7:30 pm EDT, October 7, 2017

NYCC: ‘The Shannara Chronicles’ cast, crew discuss the beauty of going ‘off book’

The Shannara Chronicles headed to NYCC with not only a new season but new characters, quests, and consequences as well.

Well, we did it. The wait is almost over and we’re about to get a new season of The Shannara Chronicles, but before we dive into a new adventure, we got the opportunity to speak with the cast and crew at New York Comic Con.

First up were the show creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough. While speaking to Millar and Gough it seemed as though there was a sort of liberation in being able to go ‘off book’ for season two of Shannara. “It did give us free range and it allowed us to cherry pick characters and situations and storylines from the other books that we really liked to weave our own tapestry this season,” Millar shared.

From there they wanted to reflect on season one and look closely at the things they both liked and knew they didn’t want to repeat. “We looked at the strengths of the first season – we loved many things – but the linear nature of a quest is something we didn’t want to do again.”

“We wanted something that was more unexpected with more twists and turns in the story, that the characters could be deeper and more emotionally complex, and to have more interaction with the characters.” Which conveniently lent itself to the network move to Spike. “I think we wanted to do a final change anyway,” Gough told us at today’s roundtables.

“Interestingly, Spike just allowed us to do that. You know you’re going to a more adult network – when you jump generationally you never know what the consequences of anything were. So that was something else that was interesting. You had a whole demon war. People know magic is back. How are they reacting? Spoiler alert: Not well.”

Austin Butler took that note to heart and decided that despair would be an underlying emotion he wanted to play with this season. “Because it is a year later,” he said, “I just really played with that feeling of despair. The feeling of like, ’I’m doing my best but what am I here for?’”

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Butler shared that part of the fun was seeing where Wil actually ended up after all this time, “It was really interesting to have the same character but really dig into that. Think about – when life starts getting really messy and we start changing as humans. Are we the same person? Can we find love again? Can we find hope again,” he went on.

For Ivana Baquero she felt strangely more prepared for season two than one might expect on paper. After learning so many skills and tools fitness during the patented Shannara bootcamps, she had managed to keep up her routine for season two. “Going into season two I did feel like I was more prepared. I think it actually suited me [the person] that the character actually had more action this season. It was a great combination.”

And from what we can tell from the trailers, it’s a good thing she stayed in shape. “There’s new elements – new weapons this season, related to magic,” Baquero explained. “And obviously we know Eretria doesn’t have magic per say, like for instance Wil does, but you’ll see little weapons that she can use to get out of certain situations that are somehow magical.”

Another new aspect this season will be Allanon’s dynamics within the whole show. “[Miles Millar] wanted to draw Allanon more into the heart of the storyline,” Manu Bennett told us. Allanon acted more as a shepherd to those around him in the first season of Shannara, “Aside from Wil – which kinda became more of a stand-off-ish relationship – I didn’t really have a relationship with anybody. Whereas this season there’s a few.”

Bennett had other teasers regarding Allanon that we can’t wait to see unfold. “There’s a big game changer half way through the season that really surprised me. They sort of kept it as a big secret and that’s all I can say… But what I do know is that those things we’re talking about in the first season about Allanon’s involvement and relationship with various characters, I got a lot of opportunity this season to get gritty with quite a few characters actually. Wil is one of them”

Then of course we have our Princess of Leah; Lyria. The young royalty will be played by Vanessa Morgan, and from what we can tell she’s going to add a lot to this season. “My character moves away from home – by herself – because even though she’s a princess [she] chooses to live a different lifestyle than she would have at home,” Morgan began. “Emotionally she doesn’t want to have those types of responsibilities and be bossed around all the time by her mother.” Who obviously, is the queen of Leah.

In addition to all the political and romantic intrigue that will be surrounding Lyria this season, she also will be bringing a note of action as well. “I had a long customized sword from my palace. It had my palace triangles on it,” she said proudly. “I’ve never done a project where we had one month of training – sword fighting, horseback riding…” it was quite the experience and one her glutes are glad it over.

Although we would have loved to see some of the other newbies make their debut at NYCC, I suppose we’ll have to wait for their appearance on the show itself. Which luckily, isn’t that long of a wait.

The Shannara Chronicles season 2 premieres Wednesday, October 11 at 10 PM on Spike TV

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