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Manu Bennett is going from The Hobbit to another beloved fantasy property.
Shannara takes place in a world set thousands of years after the destruction of civilization as we know it. The 10-episode adaptation of Terry Brooks‘ book series follows the Shannara family, who are able to tap into ancient magic and whose adventures help reshape the world’s future. Season one is based on The Elfstones of Shannara, the second title in Brooks’ series
Bennett will play Allanon, a druid who is the last of his kind in the world of Shannara. He is described as a wise, perceptive and serious man who knows something incredibly important has begun when the wise tree Ellcrys starts to die. He enlists Wil (Austin Butler) to fulfill his destiny and save the four lands.
Bennett has found success with action-heavy, alpha-male roles of late, and Allanon definitely fits that mold. Bennett can be seen on the big screen in The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, in which he plays the menacing orc king Azog. He is also known for playing the deadly villain Deathstroke in The CW’s Arrow and the powerful gladiator Crixus on Starz’ Spartacus.
MTV picked up the adaptation of Brooks’ Shannara straight to series in June, giving it a 10-episode order. The Shannara book series began with 1977’s The Sword of Shannara and has grown to include more than 25 books made up of multiple trilogies and a prequel. The books are estimated to be the highest-selling unadapted fantasy series in the world, and Brooks is considered the second-highest-selling fantasy author, trailing only Harry Potter‘s J.K. Rowling. Earlier this month, Carrie Diaries favorite Austin Butler was cast as the male lead, Wil Ohmsford, who is half human and half elf.
MTV hopes Shannara will do for it what Game of Thrones has done for HBO and Outlander has done for Starz. Smallville‘s Miles Millar and Al Gough will serve as showrunners and executive produce with Jon Favreau, Jonathan Liebesman, Brooks, Dan Farah and David Blocker. Liebesman, who directed this summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, will helm the first two episodes of the series, which also comes from Gene Stein and Sonar Entertainment.
Bennett is repped by Cynthia Booth at Don Buchwald & Associates and managed by Intellectual Artists Management’s Brad Pence and Mike Gillespie. He is repped in New Zealand by Johnson and Laird Management. His legal rep is McKuin Frankel and Whitehead.
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