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The Wheel of Time TV series: Release date, cast and trailer for fantasy novel adaptation
The epic fantasy series based on Robert Jordan's popular books is coming to Amazon Prime Video starring Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred.
Fans of epic fantasy TV series and anyone still searching for something to fill a Game of Thrones-shaped hole in their life should be pretty darn excited about The Wheel of Time
Based on Robert Jordan’s 15-book fantasy classic of the same name, fans have been waiting many years for a TV adaptation and one is finally coming to Amazon Prime Video.
There is an exciting cast of young new talent and star names such as Rosamund Pike and Sophie Okonedo and the series is being adapted by Rafe Judkins (Agents of SHIELD, Hemlock Grove) and Robert Jordan’s wife and editor Harriet McDougal is also a consultant on the series.
Here is everything you need to know about The Wheel of Time…
The Wheel of Time at Comic-Con 2021 - First Look
Showrunner Rafe Judkins spoke to fans at Comic-Con 2021 about his passion for the original books, his plans for the adaptation and also revealed the key artwork for the series.
"The Wheel of Time was something I read when I was younger with my mum. It connected us with each other, especially after I came out of the closet," he said.
"It was this thing which let us see what it’s like to be different in this family. We could connect with this book.
"The book series was always very near and dear to my heart. I was always sending emails to my agent.
It sits in the fantasy pantheon as the connective tissue between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.
- Rafe Judkins
He added: "Summing up The Wheel of Time for the uninitiated is a difficult thing to do.
"It sits in the fantasy pantheon as the connective tissue between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. It was one of the first fantasy projects to take you into an unbelievable expansive world and created more POV characters than we’d usually see in fantasy books at the time."
Will the TV series be the same as the books?
"I want to stay as close to the books as we can," Judkins told Comic-Con.
"These are beloved books and I love them. We want to tell them in the way that is best for television, so there will be things that are different to the book, but we always stay true to the heart of the book and the spine of the storytelling.
"One of the great things about TV is that it lets you bring characters into your home and the best fantasy series do that as well. The best ones have translated into television.
"The author Robert Jordan was very careful about giving these characters a full life and agendas and working towards them."
What is The Wheel of Time about?
The Wheel of Time is one of the most popular and successful fantasy series of all time with 90 million books sold worldwide.
It features the classic sprawling epic worlds you would expect in a hefty fantasy series and is based on the premise that there is magic in the world which only certain women are allowed to access.
Talking about the book's relevancy in 2021, Judkins said: "Thematically, a story about balance is meaningful to this world. Our world is very divided and hyper-polarised, it’s really refreshing to have a fantasy series that is less good versus evil and more balanced versus inbalanced.
"I think that is a message worth writing about right now."
Amazon’s description of the series reveals:
"The story follows Moiraine [played by Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, I Care A Lot)], a member of the incredibly powerful all-female organization called the Aes Sedai, as she arrives in the small town of Two Rivers.
"There, she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women, one of whom is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who will either save or destroy humanity."
How many Wheel of Time books are there?
The first Wheel of Time book was released in 1990. Robert Jordan finished 12 books before his death in 2007. Author Brandon Sanderson and Jordan’s wife Harriet McDougal collaborated to complete the final three books in the series, using Jordan’s notes.
Will there be a second season?
Season 2, which like season 1 will have eight episodes, has already been confirmed by Amazon.
The show could run for many more if it proves popular and it is allowed to cover the entire book series.
Talking about the show's ending, Judkins said that he mapped out how the TV show would finish before he even wrote the pilot.
"The challenge we face is how do we tell this story coherently and cohesively in what is a reasonable number of seasons for television," he told Comic-Con 2021.
"I think you need to know your ending, even on television where it’s serialised. I sat down and broke out what I thought 8 seasons of the show should look like even before I wrote the pilot.
"I felt like you have to build in this knowledge of where you’re going to tell the story as best you can."
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Where is The Wheel of Time filmed?
The show was primarily filmed in the Czech Republic, but also shot in Croatia and Slovenia.
The cast began filming in 2019, on the 12th anniversary of Robert Jordan’s death.
Production has to be shut down in 2020 due to the global pandemic, and the final two episodes from season 1 were filmed in 2021.
Who is in the cast of The Wheel of Time?
Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred
Academy Award-nominated Rosamund Pike leads the cast as Moiraine Damodred.
Talking about the choice of Pike, showrunner Rafe Judkins said: “As a fan, my conversations with Rosamund about who Moiraine is, where she comes from, what drives her, have been genuinely one of the great privileges of my career.
"She understands this character in her bones and I get chills thinking about the day she’ll bring her to life.
"After one conversation with her I knew it was the only option."
The actors playing the ‘Big 5’ Two Rivers characters have also been revealed.
Madeleine Madden as Egwene al’Vere
Madeleine has appeared in numerous Aussie productions including ABC TV’s critically acclaimed series The Code, Jack Irish: Dead Point, The Moodys, My Place, Ready for This, Tomorrow When the War Began and Doctor Doctor Series 2.
She also co-starred in the Amazon mini-series Picnic at Hanging Rock alongside Natalie Dormer, and in the Netflix fantasy/drama series Tidelands alongside Elsa Pataky.
She was also on the big screen in Dora and the Lost City of Gold.
Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara
British Independent Film Award’s Most Promising Newcomer nominee, Marcus Rutherford made his screen debut as the lead in Jamie Jones’ feature film Obey. The story follows a young man’s struggle in bettering himself against the backdrop of the 2011 London Riots, meshing real and staged footage of the events
Most recently, Marcus wrapped filming County Lines. The drama about a mother and her 14-year-old boy who is groomed into a lethal nationwide drug selling enterprise, also starring Harris Dickinson and directed by Henry Blake.
Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon
In 2016 Harris shot his first feature: Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. His other films include: Billionaire Boy’s Club with Ansel Elgort, Taron Edgerton and Emma Roberts and Russian American, an independent feature produced by Molly Connors (Birdman, Child 44).
Harris’ UK television include Dominic Cooke's epic BBC Shakespeare series The Hollow Crown opposite Benedict Cumberbatch.
Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al'Meara
New Zealand native, Zoë Robins, starred in the ABC pilot, The Finest, and appeared in The Shannara Chronicles for MTV, as well as The Killian Curse.
Zoë rose to fame portraying the White Power Ranger on the action adventure series, Power Rangers Ninja Steel.
Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor
Josha Stradowski started acting as a kid in musicals like The Sound of Music and Ciske de Rat, then began playing roles in television as a teenager
He recently completed filming on a new TV series about fighter pilots. He also played the lead role in an indie feature film, Just Friends, for which he and the film received a number of awards on the international film festival circuit.
Further casting for the series includes Sophie Okondeo (Undercover) playing Siuan Sanche, Kae Alexander (Game of Thrones) as Min Farshaw, Kate Fleetwood (Harlots) as Liandrin Guirale, Peter Franzen (Vikings) as Stepin and Clare Perkins (EastEnders) as Kerene Nagashi.
Daniel Henney (Revolution, Criminal Minds, Big Hero 6) will play Lan Mandragoran.
Wheel of Time TV series release date
The first three episodes of season one will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, November 19, with new episodes available each Friday - leading up to the season finale on December 24.
The Wheel of Time trailer
The official trailer has been released by Amazon Prime Video:
The episode titles revealed
Fans of the books can begin theorising what bits of the book will get covered from the titles of the first six episodes...
Episode 1: Leavetaking
Episode 2: Shadow's Waiting
Episode 3: A Place of Safety
Episode 4: The Dragon Reborn
Episode 5: Blood Calls for Blood
Episode 6: The Flame of Tar Valon
The Wheel of Time premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, November 19, with the first three episodes straight away. The following episodes will be available each Friday, leading up to the season finale on December 24.