Photo: ‘The Wheel of Time’
‘The Wheel of Time’ – A High Fantasy Mastermind
New York Times Best Selling author Robert Jordan, is the creator of the high fantasy mastermind series, ‘The Wheel of Time,’ that is now being adapted by Amazon into a TV series. Jordan’s novels are most known for their extraordinary length, imaginative, and magical universe but more so the 2,782 named characters. If you have a hard time remembering the name of your co-worker, you might want to start practicing before the show’s release since you’ve got many names to catch up on. The series quickly developed into fourteen volumes with an original plan of only six books, including a prequel and two companion stories.
Unfortunately, after a battle with a rare blood disease called amyloidosis, author Robert Jordan passed away in 2007, leaving his high fantasy world to long-time fan and fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. After his death, Sanderson helped publish three volumes of the series, “The Gathering Storm,” “Towers of Midnight,” and “A Memory of Light.” Without a doubt, the series is one of the best-selling epic high fantasy series since the ‘Lord of the Rings,’ I mean, look up fantasy series on Google, and you will be bombarded by the massive franchise that is ‘The Wheel of time.’ So, it was only a matter of time until a studio took on the production of digitally re-creating the magic that soars within the text, and out of all people, enter billionaire Jeff Bezos to take on the challenge.
Amazon Studios Takes On The Massive Novel Franchise – Looking For The Next ‘Game of Thrones’
In 2017, Sony Pictures marked the adaptation, but in 2018, Amazon took over with Sony as a co-producer. Jeff Bezos and everyone with a desire for greatness are searching for the next ‘Game of Thrones’ with its attentive and massive fan base and even stronger in-depth storyline of high fantasy alter-reality. With an enormous range of storyline material already in place, the series has already been confirmed for season 2 even before the release of season 1. The executive producer of ‘The Wheel of Time,’ Rage Judkins, revealed the news to Variety, saying, “Getting a second season order before the first season has even premiered is such a vote of confidence in the work we are doing and the property itself, and we couldn’t be happier to be able to continue to live and work in the world Robert Jordan created.
This property is one I’ve loved since I was a teenager, and seeing it brought to life with the resources to make it truly worthy of what’s on the page is something I can’t wait for the other fans of the books to see. And Season 2 just keeps expanding the world we built in Season 1.” The promise of a second season before releasing the first unknowing of the audience’s reaction is wild but confidently intriguing. Knowing that even during production, the show is making itself promising enough to get a second season without ever having been released, well, you can’t help but be persuaded that the first season is going to be good.
Here’s a look at season 2, episode one, with a caption that reads, “With this many Ta’veren in one place, one season was never going to be enough.”
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Being a high fantasy series with a considerable budget and considering the bank account of Jeff Bezos, the visual effects will hopefully serve justice to the complex magical world. As opposed to ‘Game of Thrones,’ whose designs were heavily situated within dark corridors with a few appearances of dragons, ‘The Wheel of Time’ is all fantasy with its magical complexity. Meaning, visual effects will be the deciding factor of whether this show excels or implodes, but that is not even including the final decision that will come from life-long fans of the novels. Company Cinesite has taken over the role of VFX, and with their experience working on ‘Avengers: Endgame‘ and the small teaser trailers, the effects already seem to be promising.
‘The Wheel of Time’ is set in an unnamed high fantasy world, filled with magic, the concept of time, protection of nature, and world-spanning journeys. The series takes place in a time known as the Third Age, and fans of the series have taken it upon themselves to name the world “The Randlands” or “The World of the Wheel” so that they have something to refer to when discussing where the series takes place. You might be asking what the difference between low and high fantasy is – I will tell you that the most significant factor separating the two is setting. In low fantasy, the setting is usually within an ordinary realm that intrigues audiences by creating a realistic storyline that people can relate to. Examples of low fantasy films include the ‘Harry Potter‘ series and ‘Sleepy Hollow.’ On the other hand, you have a high fantasy, a storyline that takes place within a world vastly different from our own and consisting of history or cultures that are also quite different.
A big point is magic or creatures, something of which ‘The Wheel of Time’ is a mastermind of making the upcoming series a major player in the world of high fantasy. Examples of high fantasy include the ‘Lord of the Rings‘ series and ‘Game of Thrones‘ – these examples and many others show that high fantasy adores the importance of good vs. evil. ‘The Wheel of Time’ adaptation is entering a point in our lives when this need for powerful lead females within a universe of magic apart from our reality is very necessary. The casting of Rosamund Pike, a woman who has already proven herself to be incredibly headstrong against masculine co-stars, is exactly what we need in the high fantasy world. With 14 volumes and a life-long fan base, I know there is a lot of information to digest, especially in a world with over 2,000 characters, of which names are far beyond our “normal.” Unfortunately, we’re a little late to the official book club that took place in May 2020, and since there’s much catching up to do, fear not, if you follow this official ‘The Wheel of Time’ book club tweet, you might just get lucky and find some avid fans who are more than happy to spill their knowledge of the high fantasy world to you.
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What To Expect In Season One’s Storyline
The first season will be based on Jordan’s first novel of the series published in 1990, “The Eye of the World,” concerning the Aes Sedai, an all-female magic organization. A member of the Aes Sedai, Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike), is trying to find the Dragon Reborn, an important figure that can either save or erase humanity as we know it. On her journey, accompanied by Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) and Nynaeve (Zoë Robins), Moiraine finds herself in the small town of Two Rivers, where she meets three men who join their journey, Rand al’Thor (Joshua Stradowski), Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris), and Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford). The opposing force, called the Dark One, is also searching for the Dragon Reborn and causes disruption to Moiraine’s group as they journey to Aes Sedai city of Tar Valon.
The novels draw storyline connections from Buddhism and Hinduism with their concepts of ambivalence and balance while also connecting to Taoism and its relation to respecting Earth and nature. The biggest fear going into the release of this show is the attention the creators will put into keeping or connecting with these concepts that Jordan put his life into creating. The show has slowly been revealing minor details, and by slow, I mean minuscule as done with the teaser look at Rosamund Pike as Moiraine. The show’s Twitter account shared a five-second look with a description that read, “The video opens on darkness as we hear the sounds of a powerful energy in the background. A woman’s voice says, ‘Do not underestimate the women in this tower.’ – We then see Golden Globe winner Rosamund Pike emerge with her eyes closed. It’s Moiraine, legendary Aes Sedai of the Blue Ajah. As she opens her eyes, light flows around her before the video ends with a bright flash.”
Here’s another teaser trailer revealing a man with a sword who says, “Alright, let’s make a deal.”
“Do not underestimate the women in this tower.” – Season One Episode Titles
In February 2015, a pilot of ‘The Wheel of Time’ titled “Winter Dragon” aired at 1:30 a.m. on FXX with no warning or promo, and of course, nobody watched the episode. It was an arguably confusing decision why it even occurred, which was later argued that it had to do with the rights of the series and legal reasons concerning Jordan’s estate. Harriet McDougal, Jordan’s wife, said that this pilot had been made without her knowledge, and they had not even consulted with Jordan’s estate. There was some talk later that McDougal was, in fact, made aware, which resulted in a lawsuit, but by 2016, all legal issues were resolved, and here we are now!
At this time, no plots have been released concerning the individual six episodes nor their corresponding directors and writers. Instead, I can tell you that three directors Uta Briesewitz (‘Westworld,’ ‘Stranger Things’), Wayne Yip (‘Utopia,’ ‘Doctor Who’), and more commonly known as an actress, Salli Richardson-Whitfield (‘I Am Legend’) have been given two episodes each to direct. The following are the episode titles for season one of ‘The Wheel of Time;’ episode one: “Leavetaking,” episode two: “Shadow’s Waiting,” episode three: “A Place of Safety,” episode four: “The Dragon Reborn,” episode five: “Blood Calls Blood,” and episode six: “The Flame of Tar Valon.”
‘The Wheel of Time’ Will Be Releasing In 2021!
The series has been in production since September 2019, but without a doubt, we will be seeing the release of season one of ‘The Wheel of Time’ before we can say “Happy New Year!” Amazon and IMDb have stated that the series will appear in 2021, but as for the exact month and date, that is still to be determined. Having to cover all of the details with monsters, magic, and a high fantasy world, I cannot begin to imagine the amount of detail following the production. During a panel, Rafe Judkins reveals that there were some difficulties working around the pandemic, but the show got ahead on writing, “The nice thing about [the quarantine] is that we will now have all eight scripts going into prep for Season 2, which will let us do such a better job with it, and it lets me focus more on the scripts and the editing that we’re doing right now because we’re not shooting.”
Here’s a first look at ‘The Wheel of Time’ series emblem! The caption reads, “Even legends can have a beginning. #TheWheelOfTime Coming to Prime Video 2021.”
In this video, the teaser trailers show depictions from the novels to entice avid readers with their continuing acknowledgment of the original storylines!
By Isabella Brownlee
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Isabella Brownlee is an experienced writer, video editor and filmmaker. She is currently a writer for Hollywood Insider, focusing on detailed and thought-provoking film reviews and articles discussing truth and impact in the film industry. Driven by self-awareness and unique perspectives, she takes utmost pride in providing others with emotionally impacted knowledge about the film industry. As a writer, her main goal is to connect with the audience and those who find themselves in the back of the bleachers unknown to anyone but beautifully aware of the world. In addition to her primary job functions, Isabella creates and edits videos/films personally and professionally. Aligning with Hollywood Insider’s mission of sharing impactful and influential content, Isabella hopes to enrich her readers with positivity and truth.