The highly anticipated season two of Shannara Chronicles starts on Wednesday, October 11. The season opener is set one year after the end of season one and takes viewers from the early season one Elf vs Man world and places us firmly into a much gritter post-apocalyptic world. For fans of the books, season 2 takes place between the book The Elfstones of Shannara and The Wishsong of Shannara. As Executive Producers Al Gough and Miles Millar stressed in the press room at New York Comic Con, “We are going to be true to the legacy of the books.” By placing season 2 between the two books allowed them to cherry-pick characters and situations from other novels. This enabled a move away from the a ‘quest of the season formula’ to something more unexpected. According to Gough and Millar season 2 has more twists and turns, deeper characterizations and plays to the actors’ strengths within the plot. One of the actors teased a major event half way through season 2. The producers repeatedly stressed that all of this is being done with the blessing of Terry Brooks.
At the Shannara panel at New York Comic Con (NYCC), attendees were treated to a 12 minute preview of season 2. The visuals were stunning, complete with overgrown rusted cars, decomposing cities and large plot lines suitable for the epic that is the Shannara Chronicles. The fight scenes were surprising and had a cinematic quality. Viewers were transported right back to the gritty end of season one with the promise of more exploration of the post-apocalyptic world.
The preview reintroduced the surviving main characters from season one: Eretria (Ivana Baquero) within a party of horseback riders as they are surprised by trolls. The resulting action sequence is breathtaking, with a backdrop of the severely aged Golden Gate Bridge, along with stunning fight scenes and costumes. The preview also introduced the audience to a new character: Lyria (played by Vanessa Morgan, soon to be a regular on Riverdale). An early romantic relationship clearly begins between the two characters. The strong indication from the cast is that this is a continuing love interest of season 2. Thankfully, there are no deaths planned for the couple in this season.
The character of Will (Austin Butler) is reintroduced in Storlock, a Gnome camp. He is leading a quiet life as a healer without magic. There is an air of sadness about him. It becomes apparent with the introduction of Mareth (Malese Jow), that despite turning away from magic it will find him, as he is the last in the line of the Shannara. This leads to the over-arching main conflict of season two: magic is back and folks are not happy to see its return. The anti-magic group, Crimson and their leader Genera Riga (Desmond Chiam) are on the rise against the practitioners of magic and Elf King Anderl. The druid Allanar (Manu Bennett) and Will fight back.
The seer Bandon (Marcus Vanco) is not forgotten; his startling reveal, succumbing to the influence of the demon Dagda Mor at the end of season one can only complicate Will’s and Allanon’s fight against the anti-magic group, the Crimson.
While Allanar was not present in the clip shown at the panel, there was a promise from Manu Bennett that he has a strong role in season two. Furthermore we were promised more scenes with both Will and Allanar. In this author’s opinion, the interaction was one of the highlights of season one. I can only believe that the increased interaction between these two is a result of the producers moving away from the cannon of the books and writing to the strengths of the series. More evidence of this is the move away from the typical fantasy archetypes. For example, Allanar is not Gandalf, nor is Will Frodo. We see Allanar’s disillusioned apprentice Brandon, Will being torn between two attractions, Eretria seemingly abandoned. The unpredictability, good writing and excellent production values all combine to make this a must-watch series.
The move from MTV to Spike makes sense, given the older male demographics of Spike and aligns with well with the mature approach of the series. Season one is available for streaming on Spike and Netflix. However, for those who are curious, tonight’s season opener could be a good jumping in point and would be an excellent way to see if the series is appealing. The character backstories could appear to be a little disconnected when skipping season one but season two is the start of a new ‘book’ and can be viewed indepentantly.
Here are a few links to prepare you for the stunning series opener on Wednesday, October 11, on Spike at 10 pm eastern time.
The first is a great 4 minute forward to season 2 by the producers:
Here’s a couple of teaser trailers:
Do you plan to watch Season 2 of Shannara Chronicles? Join the conversation on FoCC!