The Shannara Chronicles season 2 is going off-book, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
Shannara season 1 followed Terry Brooks’ novel entitled The Elfstones of Shannara. We were introduced to Wil, Amberle, and Eretria, as well as their quest to save the Ellcrys and the entire world from the Dagda Mor.
Response to season 1 was mixed, but in general those that liked the book series found plenty to be happy about in MTV’s television adaptation. It was enough to get the show a second season, though there were plenty of questions about where the series would go from here.
At the end of season 1, Amberle sacrificed herself to save the Ellcrys, which is also the conclusion to the Elfstones novel. The next book in the series jumps a generation and explores the adventures of nearly a whole new set of characters.
For obvious reasons, The Shannara Chronicles wasn’t going to ditch its entire cast and start from scratch, even if that is what happened in Brooks’ trilogy. Instead, they elected to fill in the gap between Elfstones and the followup book The Wishsong of Shannara.
In season 2, Amberle’s sacrifice still sticks, but we continue to follow Wil and Eretria’s story, one year after the events of season 1. Fans of the books may be disappointed the show isn’t following the structure of the book series, but there are several major reasons why the shakeup for season 2 may just be the best course of action.
1. We get to keep following our favorite characters
Can you imagine falling in love with these characters and never seeing them again after season 1? It’s bad enough that Amberle’s sacrifice means she’ll only ever appear on the show in dreams or visions — I don’t want to know what it would be like if we never saw Wil or Eretria again.
MTV’s Scream is rebooting the show in season 3 with an entirely new cast of characters, and it hasn’t quite been sitting well with fans of the first two seasons. If Shannara did the same, most of its audience is likely to abandon ship. Keeping these characters around means our investment in season 1 wasn’t in vain.
2. We get to meet interesting new characters
Seeing your favorite characters from Brooks’ novels come alive is no doubt exciting for those who have been fans of the series for quite some time. However, the Shannara universe is so vast that there’s plenty of room to populate the world with new characters who have something else to offer.
Elfstones was written in the early 1980s, and no matter how progressive it tried to be, the television show has taken steps to ensure a much more diverse cast. Several of the main characters are people of color, and Eretria is decidedly bisexual. This allows for new characters to come into the show and influence it in a way they never could in the books.
3. Book fans will get to be just as surprised as non-book fans
Some fans may be worried that any deviation from Brooks’ novels means the show won’t be as authentic as season 1, but there are plenty of reasons to be excited for season 2 and beyond. To start, Brooks is still involved in the series, so you can expect season 2 to be true to his vision, despite any new additions.
When we spoke to Executive Producers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough at NYCC this year, they also discussed the advantage of trekking through new territory for the show. They spoke to not doing another quest storyline for season 2, as well as their ability to now “cherry pick characters and situations and storylines from the other books that we really liked to weave our own tapestry this season.”
Plus, now everyone will be surprised by the twists and turns this season will take, not just the non-book readers!