One of the most popular fantasy series of all time is finally getting adapted after more than 35 years in print.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, MTV has just given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to Shannara, a TV series based on Terry Brooks' bestselling fantasy series of the same name. Beginning with The Sword of Shannara in 1977, the series has spawned 25 novels, with several more already on the way. The U.S. alone has more than 26 million copies of the Shannara books in print, making it quite possibly the most popular fantasy series never to get a TV or movie adaptation, and Brooks is second only to J.K. Rowling on the list of highest-selling living fantasy authors (though George R.R. Martin might give him a run for his money in years to come).
Back in 2007, it seemed a Shannara movie might come our way from Warner Bros., but the rights expired in 2010. Now the saga is coming to the small screen under the leadership of Smallville co-creators Al Gough and Miles Millar. Brooks himself will serve as an executive producer of the series, alongside Gough, Millar, Jon Favreau (who was originally slated to direct the pilot but backed out due to scheduling), Dan Farah and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles director Jonathan Liebesman, who will direct the first two episodes of the series.
Shannara is set in the Four Lands, a future version of North America that was once ravaged by a nuclear disaster known as the Great Wars. In the aftermath of the Great Wars, civilization reorganized, medieval technology became the norm again, and magic returned to the world, and with it races of elves, dwarves, demons, trolls, gnomes and more. The Shannara novels encompass a vast chronology of events featuring many characters and races, but the first season of the series will reportedly focus on adapting the second novel in the series, The Elfstones of Shannara. Published in 1982, it's the story of a quest by the Elves to create a new magical tree known as the Ellcrys, which will help them contain the Demons, and of efforts by the Elven army to distract the Demon forces until the Ellcrys can be re-established. It's got all the makings of full-on epic fantasy, complete with unabashed magic, and if the adaptation proves successful it could prove a worthy match for Game of Thrones and usher even more fantasy television onto our screens.
There's no news yet on who'll star in the series, or when it will debut, but at long last Shannara is coming.