben, a broken man looking for hope.

      • Amber Fitzgerald

        I agree with this. Steve is probably best known for his comedy but he can do serious as well. I’m sitting here thinking, and I can’t come up with someone who would really fit the character better. I am excited to see either series on any screen. I’ve been reading Terry’s work for about 15yrs now, I can remember having to read the Shannara books at school during study hall because my parents thought they were to violent and I couldn’t take them home. Terry has remained my favorite author to this day. *fingers crossed*

      • Wayne

        Having exclusive creative rights has failed in the past but also has been successful. An author can become overwhelmed by this, and also, remember that most authors of this caliber are from another time, look when Shannara was started. This means that thier level of WOW is different, hence the allowance of substandard translation of vision. On the flip-side, These authors are usually blazingly smart, and can learn from other author’s failures. I am sincerely hoping that his exclusive creative rights are not just a wordy method to calm the hard core readership.

      • Shawn Speakman

        Little Miss Sunshine – suicidal gay man
        Hope Springs – marriage therapist
        Crazy, Stupid, Love – separated father (he is comedic in this in parts, just like Ben would have to be, but serious as well)
        Dan In Real Life – Depressing role about a widower who falls in love with his brother’s girlfriend

        Everyone sees Carell’s name and goes, “What?? That doesn’t make any sense!” These people are the same people who only know Carell’s work on The Office or 40 Year Old Virgin and the like. There is a dark drama aspect to him — proven in Little Miss Sunshine — that would fit Ben perfectly. It’s that reason Terry is really excited about Carell possibly becoming Ben Holiday.

        • Kody

          Little Miss Sunshine is one of my all time favorite films. When I heard that Landover had been picked up and a big named actor was attached to the project Steve Carell is the guy that first popped into my head. I could not be more excited about the possibilities!

  5. Darla

    I watch Game of Thrones and if Elfstones is anything like it, it will be awesome! I also like the way Merlin is done on BBC. Has lots of magic and is done extremely well. Game of Thrones also has good magic effects that look real. I imagine Elfstones will be a combination of the two? So it will have its own unique style?

  6. M Khela

    OMG, I am so excited about this!!!! But I hope Terry has a voice in it so the series isn’t changed too much from the original book (which to date is still my favorite of them all).

  7. Jes

    Man this is great news! Been a downer of a week, but now i’m happy! All my nerd friends love Game of Thrones even without reading the books. So I know I can sell them on a Shannara tv series of the same style. 😀

  8. Darrell Winters

    Fantastic news Shawn I hope this comes off,the elfstones of shannara is a great book I just hope they do it justice.Will be exciting to see who plays who.I think Terry deserves the chance for everybody to see his work on the screen.Hope you are ok Shawn u do a fantastic job on this site to keep us all informed on the latest news.You and Terry keep up the fabulous work

  9. shauntih

    I would love to watch Game of Thrones, but we don’t get HBO. I am a huge fan of Terry’s and would love to watch the series, but I won’t buy HBO just for that. I hope that it shows on a channel accessible to everyone.

  10. Jonathan Todd

    This is great news! It’s been a while since I’ve read Elfstones, but I remember thinking that if done right the series could easily become as popular as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.

    Please, just tell Terry that we want it to be more Game of Thrones than Legend of the Seeker (which was a TERRIBLE adaptation of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series).

    • Wayne

      Good job in locating and calling out the extremes in this case, the failure of “The Sword of Truth” series, which was really a nail-in-the-coffin for me due to its thoughtless and dispassionate portrayal of the story. The other extreme you so awesomely pointed out is the “Game of Thrones” series, which is an excellent series in book, and on screen mostly becuase the author is, by trade, a screen/script writer that is embellished by his natural talent at reading authorship. I know with the right knowledge, fan-base constructivism, and love, Terry should do well. I hope.

    • Gary Ellsworth

      I have to agree Jonathan, Legend of the Seeker was poorly done, they took a series of wonderful books and made them into hoakum. I would hate to see that happen to Terry Brook’s Shannara series, I have loved this series since its inception and have had it visualized for years, my biggest fear is that the small screen won’t be able to do it justice.

      • Kieran

        I really enjoyed Legend of the Seeker though I am not a Goodkind fan. In tone and structure it’s probably closer to what a Shannara series should be than Game of Thrones is.

  11. Jeff

    Due to the adult nature of Game of Thrones, there were very limited choices for a network (really only one- HBO). Shannara, however, could be shown on a wider choice of networks, which will hopefully make it easier to get picked up. I really look forward to the possibilities!

  12. Justin Cox

    Good news, indeed, but I hope that we are treated to something more akin to Game of Thrones rather than the terrible Legend of the Seeker or LeGuin’s Earthsea. Terry’s involvement in the production should help with that.

    I have always very much enjoyed Ander and Eventine’s reaction to Allanon’s appearance in Elfstones. It plays very well if one has read Sword and is already familiar with Allanon. Do they even try play it the same way on TV?

    J in Day

  13. Andii Kerlew

    Forgive me for jumping the gun here but imagine owning the blu ray / dvd boxset of every shannara series. Not just elfstones which i am ecstatic about but wishsong, druid, elf queen, scions. The voyage of the jerle shannara series.! This has made my day. With Terry having production status too we get to see just how he imagines the shannara world to look, how the characters look, how the battles shape up. Epic news for an epic tale. Congratulations Terry.

  14. Donna

    I hope this works. I have been looking forward to seeing someone interpret the world of Shannara it seems forever. They would need the right combination for it to truly work. A writer that really “gets” the world that Terry Brooks has created and a director that wants to see that vision come to life. Not to mention the right actors for each of the roles. I’m excited but cautiously so. I hope that it happens.

  15. Awen

    This is fantastic news! I really hope it gets picked up and that it does justice to the book! I’ve always thought that a television series would be better than movies for the books, and I’m glad to hear Terry will have some degree of creative control too.

  16. Alex Brockhagen

    This is VERY exciting news!!!
    And Shawn, I got chills reading your possible synopsis of a first episode:)
    I am also thrilled to hear Terry will partner in this possible endeavor so he can smack the director over the head if he/she gets too “cute”.
    Great job Terry!!

  17. Timothy M Wetzel

    Recently reread Sword and Elfstones, presently on Wishsong, and I’m looking forward to this! I always thought Terry’s books would be better suited to films, but at least we’ll get most or everything in the books with a miniseries. My questions:
    1. Maybe this has been asked before, but what does Terry think of George’s Song of Ice and Fire books, and how they have been adapted for the screen?
    2. For Elfstones, does Terry have any ideas or suggestions of who he wants to work on the show, such as actors, writers, directors, etc.?

  18. Christine

    Oh my gosh!!! I’m so excited! I hope this DOES happen, I need to audtion!!! Although, if I had to choose between being in this and playing Catalya in the Genesis saga… I’d pick Catalya. But I’d still want to audition! Oh my, this is so exciting!

  19. Josh

    Honestly, I would rather reread the book… again 🙂 I tried watching Game of Thrones but gave up because TV just can’t do it justice…
    As a matter of fact, I think its time to reread Elfstones again now

  20. LUKE DUKE

    Terry- Please maintain some sort of control over your story if it goes to a TV series. Too often TV has ruined some great stories. They seem to disregard continuity altogether. The first that comes to mind is Terry Goodkind’s series, which was botched horribly on television. The LOTR films went over so well with die-hard fans because they stayed (kinda) true to the books. I would hate to see your magnificent creation, and my favorite books, be ruined and misconstrued by corporate TV. It’s always scary as a fan, because we’ve had our own images of characters and places in our imaginations for 30 some years now!! That being said, it is an exciting accomplishment, and you deserve congratulations!!

  21. FreeMike

    Elfstones has always been my favourite Shannara book. I do worry about how the demons would be presented in this production, though. Cheap CGI would turn most viewers off and high end CGI would be a budget killer. I would almost prefer a subtle re-envisioning of Sword first (Brona would be easier to recreate, especially if he remains in the shadows until the climax) to get a bit of a following before tackling Elfstones.

    • Wayne

      Indeed, this sounds like a good idea, but think……flashback material. “Sword” is probably going to be used as a great way to hint at the roots that built the foundations for the Elfstone book. The Sword of Shannara too, in the book, does this allusion. I think just calling it “Shannara” would be best since every season or two, generations can change, and there could be a really successful fanchise that could really powerfully depict this series. A season per book? Awesome. Plenty of material.

  22. Jim Kennedy

    What a coincidence; my cousin (who is a big Terry Brooks fan like me) and I were just talking yesterday about how great it would be to have a TV series based on the Shannara .books. Today she messaged me to tell me about this series. Good luck with it, Terry. You have two faithful fans who will watch every week.

  23. frederick whittaker

    I like it. I don’t have cable so I don’t get to see thrones. But it does come out on dvds trough amazon and I get to see thrones that way. Thrones turned out very good and went along story lines good enough. If Elfstones turn out as good as Thrones then I’ll be very happy.

  24. Billy B

    I too would love to see an movie made of Elfstones. I am leary of TV productions and their cost saving production methods that could cheapen the story. TV just has a different mindset that could kill the interest. However a PG13 Elfstones movie and future movies based on the world Terry created has the potential as the block busters of the past. Please don’t sell us short. We the fans wont disappoint.

  25. Rick R.

    As a lifelong fan who has been enjoying Mr. Brooks Shannara stories since around 91′, I can tell you that this is great news, a TV series really is the way to go. Although I believe the shannara books to be superior to the middle earth books, (and therefore deserving of the big screen/ big budget treatment). Having seen and thoroughly enjoyed “Game of thrones”, the prospect of a shannarra series offers the benefit of delivering many more stories in a shorter period of time. My sincerest hope is that the show is produced at a high-qualty cable channel such as AMC. HBO would be ideal also, except they already do GOT. It is awesome that Terry is involved, and hopefully gets final approval with the shows casting, plot points, and visual effects in a similar way to Charlaine harris involvement in the Trueblood show.

  26. Quintin

    As long as they don’t completely change the story like the did for the sword of truth series by goodkind. the shannara series and the sword of truth series have been 2 of my favorite book series for a long time. And that show almost killed my love for the books. So I would love a series on Shannara but only if they keep it at least close to the books and not completely change the characters and story around like they did with that hack of a show.

  27. Wayne

    This is exciting, but I hold onto this excitement with a well earned plethora of trepiditious worries. I grew up on these books. Taught myself how to read with books like this and “The Hoobit” when I was a kid growing up in the 80’s. My worries stem from the many failures that have come around from exciting series from wonderfully talented authors being put on the screen. The vision it lost, details are totally ignored. If a direct book to screen is what is going on, I would then point to the one single huge success, A Game of Thrones, which does leave some very interesting details out, but is so rich and carefully mastered in other areas that this is forgiven. The Sword of Truth series was a failure, becuase it totally lost base with the roots of the book….something the Shannara series is all about, “roots”. Good luck. I, with one eye open eagerly await.

  28. Mae

    This would be fantastic to see the great mans stories on film. I love his writing he is just the greatest story teller ever. I have read most of his books and I am at the moment reading Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara it is so exciting and it is about the Blue Elfstones and the heros are women just great, thank you Terry for giving back so much to the fairer sex. Love you Terry. Best wishes and best of luck to your new adventure.

  29. Robert H

    I was so excited when i started reading this because it started of mentioning making the series into a movie. I was shortly discouraged after reading further and finding out its being discussed as a tv series. Fantasy on tv has never been successful and i think it lacks greatly what a movie producer could do with this series. To be honest when they announced the LOTR as a movie series i was upset because the Sword of Shannara series has always been my favorite and i think it would be the best fantasy series ever to be made into movies. To totally ignore the first boof Sword of Shannara and start with the second book is a perfect example of why this is so wrong. Explain to me the importance of a female in the early LOTR series? There isn’t one!!! Please don’t ruin this dream i have had since the first day i picked up a terry brooks novel and read 500 pages in a few days at an early age of 13. This is movie material!

  30. Steve

    PLEASE…If a TV series is to happen, don’t let it go the way of “The Sword of Truth” novels. (Terry Goodkind) That was an absolutely horrible example of how good books are totally trashed. And Steve Carell as Ben Holiday? Seriously??

    • Craig

      I agree.. “Legend of the Seeker” had the right actors, great landscapes, but totally destroyed the script.

      The producers decided that each episode had to be a complete story line and have a happy ending. The TV series ended up being rated G whereas the books are rated R…

      Learn from other’s mistakes and last longer than two seasons.

  31. Brad M.

    I am a huge fan of the series and especially Elfstones. I am concerned about how well the series will go, if it gets off the ground. I’ve seen both the adaptations of Goodkind’s and Martin’s series. The adaptation of Goodkind’s series was awful. It was a good show by itself, I felt, but not a very accurate adaptation. Martin’s series has been going pretty well I believe especially for the second season when HBO gave them a better budget.

    I was recently discussing this same topic with a friend and we both thought it would be awesome to see Dakota Fanning played Amberle. She already has such an innocent appearance and we know she handle the dynamic roles from her part a few years ago in ‘Houndog.’

    I think Wil, Allanon, and Stee Jans would be some of the most important roles to fill with bigger name actors and actresses.

    I hope this works out for you Terry. I eagerly wait to hear more about this.

  32. Lorrie

    Have to agree with those that are worried that this will be more “Legend of the Seeker” than Game of Thrones…… too many of these goofy people who produce and direct these types of shows just don’t get it…. they make it more “campy” than serious! There is a wealth of story-telling here that could be amazing on-screen – but only if handled correctly!

  33. kevin

    Awesome! ‘Elfstones’ was the first book I read of Terry Brooks and it holds a favorite and special place for me and really introduced me into the world of fantasy fiction. Can’t wait to see what they do with a TV series starting at that point.

  34. pennycandy58

    I am conflicted over this news. I have been a Terry Brooks fan since first reading Sword of Shannara way back when. I have read all his books except the ‘Word & Void’ series. I have read them over and over again. My hope was that the Shannara series would be made into movies for the big screen and not the small screen. I don’t think television will do it justice. I will of course tune in but I would have been so much happier to have seen it made into movies. My son and I have talked on and off over the years about which actors would play certain roles. I have been waiting more than 20 years for this.

  35. Roger Dennis

    I would like them to start with the Sword book first, mainly because Allanon is to me a lot more a main character in this book then he is in the other books. Other than that the Elfstones book would be a very interesting movie or series especially the war between the races and the demons and would give the director a chance to make some imaginative demon creations for the war scenes.

  36. Sam Cleeve

    Brilliant news. I read Shannara several years before I read LOTR and consider it much more readable. I have read the series several times now and get something new out of it everytime.

    I read to Elfstones first and I agree that this is a great place to start – it is still my favourite of the series, although the others aren’t far behind.

    I’m really excited about this and hope that we get to see the pilots in the UK as well, just incase some idiot on the the networks doesn’t know a hit when he sees one and fails to commission the full series.

    Can’t wait.

  37. Payton

    I am not sure about a TV series for Shannara. Game of thrones works well, but it’s very different. When Game of Thrones was advertised; it was not as an ‘Epic Fantasy’. It was presented more as a medievil political thriller. Magic and Dragons is an eye catcher for people like us, but for the masses it’s not. I may be wrong, I hope I’m wrong.

  38. Erik Furby

    I hope the actors aren’t British. Using british actors for fantasy films / TV is EXTREMELY cliche.

    By the way, is Amberle pronounced “Amberl” or “Amber-lay”. That was the biggest holdup in my mind when I was reading the book.

      • Kieran

        Purest non-accent? Um, they do have an accent – a West Coast one! Plus its pretty illogical to think the way of speaking English wouldn’t have changed in the thousands of years between our time and Elfstones. Personally I don’t care about accents as long as there’s some consistency and they match the characters – Rovers shouldn’t have upper class English accents for instance.

  39. Dave Riley

    I love the fact that the Shannara series is being looked at for TV, BUT I truely believe they should include parts of the Sword of Shannara in the series, having read all BUT the last book & The First King of Shannara all the way through.

  40. Lisa Godfrey

    I’ve been a fan of Terry Brooks since I was a young child. I’m delighted to hear at last that somebody has the sense to put it on screen.I’m glad Terry will be envolve to keep it true to his lifes work. Can’t wait !!!!!

  41. Eric Lunar

    This could be great…provided it is made top quality like game of thrones and not low budgeted like some authors stories on scyfy network. nothing worse then good stories being turned into cheesy TV. “Elfstones” has been one of my favorite books for twenty years now and I have always wanted to see a quality production of it. Good Luck.

  42. Bill

    Terrific news! I first read The Sword of Shannara as a high school sophomore in 1977 and own every book published since. It all must start somewhere, and LOTR was adapted through animation and never finished before Peter Jackson got behind the more expansive project.that has been received so well. Being a fan of Tolkien long before Shannara even existed, I am one of those purists who was disappointed by omissions thought unnecessary to the film (Bombadil, for example). But the end result was still satisfying. I can only hope that Mr. Brooks insists on attention to the details that went into the creation of his vision. After all, this is his legacy.

  43. Nicholas Strub

    Awesome! I’ve read and re-read all of Shannara books a great many times and can’t wait to see this if it makes it to production. A TV series also seems more fitting because there is a lot of material to cover in one book.

  44. Stacey Rearick

    I have read every one of your books that i can find and they are amazing. I don’t know how they are gonna do your books justice, but i am very excited for you. I would love to be a part of the show. please post when and where you will have auditions. SR 🙂

  45. Shawn Speakman

    The one great thing about a television series or movie — no matter — is the amount of new readers it will bring Terry. Regardless if it is done right or not, the exposure from such avenues brings new readers. That will be one positive that cannot be overlooked.

    • Geoff

      very true. I just shared this, and instantly one person is inspired to read the books. I could have done it before, but just never thought to. I was just remarking on how it is wonderful that Terry Brooks has so many books. One of the most disappointing things is when a series is over that you really love.

      Everything I have ever read from Terry Brooks is inspirational and satisfying. When wishsong came out, I was a little sceptical that the bloodline generation skipping would distance me from the connection with the characters, but not so. Loved that book just as much. I must admit, the very subtle romances in the various books really are touching and well conceived. This man has a real talent, and aren’t we all so fortunate for this gift that stimulates the imagination and leaves its mark. There are some heavy moments, especially in Elfstones of Shannara. Themes that help young people align to older, more elevated ideas of honor and duty and responsibility than I think are present or widely so, in this fast paced, convenience oriented development, here in the U.S. at least.

      It seems sometimes that writing is becoming a lost art. It is so inspiring to have people such as Mr. Brooks to spark the interest of new young readers to write and become different than the world at large. More cultured somehow, and unique, with an appreciation for themes that build strong character, and instill a sense of strength that lasts through one’s life. I know it has been the case with me. I even had similar developments in my life, where I could later on strongly relate to Ben Holiday as if he was a kindred spirit to myself. That is what these books do. They are not fluff, even when their general themes are light and simply structured, they are only more accessible, but still intricate enough, to leave little room for the imagination to fill in the blanks. This is his gift in writing I believe. He doesn’t just describe… he paints.

      There will be more people that find him through word of this. I don’t know who I can imagine could portray these roles as actors, but I am thinking, now that I know that television has expressed interest. I have still not read Sword of Truth, even though I loved the Legend of the Seeker on TV. For some strange reason, it is one of the books I have not picked up, amongst many many I have read.

      Perhaps once this airs, they might provide some advertising, encouraging people to read the books. I suppose the idea can get lost without a little guidance to point to a path of least resistance that seems appealing. Even now I think I might give the Seeker’s books a read.

      I will be recommending this to all my friends. Thank you for informing us, the “loyal” fans.

      Cheers!

  46. Xerxes

    While “series follows the Shannara family, who are…” has me a bit worried about how well this will be handled (I still cringe from the SciFi Earthsea miniseries), I will hope for the best.
    I like them starting with Elfstones, as Sword really is LOTR with “the names changed to protect the innocent”. Sword does have potential, though, as the occassional “flashback” episode. Broken up, and perhaps even out of sequence depending on which part is important, the parallels to LOTR would not be as obvious.

  47. Emily

    This sounds wonderful! I’ve been reading the Shannara books since I was 13 (I’m 29 now), and have always wondered how the sagas would translate to the big screen; what would get left out, how much of a disappointment it would be.

    Having Shannara play out in a episodic fashion does sound much more appealing, and hopefully will keep true to the books.

  48. Sam

    I can’t wait for it to hit tv, I hope that it attracts a lot of good attention so that there will be many more seasons. The only thing I worry about is that most of the shows that I like only last a couple seasons at best, while the ones that I hate the most never seem to end.

  49. Geoff

    Amazing news! This is one of my favorite books. I read it when I was a boy. I was grounded for the whole summer, for sneaking out of the house, and I got a box of books to read, and this was one of them. The ending actually made me ball like a baby. Nooo!!!! lol. I assume anyone posting here has read it, but I still don’t want to mention what happens just in case. The sub-plot, or love story was one of the best in the fantasy genre. So sad and touching. I hadn’t cried that hard since I saw E.T. two times in the movie theaters, and cried both times, hahaha.

    The battles depicted were written in a fashion rich with detail, the characters well defined and personally identifiable. I could feel their struggles, and can still see in my minds eye Wil, standing his ground with elfstones in hand, glowing green, facing off monsters, greatly outnumbered, or Allanon, what a classic character he is. I was glad that he remained around in some form, in the remaining books through the “Heritage of Shannara” series.

    I read the Sword of Shannara (the first fantasy book I ever read), then this one. I didn’t pick up Lord of the Rings until after reading Elfstones of Shannara. I guess I was comparing Tolkien’s work to this story, and it somehow fell short. I ended up thumbing through some sections of Lord of the Rings, but later read it again and appreciated it for what it is worth.

    It just couldn’t measure up in my eyes to the characters and struggles in the Shannara series. Some of my favorite books of all time, and will always be the books that got me hooked on reading fantasy.

    I also really liked the Landover series. I could picture it as a show as well very easily. Terry Brooks is just amazing overall. Even the Phantom Menace and Hook were great reads.

    One of my favorite authors of all time, and with this book as the beginning of a TV series… I mean wow, it’s like a dream come true.

    Waiting with fingers crossed…

  50. Andrew L N

    I am really excited to hear that there is going to be a miniseries of the Elfstones of Shannara and seeing as I am still fairly new to the series I cannot wait to see it! I loved the book and I just know I will love the miniseries! Can’t wait for more updates in the near future!

  51. Jayrod

    At first I thought that doing a TV series with Elfstones of Shannara would be a dud. However, they could more closely follow the book. Movies have time contraints, etc. So this project could turn out well and thankfully Terry is a partner in this and will be able to exert significant influence in the layout, etc. Season 1: Elfstones of Shannara. What should Season 2 be? First King, Sword or proceed with Wishsong? That’s way down the road but it’s gonna be awesome if they follow the book and Terry’s creative insights!

  52. Andrea

    That’s fantastic, seriously. I was thinking of this surely, or very likely, to take place right by the moment I knew Peter Jackson’s adaptation of LOTR was going to be a great success. After that, I thought it could have been impossible not to look at Mr. Brooks’ epic and long-term work to be the next in line. More than 10 years, to my great discomfort, disappointment and astonishment, have passed since then, and even the most awful fantasy wannabe novels, like Eragon for example, had a chance into the movie-adaptation deal. Why Shannara did not yet? I loved those books (even though I read them all in italian and I began only recently to re-read them in english) and I’d die to see how the stories and such characters as Garet Jax, or Allanon, or Walker Boh would be depicted in a great movie, with a great writer and director, and actors. But I hope so bad this ain’t gonna be a TV series. I think the results would not be as worthy the try as it could be expected by looking at the GOT experience. The matter here is tremendously different. In the Shannara universe we don’t have a scattered narration based on action, thrills, unexpected events, and on the point of view of choices, of singularity, of single men and women will to determine their fate simply by their convictions: GOM is highly constructed on the peculiar dramatic situation of manhood to take hold of your choice and of all its consequences, without knowing if it’s going to be good or not. Shannara for instance has a totally different approach to the story, you have omniscient narration, you have the quest-scheme that is a frequently recurring structure, which gives you a precise horizon of events to look to, not simply leaving you in the obscure and manly realm of uncertainty. The focus here is totally different, it’s put on the wide spectrum of elements that compose the adventure, within which every element has a significance by his own, but always linked to the whole – which is the quest itself. Like in ancient epic or the King Arthur medieval saga. Shannara it’s not only a novel, it is a story more similar to those forms of popular narration, which requires, in my opinion, a rendition that has to maintain a certain integrity, like a single piece of art that show itself different in many ways and by the richness of his details, but above all that testify its greatness in its being a whole. Like a diamond which reflects the light from different angles and by different colors, but its a unique jewel. I fear that if the Elfstones (which is superbe) has to be taken down in slices and remounted with the same outfit and narrative structures and reflection angles of a normal series or of a GOT-like series (which I’m not mentioning as a bad effort, cause I love that too) would be not quite that thing that we all would expect out of it. I know in my heart it needs a good movie production to make the whole saga work like it was for LOTR, and I’m also sure that any book from the saga DESERVES by right that possibility.
    I hope for the best!

  53. John D.

    I would love Elfstones as a feature length film, given all the strides in today’s technology. The misgivings i have about tv is the way alot of content seems dumbed down and the formulaic way characters are written. Costs are always more of an issue as well. Not many shows keep up the quality after the first season and it starts to show. The money always seems to get thin. Pick almost any show and see how they went downhill, production wise. If the production stayed fixed, i think so would the fan base.Its a chicken or egg scenario with them…Stop infusing fresh cash because no one is watching, or do we stop watching because it gets old and tired? I would totally watch, but im just saying. How many shows did you love, only to have them disapear. That would suck with an epic journey Shannara would take us on?

  54. martin sansom

    If I win the Euromillions lottery this Friday (£80 million) I’ll definitely be investing a large chunk to get this TV show made. I have been reading both the Shannara books and the Landover series for over 20 years and have always thought it would make a great TV series or film.

    It’s certainly a more interesting way of spending lottery millions than just buying a fleet of luxury sports cars (maybe I could also commission a flying ship powered by crystals if I win the full £80 million!!!)

    Please keep us updated on how this progresses and I’ll spread the word on my website & blog ( http://sparkstoneweb.wordpress.com ) – I have already got several of my office colleagues hooked on Shannara after I bought in the Gypsy Morph to read during my lunch breaks last week.

  55. Pamela

    This is very exciting news. I think this TV series would be fantastic. I have always thought that the Shannara story lines would make great movies (even better than Lord of the Rings).

    I’ll say some prayers and keep my fingers crossed.

    Congratulations, Mr. Brooks!

  56. Cord

    Fantastic! Game of Thrones says it all. I watch this series and love it, and I’m not even a reader of the series. First read Elfstones over 24 years ago, and it’s still a favorite of mine to reread on occasion, great book. A TV series will be that much sweeter for me. Plus, as a TV series, we’ll get much more in the way of content within 10 to 12 hours than in a 2 to 3 hour movie. 😉 Very exciting indeed.

  57. Mel

    YAY!!!! I really hope this works out, and we get a television series. I think it could be very interesting, and would definately bring in many new fans who will hopefully learn to love this series as much as I do.

  58. Robb

    Elfstones was the first book of the series I read. i friend had it on a camping trip, it was years before I figured out there was a series, and caught up. I’ve often pondered how movies might look, and was inspired by the way they filmed the LOTR.

    The only unique idea I have, not that anyone is asking, is to film all three of a trilogy at one time, that way you can use the same actor to be Allanon. This way you can handle the problem of the production time and the druid sleep aspect of the stories, and let an actor really develop the character.

  59. Kody

    Although when reading them initially I imagined the books becoming films, I think a tv series is a great way to go! The book series is so extensive now that it would take over a decades to make them all. I think GoT has proven that fantasy can be done well on television and I look forward to this project coming to fruition. Just keep us posted on future casting calls. I can’t wait to play “Rock Troll #3”!

  60. Loren

    I am extremely excited about the prospect of Elfstones becoming a TV series. However, I’m not so certain about the production quality of a TV network to stand up to the demands of a project like Elfstones. Game of Thrones has some impressive CGI, but the battle sequences are a bit campy and a little awkward (Blackwater Bay, anyone?) and they haven’t shown them to scale so far. Not even something like the Khalasar was shown in full on GoT (a Khalasar is a group of Dothraki that follow a Khal, usually in 20,000-40,000 person groups) which, if you’ve read the book, is a HUGE part of the first novel. My main concern is that the majesty and “awe” factor I got while reading some of the descriptions of places like Pykon, the Hollows, the city of Arborlon, and especially the huge battle sequences toward the second half of Elfstones (not to mention set design, costumes, and overall feel of romanticized fantasy of Shannara) will be lost without the funding a major motion picture company can offer to such a hefty project. Only time will tell, I suppose.

  61. Wes

    HUGE congrats, Terry. No author deserves this more than you. I think a tv series is honestly the best way to go here.

    It seems like alot of fans are concerned with the risks of this series being produced as a tv series. And most are rightly comparing this opportunity with GoT. Rightly so, as GoT is the de facto standard for how a fantasy book series should be adapted.

    Those who haven’t had the opportunity to see Game of Thrones (GoT) are no doubt the ones who are quite worried about the risks of this particular adaption being a failure — and I don’t blame them. This is to be expected as nearly every other recentfantasy adaptation hasn’t exactly been considered a critically acclaimed success. 😉

    Obviously, one of the most important parts of Terry and his agents shopping this to networks is who is really willing to put up a real budget to turn this dream into a reality. Let me put this into perspective. Most TV shows today cost on average around 1M – 1.5M per episode. GoT cost around 8 Million per episode (and around 10M for the pilot.)

    Don’t let that fact gloss over you. The difference here is significant.

    To further put this in perspective: season one of GoT cost between 50-60M. I expect the cost went up for season two by around 10-20%.

    Now, the kicker. Compare this to some average fantasy films of late:
    • Snow White and the Huntsmen: 175M
    • John Carter: 250-350M
    • Harry Potter (Last 3 movies): 250-350M

    So, you get the idea. While the budget requirements for Shannara may not be as high as GoT (I would argue they ought to be) it still is going to be quite high for tv — and rightly so. But compared to big screen, it will have much less to financial muscle with which to work, yet far more filming, etc. This often trickles down into necessary shortcuts made in tv filming that must be be accommodated — most notably quality special effects.

    Granted, much of the budget of big screen budget goes into the pockets of big name actors and crew. But even still, budget is a challenge for any tv series, let alone one with the aspirations of an adaptation as grand as Terry’s. I’m not saying it can’t be done; I actually believe it can. But the window for success is far more narrow. Hence the ratio of categorically bad fantasy tv series compared to the good ones.

    This also shows the absolute importance of a grand-slam pilot episode. No expense may be spared for the all-important introduction. Not only will it be tantamount to wooing the right network, but it is usually critical to garnering the viewership to keep the series alive.

    A second thought: Terry and the screen writers will be wise to follow in the model of GoT’s path of success. Save for the ‘Battle of Blackwater’ episode, the series largely focuses on characters and their conflict, and not large-scale battle. 10x 1-hour episodes are perfect for this, and always leaving you wanting more. This is a huge strength for Shannara as well. Epic fantasy is well suited to a 10-12 episode production rather than a squeezed 2 hour film. Look at Harry Potter (2 film finale) or even the Hobbit (3 now?). Sure we can argue about producers splitting them up for the revenue, but it is hard to argue the story wasn’t able to be properly spread out in this manner.

    All in all, these are the challenges Terry will face. But the good news is that GoT and some other adaptations have proven they are surmountable. Assuming Shannara has the right network partner, a solid budget, smart casting (good acting), and knock out special effects, this has the potential to be better than any movie could ever be. I, for one, eagerly look forward to this possibility as a reality.

  62. Dave

    Wes, great input and perspective. My biggest concern with a TV series (maybe mentioned already above somewhere) is the attachment viewers get with the actors/actresses that play roles in TV series.

    As mentioned in an earlier post and quite correct, each book that Mr. Brooks releases takes place at a different time in Shannara. If the audience connects with an actor/actress during a season (lets say for Elfstones) for a specific character then the viewer base may diminish as it transitions many years into the future/past. The cast for each book would need to be the cream of the crop.

    I think one of the successes of Game of Thrones is the ability to continue on verses 70-300 years forward. I am confident that Mr. Brooks would be able to write something in the middle to allow for series transition as they go from book to book.

    A movie would be great, but look at the successes of HBO series. If the production company can put together an award winning cast and put top dollar on the pilot viewers will hopefully want more. I know I would want more. Aloha.

    • Wes

      @Dave:

      Dave, that is a really good point. I agree. Having not read GoT before watching the tv series, I’ll never forget Ned’s death. It made me not as eager for season 2. I think that somewhat compares with what you’re talking about — yet on a greater scale with Terry’s books. With the exception of Allanon for a few adaptations, then even him gone, it will make the entire series different with everyone new.

      But I do think that if the series is a knockout success, people will just have to come back no matter what. Terry is the master of this in his books. You always know a story is a success when your fans want more. Maybe the tv series can do this for each generation of Shannara, begging for more than just 10(ish) episodes. Who knows!

  63. Alex Taylor

    I have been a fan since I was 13 years old as well and now I am fast approaching 45!.. Elfstones is one of my favourite pieces of Terry’s work. AWESOME ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

    But — Who which actor would you pick to be Allanon, Wil, Amberle, Garat Jax.

    The mind.

    I have been waiting for this for years and years. Lets hope I don’t have to wait too many more.

    Terry – You are a Legend.

    Alex Taylor (UK)

  64. Nic

    This all sounds fantastic. I’m all for it. A mini-series would definitely be the way to go. Just don’t let Fox get hold of it. They get a good series and then drop it after one or two seasons. Terra Nova and Sliders are good examples.

    Good luck Terry. I hope Elfstones gets picked up.

  65. neil

    Lets not kill it please ,Unsure if a tv series can do it ,But terry as a lot of books lol ,So maybe ,I would like 2 c major backing for it cause i would h8 2 c it fall behind the likes of lord of the rings ,When basically them books grab no imagination for me ,Eragon, christopher polini was a good example , Great book ,Shit movie,Just saying terry is the bestest writer’s out there and with good backing ,Well it would be awesome

  66. martino

    I started reading Goodkinds work and was grossed out about half way through the second book (if I recall) and tossed them where I feel they belong…Never cared to see the movie either, and ditto for GoT (judging by the reviews and trailers it looks a little too explicit for my liking). I am excited for this to be a movie moreso than a TV series for my own reasons (I don’t have time to keep up to a tv series for starters ha). I just hope it doesn’t come across as a rip-off of LOTR and Potter (Allanon being compared to Gandalf or Dumbeldor (sp?) for starters). I loved LOTR and Potter was decent but envision these being way better (likely cuz I never read LOTR or Potter….). Elfstones is a fantastic place to start, either that or Scions which is where I started as a fluke back in the mid 90’s when I picked a book at random for my grade 7 book report project! I was hooked from that day on…And have dreamt about seeing this on the big screen since the likes of LOTR made it big and did a good job…Anyone recall Dungeons and Dragons movie? ROFLMAO!!! Chhheeeeeeesy! *sigh*

    Fingers crossed.
    (ok, nearly all my body parts are crossed for this….haha)

  67. Eric Upchurch

    While Elfstones is my favorite next only to Wishsong .. which is the top fans favorite. I still beileve any Tv Series should start off with the story of Shea Ohnmsford (which I believe still believe should be changed into a female character, with Flint as her over-protective brother,) in The Sword of Shannara as the first season, then Elfstones as the second season, and finishing with The Wishsong as the final third season. It tells the complete story of the Druid Allanon in three generations making a more complete series. I understand why the Producers chose Elfstones because of it’s diverse Characters and complex storyline revolving around the dying Ellcrys with the Elves with demons as enemies. Elfstone is much more adverterous storyline than the Sword, with Wishsong being the best. But I wish for a Hertiage of Shannara Movie base on the four part series … now that would be a Movie or Tv Series!

    Thanks
    eric

  68. Brian Bastante

    I am almost 38 and started with sword in 7th grade. I have always loved the shannara series. I love the idea of a t v show as long as they follow game of thrones rather then legend of the seeker. like every one else has said legend killed the sword of truth series which is a great series. however I would much as a fan rather start with sword. I do not think its that similiar to LOTR, and it does have a female character in Shirl ravenlock, who in a show her part could be made larger and used more. Sword to me is the beggining of everything that follows for the ohmsford and leah families.however another option would be do a mix of movies and tv like they planned for dark tower. maybe word and void movies with sworh, elfstones and wishsong as tv, or vice versa.

  69. jon

    i would love to see this come out but i really think that they should start with sword or even the first king of shannara. yes it has it similarities to LOTR but imo its a lot better and more enthralling than a couple of hobbits going for a walk

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