Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sword of Shannara


Some of my favorite fantasy books are from Terry Brooks’ Shannara series. I read a number of the books in the series when I was younger and I have recently started to re-read them. On page 16 of Starlog issue 26 (September 1979), there is the following news about the first book Sword of Shannara:

“Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara had been optioned for filming by a new production company called Filme Magicke, Incorporated”

Based on an interview with Brooks in issue 107 of Starlog (June 1986), it appears that this didn’t work out so well.

“The author also has no great desire to see any of his works adapted to the big screen. "I'm scared to death," Brooks admits. "I've seen what they've done to fantasy in other forms and I haven't seen anything that I thought was done well.

'”I sold a movie company an option on The Sword of Shannara and they held it for six years. At the end of that time, they released it  with their last draft of the screenplay and it  was an abortion like you would not have believed. They completely changed the story. Thank God nothing happened. Now, I'm really gun-shy. I think maybe I'm better off if  they don't do anything and let it live out its life the way it was intended, rather than create  Frankenstein on the motion picture screen. I thought the movies butchered Tolkien
[remember this was before Peter Jackson’s movies], and if  they do to my books what they did to Dune, I'll go out and shoot myself."

His attitude towards a movie adaptation must have changed at some point because in 2007, the rights were acquired by Warner Bros. Note that this article is obviously incorrect about the rights never having been optioned before.

But the story doesn’t end there. In 2010 the WB rights expired and in 2012 it was announced that Sonar Entertainment had acquired the rights and plans to develop a TV series based on the books, most likely starting with Elfstones of Shanarra. I just finished re-reading Elfstones and think this is a good place to start a series. As much as I like Sword it follows the Lord of the Rings storyline a little to closely. It will be interesting to see what happens with this project.

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