×

‘The Shannara Chronicles’ Cast, Creators Talk Bringing Fantasy Series to New Audiences

At the Los Angeles premiere of MTV’s “The Shannara Chronicles” Friday at the iPic Theater in Westwood, cast and crew shared their thoughts on collaborating with MTV and how the series will captivate non-fantasy genre audiences.

The source material that launched MTV’s forthcoming fantasy series is over three decades old — senior to its target audience. The ten-episode series, which was filmed entirely in New Zealand, follows the story outlined by Terry Brooks’ 1982 novel “The Elfstones of Shannara,” which is the second installment in a multi-book series.

“We wanted to do something special and different,” executive producer Jon Favreau told Variety. “The source material has been around for many decades and there are a lot of fans waiting to see it done right.” He also attested to MTV’s commitment to the creators’ vision of the series, adding that “even though it was a new partnership and something that’s a little bit different from what they’ve done historically, they had a tremendous amount of passion.”

Added fellow executive producer Al Gough, “They wanted it very badly, they knew it was a big swing for them and they loved the vision that we pitched.”

Favreau described Brooks’ post-apocalyptic book series as a “reimagining of a time-honored genre.”  The installment will follow the quest of an elf princess to defend her magical homeland from an evil demon army.

Favreau and Gough were joined on the carpet by executive producer Miles Millar and cast members Poppy Drayton, Austin Butler, Ivana Baquero, James Remar and Brooke Williams. Also in attendance were author Terry Brooks, Vanessa Hudgens and Wilmer Valderrama.

On the MTV series’ ability to draw in audiences unfamiliar with the fantasy genre, Drayton said, “Because it is in the fantasy genre it’s so easy to pigeonhole it, but it’s so much more than just a fantasy show. I hope it does attract an audience who ordinarily wouldn’t watch fantasy shows.”

Co-star Butler, who describes the fantasy genre as “my place where I can disappear the most into,” added that while the backdrop of the story is rooted in fantasy, the themes expressed throughout the plot are universal.

The creators, however, wanted to assure die-hard fans that Brooks’ series is in good hands at MTV.

“The show is very faithful to the spirit of the books and we have Terry’s stamp of approval, so we’re hoping that’ll be the way for fans of the books to come to the show,” Gough said.

Following the screening, guests gathered at a reception in the iPic Theater lobby, which was enclosed — true to theme — by a wooden cage and adorned with “Shannara”-inspired decor.

The Shannara Chronicles” premieres on MTV on Jan. 5.

Pictured above: Austin Butler, Beth Corets, Al Gough, James Remar

Popular on Variety

More Scene

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content