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Wizard's First Rule - Comic-Con Report

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 24th 2008 9:31PM

Well, the big news to come out of the Wizard's First Rule panel was that the series is not going to be called Wizard's First Rule. The new title is Legend of the Seeker. Why? Well, according to panelists and author Terry Goodkind the name change was made to focus on the hero of the book itself rather than the main book of the series.

A few other tidbits from the panel and press event can be found after the jump.

As Brett reported last week, the show will start in syndication on November 1st (filming has already begun). It has been cleared in about 97% of the stations. Most of these, according to executive producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, are part of the Tribune network of television stations. It will air on Saturday nights and, in many cases, be part of the CW's leased-programming block.

The first season will be 22 episodes, with a two-hour season premiere. Each episode will be standalone and feature a beginning and an end. Wizard's First Rule author Terry Goodkind said that he wanted to have this format to allow fans of the series as well as new viewers to be able to jump into the show at any time. The first season will cover the main plot points of Wizard's First Rule, which chronicle the adventures of Richard Cypher, Kahlan, and the old, wise and powerful wizard Zedd (are there any young, silly and weak wizards?).

Everyone on the panel agreed that this was the right time for a syndicated series. Terry had always been looking for an avenue to get his characters onto the screen and Sam, Rob and Ken Biller helped him to get that request fulfilled. It didn't hurt that both Sam and Rob, as well as their kids, are big fans of the book series.

When asked if Legends will have some of the humor present in his previous syndicated outings of Hercules and Xena, Raimi answered that their will be humor, but it will come from the characters and not the situations. Raimi added that Legends will remain as true to the books as it can, which means fairly serious.

Even though the books are fairly violent, the Legends series has been toned down a bit for the television audience. However, said Tapert, being that they are a syndicated show has given them a bit of leeway. So, there will be blood coming from people's mouths after a lung injury but "no bubbles".

In addition to previously announced actors Craig Horner (Richard Cypher) and Bridget Regan (Kahlan), Raimi announced that actor Bruce Spence (Mad Max, The Matrix Revolutions) will portray Zedd. Also, Jay Laga'aia (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) will portray the boundary patrolman Chase.

When asked about digital enhancements for the show, Tapert said that the environment -- New Zealand -- will not be tampered with. However, there will be digital enhancements for some of the magical creatures the adventurers encounter.

When asked about potential lash-back from fans of the series who will be upset about the format of the show, Goodkind said he expects some kind of angry response. But, said Terry, as long as they get the characters right the stories are not important: fans want to see the characters they love brought to screen.

A new trailer has been released at the Legend of the Seeker website.

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September 29 2008 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And just for clarification, here is the trailer link:


And for some cool new imagery:


I would venture that even if Terry Goodkind novels are unknown to you, it's going to be worth checking out.

September 07 2008 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually really enjoyed this series for a while in high school (the first few books at least), but that trailer was the corniest piece of BS I have ever seen. Hope the Song of Ice and Fire series doesn't end up looking like this.

July 28 2008 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let me hit a few points, which I think will help mollify some, simmer a couple or three and clear up some misnomers, confuzzled or other wise incorrect assumptions some may have.

While we all wonderful mental images of the series, the characters, places, events etc, these will not be what you have seen in your head over the years (Thank God as some of you are such warped people to begin with) Seriously just kidding ya know...

Anyway, I know you want the series to be the book... Let's face it, No movie, T.V. series or mini series has ever "been the book". The "book" is and always BE better. Ok, now having said that...

Terry suggested some time ago to Sam that rather than a movie, the better route would be a made for t.v. series. That would allow for "more" story telling. It would allow for "more" of the fleshing out of the characters, places, events...AND allow for more to the story[s].

So, Sam, Rob and Co. were again astounded at Terry's insights and were immediately on board with that. It was such an insightful and stellar value point, ABC/Disney just had to have it. SO in Jan of 2008, while I was here in Vegas, The bidding war went into over drive... Much like the record breaking offer Terry received for his Debit Opus "Wizards First Rule" (A record which still stands to this day); this also was a record breaker...

BUT ABC/Disney would not be denied. "We know a block buster when we see it"... This also is fleshed out in the aspect that even BEFORE any hype, trailers or much of anything, this series has been picked up in over 98% of the markets...again a record breaker, and stunning ABC/Disney.

All because this is a story about Hero's...TRUE heros!. Heroic people acting in a manor that underscores the true Nobility that is mankind. It proves what Goodkind has been telling us for over 15 years now... People want heros... TRUE Heros. This is the same thing Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert Ned Nallie, ABC and Disney all agree on... This is why you see something like George R R Martin's A song of Ice and Fire always failing by comparison, why it is still sitting on the shelf, why the screen play has had to have been rewritten several times already, and it is still sitting there... It has no true hero's and no honor for life... People want to feel good about their heros, they want Heros, they can believe in!!!

Ok, now... In order to offer more to the world, we will be having some changes.

First and foremost... The series will break into segments. We will see prime tenets of the series (as in main from the book story line). But these will be interspersed with more story lines. Story back drop.

They will be telling "more" to the story. Yes, embellishing if you want to think of it that way. But it will be parts of the story that we know is there, but due to the constraints of words on a page and/or the size of a book, could not be included, BUT are never the less intrinsic to the story as a whole.

So again, we will have "main story line" intertwining with in a bigger story arc.

Keep in mind this is a series based on, inspired by The Sword of Truth Series.

For that very reason, we had to change the name. "Wizards First Rule", only deals with the first book, while this series will eventually encompass the series as a whole ( and mayhap a full feature film spin off ), so calling it Wizards First Rule would not work (Actually it was TOR who wanted the name WFR to begin with, Not Terry, but he had no clout back then.. After he gained clout, look how well and better he did...once he was able to control what Tor did)

Now, the new title "Legend of the Seeker" encompasses the nature of what the story is about. Richard Rahl, the Seeker, and the adventures that follow.

We will see a wide variation to scenes. We will say, "that didn't happen" or "That's not what "I" thought"...People, it is an adaptation, a series inspired by....

If you (as I've stated from the very beginning when Terry told me he was considering allowing Sam to have it), I expected to love the Series for what it is, and to come to love this for what it will be. I stated sometime ago, I expected to be annoyed, maybe even disappointed.

BUT I also expect to to fall in love with what this will be, because of the great talent that wants to, nay has been demanding to stay true to the essence and the nature of the story. I no longer have any fears...I know after meeting, listening and talking to, then hanging out with Sam, Rob, Ned and Sid, David, and the rest of the Disney peep's, I already know I'm going to love this project...even though some things...hell many things will be different.


July 26 2008 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ron's comment

Clearly you have some inside knowledge of the project, but as a longtime fan and attendee of this panel, I spent most of it with my head in my hands. To hear Terry and Sam talk about how right the other person was for the project at the beginning was very heartening, but then they started getting into specifics:

-Changing the name from something distinctive to something very generic.

-Clinging to the syndicated format that Raimi and Tapert were comfortable with in the 90's with Hercules and Xena, but has since died out in favor of various cable networks.

-Listening to them talk about how the show had changed from a 22-episode adaptation of the first book in the series to a "jump in at any point" show that will try to hit the "high points" of the first book along the way.

-Hearing the moderator ask about the budget for the show and listening to Sam ramble on about how awesome the characters in the story are for 5 minutes instead. Perfect indication that your show has no money: when a question about money leads to an answer about characterization.

-And, worst of all, hearing Raimi, Tapert, and Goodkind talk about "the demands of this market (syndication) indicate that serialized storytelling is not the way to go. Each episode needs to be a self-contained story that people can just jump into and understand what's going on." And then going next door to HBO's "True Blood" panel (also an adaptation of the first of a series of novels) right afterward and hearing creator Alan Ball answer the question, "So will people be able to jump in on, say episode 7 and know what's happening?" with "I'd say that people should start at the beginning. We're going for a pretty strict adaptation of the first novel and you're going to be lost if you start in the middle."

The difference between syndication and a supportive cable network, laid out back-to-back right there. It's sad that such a great book series is likely going to be getting such a mediocre adaptation. But I'll still be setting my DVR and at least giving it a chance when it comes out.

July 30 2008 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where are you guys getting carebears and harry potter from a trailer that shows nothing but a bunch of fight scenes? I didn't see any evidence of carebears from this.

If they're going to show this on local TV networks, then of course they have to tone it down. It doesn't mean Denna isn't going to kick the stuffing out of Richard, but that's probably all she'll be doing. I don't mind that they want to make it more accessible to all ages. Shows purely aimed for adults that aren't crime shows have been getting cancelled left and right because they fail to attract enough viewers to keep them on air. It's obvious the producers and Disney want to make this a franchise that both kids and adults can enjoy, something accessible, and something that they can make a series 2 and 3 from... I knew that would happen the moment Disney's name became associated with the TV series. I'm glad for that personally because I don't get the premium cable channels so if this had been picked up by HBO, I'd never get to see it. But if it's on CW, then sure I'll watch it.

So my suggestion is to enjoy the books for what they are, and enjoy the TV show for what it is, two separate things.

I'm glad they changed the name, it distances the TV show from the books more this way and sends a clearer signal, this is NOT a direct adaptation from the book. It's dissapointing to the current fans, but I'm all for a show that can possibly turn people onto the books that weren't interested in them before.

It's going to be different. But it's not going to stop me being curious and watch the show...

July 25 2008 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where is the Comic-Con report on Wizards of Waverly Place???

July 25 2008 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Legend of the Seeker"?

That name is horrible... makes me think cheesy 80's kid friendly fantasy shows

July 25 2008 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This series seems like it will mirror the Randian philosophy it espouses; needlessly flashy and hopelessly juvenile.

July 25 2008 at 9:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Carebear? I personally was going for harry potter style-remake. This is a horrible conversion. It looks like they made a pure adult book into something my 8 year olds would watch. I'm can't read the books even after watching this trailer. Funny how they delete the 50 comments from people all agree'ing they cookie cuttered the series on tv. This should have been filmed and air'ed on HBO. ABC you fail at life. Good job at ruining a perfectly good series.

July 25 2008 at 1:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mara's comment

HBO already has the superior George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire in development, so I don't think they were looking to do two fantasy series adaptations at the same time.

July 25 2008 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The books while heartfelt also have a dark presence around the story, I
understand its just a trailer, but what the heck was that. Are they
making the TV version a freaking carebear remix? I've been loyal up
until now. If thats the kind of cra* they're remaking the book into I'm
not even gonna watch it. Pardon the next statement but there wasn't
much of a pansy element in the books at all, it was dark surrounded by
justice. now carebear surrounded by mainstream goodie goodie crap. How
could you do this to your readers terry. And damn you Sam for
destroying the element. And the character for khalan is pretty, but
damn she has NO where near the kind of eyes the books describe so many
times. Shes not the right kind of person ya'll totally f'd this series
up. Stupid cookie cutter rainbow remake. Cheesey!!! DAMMIT WHY!!!!!!! Thanks for ruining me being excited to read more books, now I'll never get that retarded trailer out of my head. GJ game over.

July 25 2008 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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