Austin Butler, cast as Wil Ohmsford in MTV's Elfstones of Shannara

Austin Butler, cast as Wil Ohmsford in MTV’s Elfstones of Shannara

MTV has announced two more castings for its 10-part mini-series adaptation of Terry Brooks’ The Elfstones of Shannara, and they’re doozies: Wil Ohmsford, conflicted hero, and Ander Elessedil, trouble Elvish prince.

“Austin Butler is going from playing a 1980s heartthrob to portraying an elf,” The Hollywood Reporter reported today. “Butler will star as Wil Ohmsford, who is half human and half elf . [His] easygoing life is about to be turned upside down when he learns that he is the last of the legendary Shannara family. Charged with finding the Druid who will guide him to his destiny, Wil realizes his dangerous journey is just beginning.”

Wil Ohmsford is the central character around who the story’s large ensemble cast revolves. Unless the adaptation departs significantly from the novels, Wil is not active in seeking out this adventure. In fact, most of Brooks’ Shannara novels involve the protagonists being roped into saving the world against their will. We’ll see if this is true or not for the adaptation when it debuts in 2015.

“Aussie actor Aaron Jakubenko has joined the cast of Shannara,” revealed Deadline. “[Jakubenko] will play Ander, Amberle’s (Poppy Drayton) uncle, an Elven Prince with the reputation for being the wild party boy who has yet to find his way in the world.”

Ander Elessedil, known to fans of Brooks’ novel as more of an introspective bookworm being described as having a “reputation for being the wild party boy,” certainly tells us a lot about the direction this adaptation is heading. Casting Butler, best known for his role on The Carrie Diaries, a teen-focused prequel to Sex in the City, as Wil Ohmsford also suggests that MTV’s focus for the series likely remains their adolescent and teenage core audience. So, think more One Tree Hill than Game of Thrones.

Aaron Jakubenko, cast as Ander Elessedil in MTV's Elfstones of Shannara

Aaron Jakubenko, cast as Ander Elessedil in MTV’s Elfstones of Shannara

(It’s also important to note that the author of the article does not appear to be familiar with the books, as the description of the Shannara family’s magic and import to the story is somewhat oversold in the write up. Innate magic is not introduced to the Shannara/Ohmsford line until Wil’s children. This suggests that the character and plot descriptions above might also not be entirely accurate. Shawn Speakman, Brooks’ webmaster, indicates as much.)

As much as I want to bellyache about this… it’s not entirely inappropriate for Brooks’ series, and reflects the demographic I was a part of when I first discovered the Shannara series. So, we’ll see.

Still, the look is there for both of the actors. Very curious to see what casting has in store for Eritrea, the third point in the novel’s central love triangle, and, of course, Alannon, the mysterious Druid held dear by so many Shannara fans.

Casting for Amberle Elessedil, Ander’s niece and the novel’s heroine, was announced in November, 2014.

  • Shawn Speakman December 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    I’m pretty excited about this, as you can imagine. From everything Terry has shared with me, the show is going exactly how he wishes. He has control over the scripts and that’s the most important thing but he also gets to sign off on the casting. So far, he’s super happy with the three cast members.

    We’ll see what they do with Eretria, Allanon, and Eventine. I can see the casting directors choosing someone of ethnicity for Eretria and Allanon, which in my mind would be a better representation of the Shannara world. Allanon is described in the books as having dark skin, and I know Terry has said online that he wouldn’t mind an ethnic Allanon. Fingers crossed for that.

  • Aidan Moher December 8, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    That’s all fantastic news, Shawn. Very happy to hear that Terry’s directly involved in the show.

  • […] cast. Most of the characters Wil meets throughout the novel are Elvish (already established by the casting of Austin Butler and Aaron Jakubenko as a fair-skinned race), but there are a lot of other […]

  • […] Baquero has grown up a lot in the nine years since filming Pan’s Labyrinthe, but her youthfulness is sure to breathe life into Eretria, adopted daughter of the Rover Cephelo. Eretria is the more fiery counterpart to the measured elf Amberle, portrayed by Poppy Drayton. Predictably, the two of them form two of three points in a love triangle with the story’s protagonist, Wil Ohmsford (played by Austin Butler). […]