NYCC: The Shannara Chronicles
The Shannara Chronicles was MTV’s big scripted fantasy series. It was an exciting series that fans have been waiting for more of. Now, in it’s sophomore season, the show has moved over to SpikeTV. With that comes a darker story that departs a bit from Terry Brooks’ series that it was adapted from (but stays within the world and with the characters). We sat down with the cast and creators to talk about what we have to look forward to.
Al Gough and Miles Miller (creators, executive producers, and show runners)
Al on changing from season 1 to season 2:
We wanted to do a tonal change anyway. Interestingly, Spike allowed us to do that. It’s a more adult network. When you jump generationally, you see the consequences of things. You know, you had a whole demon war…how are they reacting? Spoiler alert: not well. What is the real human emotion with all these quests and elves and magic? What is it that audiences will lock on to emotionally? And, with sci-fi and fantasy, what are you saying about the real world we are living in?
Ivana Baquero (character: Eretria)
On training for the show:
When I started in season 1, I’ve never done any kind of action show before so it was quite a challenge for me. We had a bootcamp everyday. We had a personal trainer. We had boxing, sword fighting, horse back riding, but when I got into season 2. I kind of continued that life style–all that gyming and special dieting. Going into season 2, I felt more prepared.
There’s new elements, new weapons related to magic this season. You’ll see little weapons that she can use to get out of situations that are somehow magical.
On Eretria’s bisexuality and relationship with Lyria this upcoming season:
I really hope it’s just embraced for what it is. What I really like about Shannara is that it treats Eretria’s bisexuality in such a natural way. Even in season 1, it’s the most natural thing in the world; it’s frowned upon to get with an elf, but not with another woman. We did it with a lot of love, so we hope the fans enjoy it.
Manu Bennett (character: Allanon)
On relationships in season 2:
There’s a big game changer halfway through the season that really surprised me…I got a lot of opportunity this season to get gritty with quite a few characters. Wil is one of them…At one point I wondered whether we went too far in making them not friends, but as this season expanded, it was better….It’s interesting because it holds a mirror up to Allanon as well. Wil really is the one who makes him feel responsible and guilty the most.
Austin Butler (character: Wil Ohmsford)
On how much Wil has changed in season 2:
That was something I thought about a lot. We had a lot of time in between filming the two seasons. It wasn’t until about a month or two before filming that I even saw a script for season 2. So, I didn’t have a lot of time with it. I had a lot of time to ruminate on what I thought I would do. I didn’t realize we were going to take place a year later. So when I finally got the script, some of it aligned with what I thought and some of it was like, “Oh, I don’t know about that,” but in the process of letting it marinate [and] because it is a year later, I played with that feeling of despair. Like, “I’m trying my best, but what am I here for?” That was really interesting: to have the same character, but to really dig into that. When life starts getting really messy and starts changing, as humans, are we the same person? Can we find love again? Can we find hope again? Finding that through Wil was really therapeutic and empowering in my real life as well.
Vanessa Morgan (character: Lyria)
The biggest challenge for me I guess was just physical training. Sword fighting, horse back riding–a beautiful white horse with big blue eyes. There were some weekends where I was drained so I would just sleep the whole time.
We had a month of sword training and physical training. I had a long customized sword from my palace. The actual sword when I’m not fighting is very heavy, but the one we use to fight with is very light.
I was wearing this big pouffy wedding dress while running and trying to sword fight. It wasn’t even the sword that cut me up, it was the dress! Maybe a couple bruises from sword fighting.
On attending Comic Con:
It’s definitely cool to see the environment. It made me excited for it coming out to see all the fans super excited for it.
The Shannara Chronicles season 2 will air on Spike starting Wednesday, October 11.