There is a lot of weird in the new Shannara Chronicles trailer that premiered at New York Comic Con this last weekend. So I decided to get my hands dirty and see what I could spot by going frame by frame. Also, you can click to "embiggen" any of these frames to get a better picture of what's going on.
First off, fans of the books already know the "Planet of the Apes" reveal: that hey this is Earth only thousands of years after a devastating nuclear war! So MTV has obviously just accepted that and isn't very shy about using "iconic" scenery to remind you that it's earth. In the above cap, what looks like (to me) the Space Needle is leaning on some remains of some skyscrapers. How the Space Needle retained that much of its original look when the buildings around it crumbled is beyond me, but the shot looks good.
I have no clue who this guy is in the trailer. But the cauldron behind him looks like one of those you see on the terrace of the elven palace in a later shot, so I'm going to go with "this is the changeling" who is the demon that wreaks havoc in the elven palace because it can change form to whatever it wants to. The blood on the lips is kind of a dead giveaway that this person is evil.
I think this shot occurs relatively early in the series and is probably from the pilot. The whole "let's blindfold you and make you run a footrace" strikes me as one of those training things that monks always do to their students. "Use your other senses..." and what not, so I bet this is how "The Chosen" (a council of people who look after the sacred tree known as the Elcrys) get their jobs. How would you like to run a footrace to get your job? I think I'd fail.
This is obviously where the king of the elves (Eventine) shacks up. He's the Terry Brooks version of Elrond. As you can see, there are obvious Lord of the Rings influences. But why not? Elrond in The Lord of the Rings had a pretty nice crib.
This is one of the protagonists named Wil Ohmsford. He's a half elf and gets given some blue elfstones which allow him to hurl blue flame at everything and make it explode, wither, and die. If I remember correctly, the elfstones also function as a compass basically allowing Wil to know which direction he needs to go if he's lost but knows what he's looking for. So a compass that also burns shit down seems like a good legacy weapon to me.
This is Eretria. She's a gypsy but in the book they're called Rovers. Essentially she's the "sexytime" to Wil Ohmsford's "I want to sex you up" vibe, which basically functions to keep Elfstones from turning into the sausage hang that The Hobbit always had a problem with.
This is the sacred tree known as the Elcrys. It has the power to keep demons exiled in a dimension that invisible to mortals and elves alike. As long as it stays strong and proud, then the demons can't threaten the world. So the crux of the story is that the tree is dying and every leaf that falls is basically one demon that gets free of The Forbidding. Naturally, demons immediately resume destroying everything. The book "Elfstones" mainly deals with three demons: the Dagda Mor (the most powerful), the Reaper, and the Changeling. The Dagda Mor (who wields a staff that shoots different colored fire than blue) picks the Reaper because it's good at hunting down and killing things and picks the Changeling because it's good at disguising oneself by changing its outward appearance.
This is Allanon played by Manu Bennett fresh off of "Arrow" where he destroyed it as Slade Wilson. The worried look on his face is because (as a druid) he can sense the Elcrys dying. It's kind of the same look I get when I realize I've killed yet another houseplant by watering it too much.
This HAS to be Allanon's hand surrounded by blue flame. It's really the only thing he does in the books: shoot things with blue flame, and it all comes from his hands. To be fair, the blue flame in the book always came across as always useful (kinda like socks).
This screencap looks like the elven palace (seen above) burning and the whole forest torched by demons. It's obviously a dream (I think) and that's Amberle's head in the foreground. My guess is she's been given a vision of what will happen should the Elrys die. As last of the Chosen (all her fellows get butchered by a demon but I can't remember which one) it's up to her to save the world basically. So in a sense, she's the "Chosen One"...lulz.
I think this is a screen cap that shows the Dagda Mor there in the upper right. What gives him away is the staff he's holding, which I mentioned earlier shoots a different colored flame other than blue. Was it red? Red seems kind of demonic so yeah...I'm going with red. Anyway, he's the most powerful sorcerer among the millions of demons on the other side of the Forbidding Wall. It's my guess that this screen cap takes place while the Dagda Mor is still in the Forbidding because of all the yellow noxious mist. I guess the far side of the Forbidding is essentially a toxic waste dump of bad gas.
This looks like the Dagda Mor and the Changeling about to have a demonic kiss. Who knew demons could be so intimate?
I think this is our first shot of the Reaper. In the book, the Reaper is pretty much a traditional "Reaper" demon with a cloak that swirls in the wind and a cowl with an impenetrable blackness staring back at you. I always pictured the Dementors from Harry Potter as being very "Reaper-esque." I guess the makers of the Shannara chronicles want to distance themselves from HP and have gone to effects that invoke viscera and horror, kind of like Alien.
What in the world is this? I don't remember there ever being snow in the Elfstones of Shannara. My guess is that it's the tower that Mallenroh lives in because there are scenes of Wil and someone else trying to get out of a room that's obviously burning down in the trailer. That reminds me of the witch sisters (Mallenroh and Morag) that lived in a valley that surrounded a lone mountain. Somewhere in that mountain was a sacred place where Amberlee needed to take a seed from the Elcrys. In the book it was forested, but maybe they are going with snow and ice to differentiate it from the elven homeland. Mallenroh and Morag were very interesting characters. The CGI budget may have been too high for MTV to do justice to Mallenroh because she had an army of treants (essentially) that kept her valley safe from intruders. But honestly, the series looks like they spared no expense so I gotta say, I'm excited for January. Below is the full trailer as seen at New York Comic Con. I left a few screen grabs out because they seemed redundant to explain. Let me know what you think.