Amazon’s Wheel of Time heads to SDCC 2021 for a fresh take on the fantasy show

With a second season already announced, Amazon is relying heavily on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time universe as a response to HBO’s smash hit The iron Throne. At San Diego Comic-Con 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 popular American fantasy series, released in 1990, which includes 14 books (and a prequel!). According to panelists, 90 million copies of the books have been sold. Judkins began by talking about his own history with the project, noting that he had read the series when he was younger and had bonded deeply with the material.

“It’s this series of books that put us in touch with others – especially after I came out of the closet – it’s this thing that allowed us to see what it’s like to be a different person. in the world.” It’s probably heartwarming for longtime fans of the books who want to see a creator who truly understands the source material they’re bringing to the screen.

While the first volume of the series, Eye of the world, is widely told from Rand al’Thor’s (Josha Stradowski) perspective, Judkins calls Rosamund’s character Pike Moiraine – a powerful user of magic and what the text calls an Aes Sedai – the series leader. In the book, Moiraine hopes to avoid the end of the world by finding the prophesied Dragon Reborn among a group of young people in a small town. What she gets is far more than she anticipated with multiple ailments and multiple heroes fighting stacked battles between men and monsters.

There is a parcel it happens in Jordan’s books, and it will be interesting to see how the series cuts the story down without losing what makes it so beloved by its very passionate fan base. Judkins said as much on the panel.

“My danger will never be to run out of books – the challenge we face is how to tell this story in the most coherent and cohesive way possible in a reasonable number of episodes.”

When asked how the show would follow the series, he recognized the importance of books as well as the limits of television as a medium. “Obviously I want to stay as close to the books as possible – they’re really loved books, I love them, there’s a great story out there, we want to tell it and we want to tell it the right way.” the best. television. Like, it’s really a true adaptation of the show, so there’s sure going to be a lot of different things from the books, but I think it stays true to the heart of the books and the backbone of storytelling.

The spectrum of HBO The iron Throne TV series (and its much-maligned finale), however, was not to be dismissed. Judkins made it clear that he had already thought about the ending and how 14 Books might work as a TV series, noting that he had already crafted eight seasons of story before he even finished writing the pilot. .

Because the Wheel of Time has a long-standing fan base, the issue of fans and scathing critics has been raised, but Judkins is not worried. He said the Wheel of Time team worked to provide a wide range of information behind the camera. “I think it’s really important to find that balance around you all the time, I always want to hire people around me who challenge me.”

Darrell K. Sweet / Tor

The writing team was a mix of people who knew and loved the series and writers who had never picked up the book before, which allowed them to release the most important story for an adaptation. Judkins made sure to also mention the importance of an inclusive cast for what came on camera. “The Wheel of Time has always been the most diverse fantasy book that came out in its day, and I think when we adapted it to be on television today, we also need to do it in order to ‘Honor the books that are out there and make it the most diverse fantasy TV show ever to be seen on television. ”

There is a clear understanding of the importance of Jordan’s character and world to Rafe Judkins’ understanding of what makes the Wheel of Time unique in fantasy space. He called it “the connective tissue between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones” when he recognized Jordan’s contribution of multi-perspective storytelling to the fantasy genre. But there’s one thing he considers one of the most important parts of the Wheel of Time that he can’t wait to bring to the screen.

“Thematically, right now, a story that is really about balance is something that makes sense in the world. He said, before continuing to add, “It’s really refreshing to see a fantastic series that isn’t so much good versus bad as balance versus imbalance. It’s a message worth writing right now.

The panel ended with the reveal of the first teaser poster for The wheel of time (seen below). Judkins installed the poster for viewers, whom he considers both fans of the books and people who have never read a word. “Fans of the books will recognize this as a very iconic moment of Eye of the world and what I love about people who don’t know anything about books is a moment where you see our head, Rosamund Pike, Moiraine, looking over her shoulder and saying we don’t know what’s going on here , but come take the tour.

The wheel of timeThe first season of will arrive on Amazon in November 2021.

Rosamunde Pike as Moiraine crosses two stone pillars in a poster for Amazon's original series The Wheel of Time.

Image: Amazon Studios