Wizard’s First Rule? Change the title of your new syndicated TV fantasy drama if you’reworried audiences will think it’sabout, you know, wizards. In a panel hosted by EW’s own Lynette Rice, exec-producers Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert(Hercules and Xena) announced that their 22-episode adaptation based onTerry Goodkind’s 12-volume The Sword of Truth series will no longer betitled Wizard’s First Rule (the first book in the series);instead, it shall now and forever be known as Legend of the Seeker.The reason, explained Goodkind at the LotS Comic-Con panel with Raimi,Tapert and Ned Nalle, is that “It’snot a show about wizards….It’s about heroes.” Which is why theydidn’t use the Swords title either. Confused yet?
Attendees already knew that Craig Horner would be playing the protagonist, Richard Rahl. Raimi went on to announce the casting of three more characters: Bruce Spence (The Road Warrior) will play Zedd (Richard’s grandfather), Jay Laga’aia(Star Wars — Eps. II and III) will play Chase, and Craig Parker (pictured; The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) will play the villain Darken Rahl. A rapt audiencetook in a quick clip from the show — lots of vistas from its NewZealand set, along with quick bits of arrows flying and swords clashing — which was impressive, considering the show’s only been in productionfor four days. (It premieres on Nov. 1 and will air on Saturdays insyndication, mostly on Tribune stations carrying the CW.)
addCredit(“Patrick Riviere/Getty Images”)
A lot of time was spent reassuring fans of the books that, although they are slicing up the first installment to makemore-or-less self-contained episodes, the heart of the characters willnot be touched. Goodkind himself explained that he wanted anyone to beable to come into the show halfway through and not feel like they werewoefully behind, and the crowd appeared to have been satisfied.
Two other big snippits of news grew out of the panel:Raimi acknowledged that the script for Spider-Man 4 is current beingwritten, though he hasn’t read it; and Goodkind has signed a deal for athree-book -series set in the contemporary world. He even teased theaudience with the first sentence of the second book: “For the pastthree weeks, John Allen Bishop had been keeping the devil chained inhis basement.” Spooky!