TV

‘The Shannara Chronicles’ Returns With New LGBTQ+ and POC Representation

On October 11, the long awaited second season of “The Shannara Chronicles” will debut on its new network Spike. Since its premiere in January of 2016, the sci-fi show has stolen the hearts of its viewers and constructed a loyal fanbase. The fans were particularly fond of Eretria (Ivana Baquero), a lead bisexual female character.

Despite a large population of LGBTQ+ fans, “Shannara” was not the most keen show in terms of LGBTQ+ representation during season one. The writers made the decision to go the predictable route of heterosexual romance between the two protagonists Wil (Austin Butler) and Amberle (Poppy Drayton). Supporters of the more popular romantic pairing Eretria and Amberle were disappointed but not surprised, labelling the show as just another one of MTV’s instruments of queerbaiting.

For a while, the show did nothing outstanding to catch eyes. But nearly two years later, an entirely new cast has been announced — and all of the new additions are people of color. Vanessa Morgan, Caroline Chikezie, Malese Jow, Gentry White and Desmond Chiam joined the “Shannara” family for the upcoming seasons.

From left to right – Vanessa Morgan, Caroline Chikezie, Malese Jow, Gentry White and Desmond Chiam; Photo collage: Catherine Horkay, Affinity Magazine (Individual photos: The Laterals)

Vanessa Morgan (“My Babysitter’s a Vampire,” “Riverdale”) will play Lyria, the alluring woman of the fantasy world’s newly featured kingdom. Caroline Chikezie’s character is rumored to be the kingdom’s queen. Morgan’s character is theorized by many fans to be a princess because of the promotional stills featuring her extravagant attire and was confirmed by the showrunners to be Eretria’s new love interest.

The prospect of “Shannara” providing better LGBTQ+ representation and adding “bad*ass girlfriends” drew in the attention of viewers and non-viewers alike. Fans have already flocked to shipping the two characters (fondly dubbing them as #Lyretria), and the season hasn’t even premiered yet!

Malese Jow of “The Vampire Diaries” and “Big Time Rush” will play Mareth, a magic-user who is escaping persecution from Desmond Chiam’s character General Riga’s anti-magic terrorist group, the Crimson. The two are said to tie in heavily to the new season’s darker and more mature themes. Gentry White (“Unreal,” “Palm Swings”) joins the team as Garet Jax, a cunning bounty hunter. It is likely in the eyes of Tumblr theorizers that he will help the heroes hunt down the leaders of the Crimson, including General Riga, with protagonists Wil and Eretria.

Malese Jow as Mareth; kendrasaunders.tumblr.com

Gentry White as Garet; spike.com

Numerous theories have already emerged about the new characters and the strengths they will bring to the plot of “Shannara,” but nothing is for certain. The writers and cast members are doing a very good job of keeping things under wraps.

As the season premiere approaches, this influx of new LGBTQ+ and POC representation seems to be pushing “Shannara” back toward claiming a prominent name in science-fiction television.

 

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