With a second season already announced, Amazon is leaning heavily toward Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time universe as the answer to HBO’s massive success. game of Thrones. During San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, showrunner and executive producer Rafe Judkins kicked off the Amazon Prime Video panel by talking about what viewers can expect from the first season.
The Wheel of Time is a very, very adored American fantasy series released in 1990, including 14 books (and a prequel!). According to the panelists, 90 million copies of the books have been sold. Judkins began by talking about his own history with the project, noting that he read the series when he was younger and that he connected with the material on a deep level.
“It was this series of books that connected us with others, especially after I came out of the closet, it was this thing that allowed us to see what it’s like to be a different person in the world.” This is likely to be comforting for longtime book fans who want to see a creator who truly understands the original material they are bringing to the screen.
While the first book in the series, The eye of the world, told largely through the perspective of Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski), Judkins calls Rosamund Pike’s character, Moiraine, a powerful magic user and what the text refers to as Aes Sedai, the protagonist. of the series. In the book, Moiraine hopes to avoid the end of the world by finding the prophesied Dragon Reborn among a group of young people from a small town. What you get is so much more than you bargained for with multiple evils and multiple heroes fighting in layered battles between men and monsters.
There is a lot That happens in Jordan’s books, and it will be interesting to see how the series will narrow down the story without losing what makes it so beloved by its passionate fanbase. Judkins said the same thing on the panel.
“My danger will be never to run out of books; the challenge we face is how do we tell this story in the most cohesive and coherent way in what is a reasonable number of episodes.”
When asked how closely the show will follow the series, he acknowledged the importance of books and the limitations of television as a medium. “Obviously, I want to be as close to the books as possible; These are really beloved books, I love them, there is a great story there, we want to tell it and we want to tell it in the way that is best for television. Like, this is really a true adaptation of the series, so there will be a lot of things that are different from the books for sure, but I think it stays true to the heart of the books and the backbone of the storytelling. ”
The HBO’s spectrum game of Thrones The television series (and its much-maligned ending), however, was not to be ruled out. Judkins made it clear that he had already thought about the ending and how 14 books could function as a television series, noting that he had already put together eight seasons of story before he even finished writing the pilot.
Because Wheel of Time has such an old fan base, the question of fans and harsh criticism came up, but Judkins isn’t concerned. He said the Wheel of Time team worked to provide a wide range of information behind the camera. “I think it is very important to find that balance around you all the time, I always want to hire people around me who challenge me.”
The writing team was a mix of people who knew and loved the series and writers who had never read the book, allowing them to pull out the story that was most important to an adaptation. Judkins also made sure to mention the importance of inclusive casting for what was shown in front of the camera. “The Wheel of Time has always sat down as the most diverse fantasy book to come out in its day, and I think when we adapt it for television today, we must also do so to honor the books that are there. and make this the most diverse fantasy television show ever aired. ”
There is a clear understanding of how important Jordan’s character and world are for Rafe Judkins to understand what makes the Wheel of Time unique in the fantasy space. He called it “the connective tissue between The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones” in acknowledging Jordan’s contribution of multi-perspective storytelling to the fantasy genre. But there is one thing that he sees as one of the most important parts of the Wheel of Time and he is looking forward to bringing it to the screen.
“Thematically, right now a story that is really about balance is something significant in the world.” He said, before continuing to add, “It’s really refreshing to see a fantasy series that is not so much good versus evil as balance versus imbalance. That’s a message worth writing about right now. ”
The panel ended with the reveal of the first teaser poster for The wheel of time (see below). Judkins prepared the poster for viewers, whom he sees as fans of the books and people who have never read a word. “Book fans will recognize that this is a very iconic moment in The eye of the world and what I like about him for people who don’t know anything about books, this is a moment where you see our leader, Rosamund Pike, Moiraine, looking over her shoulder and saying we don’t know what’s going on here but come for the ride. ”
The wheel of timeThe first season will arrive on Amazon in November 2021.