Not long into the premiere of “The Shannara Chronicles,” a druid is violently awakened from a centuries-long sleep, rises to brandish a magical sword and proclaims, “It has begun.”
And man, he wasn’t kidding.
MTV’s long-awaited fantasy series — based on Terry Brooks’ uber-popular books — kicked off tonight in spectacular, edge-of-your-seat fashion. Among its lively characters: Amberle, an elven princess who becomes the first female member of The Chosen, a group formed to protect the sacred Ellcrys tree; Wil, a seemingly simple half-human, half-elf who decides to leave home and become a healer; and Allanon, that druid who apparently knows s**t is about to go down.
As for Amberle, there’s something special about her: When she touches the Ellcrys, she’s bombarded with visions of the future, and it isn’t pretty: Death and destruction lie ahead and sure enough, Allanon soon travels all the way to Arborlon to confirm it.
“It’s much worse than I thought,” he tells King Eventine (aka Amberle’s grandfather) when he realizes the Ellcrys is dying. “You need to mobilize the elven army.”
But why the call to arms? Turns out, the elves had once used magic to stockade evil demons in a realm known as The Forbidden, and the Ellcrys is what keeps them imprisoned there.
“Each leaf represents a single demon,” Allanon says. “Once they begin to fall, the creatures of the darkness will be released one by one.”
And damn if he wasn’t right: Before long, a single piece of foliage tumbles to the ground and, like an evil phoenix rising from the ashes, the Dagda Mor is resurrected. He, in turn, summons a demon who carries out his command to slaughter every last member of The Chosen.
Luckily, Amberle had already high-tailed it the hell out of there. Reeling from her visions via the Ellcrys, she’s traveled across the Four Lands to see her Aunt Pyria. Allanon, meanwhile, has also left Arborlon to seek out none other than Wil. But why?
“The Four Lands is in grave danger,” the druid says when he tracks down the teen. “Only the last son of Shannara can save it.”
Befuddled, Wil shrugs and replies, “My name’s Wil Ohmsford — you’ve got the wrong guy.”
“You’re a Shannara,” Allanon reveals. “Your ancestors were kings and warriors, heroes. Magic flowed through your father, and it flows through you too.”
But Wil is doubtful. In fact, when Allanon brings him to a dark and mysterious chamber to search for an ancient book, the youth announces that he’s had enough of their quest and calls it quits.
“This is crazy,” he says, heading for the door.
“You can’t walk away from your destiny,” Allanon tells him.
Wil’s reply: “Watch me.”
But when Allanon uses magic to find the book, Wil begins to believe — and eventually agrees to help find Amberle, who has safely made it to her aunt’s (despite that face-off with sneaky rover Eretria). Traveling all the way to Wing Hove, he finds the princess and tells her of his mission.
“It’s really important you return to Arberlon,” he says. “The Ellcrys is dying, and you’re the only one who can save it.”
And speaking of the Ellcrys… another leaf falls and, with it, a flying demon is released — one that suddenly arrives in Wing Hove and begins brutally attacking Aunt Pyria.
When it spots Wil and Amberle, it flies toward them, wings flailing, and Wil — the young man who had only hours before doubted his heritage and almost walked away from his destiny — brandishes a sword and pushes Amberle behind him in an effort to protect her.
But can he? Can Wil fulfill his destiny as the very last Shannara, fight off the evil demon and rescue Amberle — the only person left who can save The Four Lands? Tell us your thoughts in the comments, then tune in to “The Shannara Chronicles” Tuesday at 10/9c — or, if you just can’t wait for more, you can view the first four episodes on MTV.com or the MTV app!