Wheel of Time TV series officially in development


Television

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The previous legal difficulties have been resolved, and a major TV studio has optioned the WHEEL OF TIME rights. We should know who in the near future.

Prior to the legal kerfuffle between the Jordan Estate and Red Eagle, Sony TV was interested and based on the short period of time that's elapsed since the legal problem was resolved (last August), it seems unlikely someone else will have had time to have done anything. But never underestimate the ability of Netflix or Amazon to make things happen with mountains of cash. If it is Sony, I would be surprised if they didn't join forces with AMC again (like they did on BREAKING BAD), since their own epic fantasy show would augment AMC's enviable line-up of genre programming (alongside THE WALKING DEAD and PREACHER). But that's all speculation. We know it won't be HBO (they've never double-dipped in the same genre at the same time) but beyond that the field is wide open.

The Exchange

PLease, dont mess this up. that 30 minute episode still gives me nightmares. So want to see this done right.

Sovereign Court

Frankly - I liked the books (at least until the last few) but I don't think it would translate well to TV. Fantasy that high-powered really doesn't. It'd probably end up as cheesy as The Sword of Truth did.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Frankly - I liked the books (at least until the last few) but I don't think it would translate well to TV. Fantasy that high-powered really doesn't. It'd probably end up as cheesy as The Sword of Truth did.

OTOH, the tech is getting better (and cheaper) fast.

It might be more doable than we think.

I'd really love to see high powered fantasy on the screen.

Sovereign Court

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thejeff wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Frankly - I liked the books (at least until the last few) but I don't think it would translate well to TV. Fantasy that high-powered really doesn't. It'd probably end up as cheesy as The Sword of Truth did.

OTOH, the tech is getting better (and cheaper) fast.

It might be more doable than we think.

I'd really love to see high powered fantasy on the screen.

It's not the special effects - I just don't think it works in the form of media. It's like how I enjoy the Superman cartoons & some comics, but I think the Superman movies are pretty lame, and Superman novels would be terrible.

Certain types of stories simply don't crossover well between media types.


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Is a casting requirement 'Must be willing to tug braid'?


If they can keep the nynaeve from books 1-4 i'll be ecstatic.

The Exchange

I think Idris Elba should be cast as Rand Al'thor.


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All I care about is the Battle of Dumai's Wells. That, my friends, had better be DAMN epic. Like so epic it makes the Battle of the Blackwater on GoT look cheap.

As for casting, they really need to get Padan Fain right. Maybe. I'm flexible I guess.

The Exchange

On a (slightly) more serious note, I have the usual mix of trepidation and excitement at this. I just recently finished reading the series and I do believe there's a pretty good epic fantasy story you can tell based on it - it can even fit quite well into 6-8 seasons by simply cutting away most of the nonsense that is books 5-11.

The major issue, as others said here, has less to do with getting the characters and plot right, and more to do with getting the show to look good. With Game Of Thrones to compete with there's a rather high standard for epic fantasy in TV, and Game Of Thrones has way less fantastical elements. I mean, even something as simple as getting Trollocs and Halfmen right demands serious resources (even Peter Jackson went from dudes in customs and makeup to CGI when he transitioned from Lord Of The Rings to The Hobbit, presumably because of how resource-consuming getting people to look like convincing monsters is), and that's really just the very start - dozens of fantasy cities, earth shattering spells, gigantic fights - it's going to be a very real challenge.

On the casting front, I wonder if they are going to keep the characters as young as they are in the books. If I had free range, I would cast the wife from House Of Cards as Cadsuane, and a younger Julie Andrews to be Moiraine. The rest of the characters are not as important :P


Lord Snow wrote:

On a (slightly) more serious note, I have the usual mix of trepidation and excitement at this. I just recently finished reading the series and I do believe there's a pretty good epic fantasy story you can tell based on it - it can even fit quite well into 6-8 seasons by simply cutting away most of the nonsense that is books 5-11.

The major issue, as others said here, has less to do with getting the characters and plot right, and more to do with getting the show to look good. With Game Of Thrones to compete with there's a rather high standard for epic fantasy in TV, and Game Of Thrones has way less fantastical elements. I mean, even something as simple as getting Trollocs and Halfmen right demands serious resources (even Peter Jackson went from dudes in customs and makeup to CGI when he transitioned from Lord Of The Rings to The Hobbit, presumably because of how resource-consuming getting people to look like convincing monsters is), and that's really just the very start - dozens of fantasy cities, earth shattering spells, gigantic fights - it's going to be a very real challenge.

On the casting front, I wonder if they are going to keep the characters as young as they are in the books. If I had free range, I would cast the wife from House Of Cards as Cadsuane, and a younger Julie Andrews to be Moiraine. The rest of the characters are not as important :P

Hell, just the "ageless" Aes Sedai look is going to be hard to pull. Needs to be subtle, but obvious.

Liberty's Edge

Werthead wrote:
We know it won't be HBO (they've never double-dipped in the same genre at the same time)

If HBO was smart, they would grab Wheel of Time and set it up to replace Game of Thrones when it ends. Game of Thrones has 2 seasons left after this season.

With the time a studio would need for casting, costume, prop making, location scouting and set building, they could have it ready to go after Game of Thrones ends.

The Exchange

CapeCodRPGer wrote:
Werthead wrote:
We know it won't be HBO (they've never double-dipped in the same genre at the same time)

If HBO was smart, they would grab Wheel of Time and set it up to replace Game of Thrones when it ends. Game of Thrones has 2 seasons left after this season.

With the time a studio would need for casting, costume, prop making, location scouting and set building, they could have it ready to go after Game of Thrones ends.

I really, really, really hope they don't. The last thing The Wheel Of Time needs is to become the usual HBO "endless orgy in a bloodbath" show. And if HBO adapt it people *will* be expecting it to be exactly that, because it would be marketed as the successor to Game Of Thrones (that the chronological order in which the book series came out is a reverse is no coincidence - GoT was in part a response to the overly prudish nature of epic fantasy before it). Honestly I think the approach HBO took to gore and sex in the show was extremely wrongheaded, and it would do even more harm in the context of a WoT adaptation.

I am not familiar enough with other networks to say who I would prefer would take this on, but just not HBO.

Quote:
Hell, just the "ageless" Aes Sedai look is going to be hard to pull. Needs to be subtle, but obvious.

I hope they just go for some clever trick with makeup and good acting chops, and not try some super weird CGI thing. And, to be honest, even though that look is important in the books it can be replaced with some other visual cue without me loosing my senses in a rage about it.


Apparently, those in the know have said that HBO is "the least likely" network to be involved. Apparently the deal was for "eight figures" which means that whoever has gotten the rights was extremely serious about it.

Quote:
On the casting front, I wonder if they are going to keep the characters as young as they are in the books.

Rand, Mat and Perrin are 19 in the first book whilst Egwene and Elayne are 16 or 17. I don't think that's a problem at all. It would have been if they were younger. Nynaeve is 26, so no issue there and Moiraine and Lan are in their forties.


Lan better be a major badass. Get Donnie Yen!

Sovereign Court

Donnie Yen?


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Frankly - I liked the books (at least until the last few) but I don't think it would translate well to TV. Fantasy that high-powered really doesn't. It'd probably end up as cheesy as The Sword of Truth did.

Agreed. I do think the Wheel of Time saga was better than the Shannara saga. I never read past the first three Shannara books though.


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Quote:
Donnie Yen?

Exceedingly unlikely, but not a bad idea.

The WHEEL OF TIME is our world in the future. Not just that, but it's in the future of a time when people can travel across the planet in just hours (or instantly, via Aes Sedai gateways). Cultural and ethnic differences became utterly irrelevant during the Age of Legends. During the Breaking of the World that followed people were thrown together, scattered and mixed up all over the place. During the 3,000 years since the Breaking some re-homegenisation has taken place, but along cultural lines rather than skin colour or appearance.

Whilst going strictly by the books the entire main cast would be white and Caucasian until Tuon showed up, there's actually no real or dramatic reason why that needs to be the case. You could quite easily cast Nynaeve (who's always felt an outsider in the Two Rivers anyway) with an actress of colour with no bearing on the narrative at all. Or Lan, with more textual support as the Borderlands do seem to have attracted a lot of people in the WoT world of Asian descent.

The only people who do really need to be distinctive are the Aiel, who were actually the only race of people to retain their own appearance and culture even during the Age of Legends.


The sea folk would be dark skinned wouldn't they?


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Sand ninja vikings!


[interest intensifies]

Sovereign Court

Werthead wrote:
Quote:
Donnie Yen?

Exceedingly unlikely, but not a bad idea.

The WHEEL OF TIME is our world in the future. Not just that, but it's in the future of a time when people can travel across the planet in just hours (or instantly, via Aes Sedai gateways). Cultural and ethnic differences became utterly irrelevant during the Age of Legends. During the Breaking of the World that followed people were thrown together, scattered and mixed up all over the place. During the 3,000 years since the Breaking some re-homegenisation has taken place, but along cultural lines rather than skin colour or appearance.

Whilst going strictly by the books the entire main cast would be white and Caucasian until Tuon showed up, there's actually no real or dramatic reason why that needs to be the case. You could quite easily cast Nynaeve (who's always felt an outsider in the Two Rivers anyway) with an actress of colour with no bearing on the narrative at all. Or Lan, with more textual support as the Borderlands do seem to have attracted a lot of people in the WoT world of Asian descent.

The only people who do really need to be distinctive are the Aiel, who were actually the only race of people to retain their own appearance and culture even during the Age of Legends.

Except that all characters were described as white, a lot.

Even Aiel are just tanned because of the sun.


Borderlanders were described as Asian in appearance, a mix of Japanese and Chinese.
The Seanchan I pictured as Arabic, with the true bloods being more Moorish (African). They shaved their heads in ways similar to ancient Egypt.
The Aiel are described as tall, tanned, red haired, blue-eyed desert ninjas.
The sea folk I saw as Hindi...
The rest of the places were your various European/American types.


Werthead wrote:
Quote:
Donnie Yen?

Exceedingly unlikely, but not a bad idea.

The WHEEL OF TIME is our world in the future. Not just that, but it's in the future of a time when people can travel across the planet in just hours (or instantly, via Aes Sedai gateways). Cultural and ethnic differences became utterly irrelevant during the Age of Legends. During the Breaking of the World that followed people were thrown together, scattered and mixed up all over the place. During the 3,000 years since the Breaking some re-homegenisation has taken place, but along cultural lines rather than skin colour or appearance.

Whilst going strictly by the books the entire main cast would be white and Caucasian until Tuon showed up, there's actually no real or dramatic reason why that needs to be the case. You could quite easily cast Nynaeve (who's always felt an outsider in the Two Rivers anyway) with an actress of colour with no bearing on the narrative at all. Or Lan, with more textual support as the Borderlands do seem to have attracted a lot of people in the WoT world of Asian descent.

The only people who do really need to be distinctive are the Aiel, who were actually the only race of people to retain their own appearance and culture even during the Age of Legends.

Whether it really makes sense or not, the various cultures, even within the main area, really do seem to have ethnic divisions. More along the lines of different European ethnicities than different races, but still distinct.

Aiel & Sea Folk & Seanchan even more so.
The main setting is essentially a European analog, so various forms of white caucasian might be best, though Jordan actually mixed features from different groups to avoid being too blatant about that.
Whether Nynaeve felt like an outsider or not, she shouldn't be too physically distinct from the rest of the Two Rivers people. Small insular villages don't tend to blend fairly quickly. Rand should stand out more than the others as half Aiel and not related at all to the rest of the village.

On the larger scale, while it would make sense for the population to be more homogeneous after the Age of Legends and the Breaking and not to have differentiated much, if that was the case, you likely wouldn't have white/Caucasian, but more vaguely brown. Not how the books treated it, as you say.


We don't know how long the age of legends was at its peak. They did use sho carts/ flying cars , and not everyone could gateway around the world. So presumably it was like our world where its theoretically possible to have a mate from anywhere on the planet but you were still far more likely to get one close to home. and then the world ended, and you were back to homogenization.


Seanchan is a massive, massive continent (far vaster than the "main" continent of the Westlands) with numerous races and cultures living under the overlaying yoke of the Empire. Tuon (and therefore presumably the Empress and their ancestors for at least a few generations) is certainly central African in appearance, but Turak and Suroth are lighter-skinned so it varies a lot over there.

The Sea Folk tend to be darker-skinned, but living on the equator for three thousand years means that make sense.

I agree if you go by the book, then the entire cast will be white for quite some time (secondary characters like Bayle Domon would be more Mediterranean in appearance but that'd be about it). However, unlike with ASoIaF/GoT, the worldbuilding in WoT does not *require* it absolutely and you should be able to mix things up if you want (within certain limitations) and it really shouldn't be a problem.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
We don't know how long the age of legends was at its peak. They did use sho carts/ flying cars , and not everyone could gateway around the world. So presumably it was like our world where its theoretically possible to have a mate from anywhere on the planet but you were still far more likely to get one close to home. and then the world ended, and you were back to homogenization.

Also, while it is sort of our world, it's Ages away from our world, so there's no real reason to assume our current racial patterns as the Age of Legends starting point.

Scarab Sages

BigNorseWolf wrote:
We don't know how long the age of legends was at its peak. They did use sho carts/ flying cars , and not everyone could gateway around the world. So presumably it was like our world where its theoretically possible to have a mate from anywhere on the planet but you were still far more likely to get one close to home. and then the world ended, and you were back to homogenization.

Based on Rand's flashbacks to the Age of Legends in Rhuidean there were still a lot of movement between locations. Rand's ancestor left the service of Lanfear (then Mierin) before the bore was created because he wanted to marry someone far away.


I wonder if they'll change up how the women were portrayed. They were a bit stereotypicaly irrational during most of the books, with few exceptions.

The Exchange

it's the strangest thing, I actually remember the Two Rivers people described in the first book as having brown skin, although in later books it becomes apparent they are white. Also, many of the ethnicities in that setting are varied, right? From my recollection Tairen are halfway between Spanish and Chinese in appearance, and Taraboners are somewhat Turkish or perhaps Greek, Sea Folk resemble Caribbean, Seanchan are a crazy combination of Asian races (possibly analogous to the entirety of Asia) and the Aiel are somehow Irish Arabs. Oh and Borderlanders also draw upon features of various Steppe people, North Africa and Arabian characteristics.

I don't know if there are specifically many dark skinned ethnicities other than Sea Folk and Seanchan, but there's enough of a mix that, if the show stays true to these aspects, there will be diversity enough for anyone.

Another question comes to mind - how will they treat language? In the books the problem is sort of ignored as somehow everyone seems to speak the exact same tongue, but that was strange and I kinda hope they change it for the show.


Lord Snow wrote:

it's the strangest thing, I actually remember the Two Rivers people described in the first book as having brown skin, although in later books it becomes apparent they are white. Also, many of the ethnicities in that setting are varied, right? From my recollection Tairen are halfway between Spanish and Chinese in appearance, and Taraboners are somewhat Turkish or perhaps Greek, Sea Folk resemble Caribbean, Seanchan are a crazy combination of Asian races (possibly analogous to the entirety of Asia) and the Aiel are somehow Irish Arabs. Oh and Borderlanders also draw upon features of various Steppe people, North Africa and Arabian characteristics.

I don't know if there are specifically many dark skinned ethnicities other than Sea Folk and Seanchan, but there's enough of a mix that, if the show stays true to these aspects, there will be diversity enough for anyone.

Another question comes to mind - how will they treat language? In the books the problem is sort of ignored as somehow everyone seems to speak the exact same tongue, but that was strange and I kinda hope they change it for the show.

I haven't really dug in and looked for descriptions, but I wonder how much of that is picking up culture details and internally writing your physical expectations based on that.


Imbicatus wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
We don't know how long the age of legends was at its peak. They did use sho carts/ flying cars , and not everyone could gateway around the world. So presumably it was like our world where its theoretically possible to have a mate from anywhere on the planet but you were still far more likely to get one close to home. and then the world ended, and you were back to homogenization.
Based on Rand's flashbacks to the Age of Legends in Rhuidean there were still a lot of movement between locations. Rand's ancestor left the service of Lanfear (then Mierin) before the bore was created because he wanted to marry someone far away.

Yes, but that isn't the sort of vast amount of movement you'd need to end ethnic groups. For THAT much ease of travel moving away wouldn't be an impediment at all.

Its like saying that there are people from India in michigan to work, so we should be done with ethnic groups by now right?

Liberty's Edge

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Kryzbyn wrote:
I wonder if they'll change up how the women were portrayed. They were a bit stereotypicaly irrational during most of the books, with few exceptions.

TBH all of the main characters were utter morons through the entire series. It's one of the series glaring weaknesses.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
We don't know how long the age of legends was at its peak. They did use sho carts/ flying cars , and not everyone could gateway around the world. So presumably it was like our world where its theoretically possible to have a mate from anywhere on the planet but you were still far more likely to get one close to home. and then the world ended, and you were back to homogenization.
Based on Rand's flashbacks to the Age of Legends in Rhuidean there were still a lot of movement between locations. Rand's ancestor left the service of Lanfear (then Mierin) before the bore was created because he wanted to marry someone far away.

Yes, but that isn't the sort of vast amount of movement you'd need to end ethnic groups. For THAT much ease of travel moving away wouldn't be an impediment at all.

Its like saying that there are people from India in michigan to work, so we should be done with ethnic groups by now right?

But give it a few thousand or even hundred years?

I mean, we've really only had that kind of travel for a few decades. And it's still very limited legally.


thejeff wrote:

]But give it a few thousand or even hundred years?

I mean, we've really only had that kind of travel for a few decades. And it's still very limited legally.

We've had oceanic trade for 500 , and while there's been a lot of mixing the groups are still discernibly there.

we only saw a glimpse of the age of legends at its height/end, so no way of telling how long it took to get there. Also if people are living to be 300 years old and society advances one funeral at a time...


MannyGoblin wrote:
Is a casting requirement 'Must be willing to tug braid'?

Don't forget the crossing of arms beneath one's breasts. Every woman in the show must do this anytime they're remotely irritated. (The braid tugging is reserved for more severe irritation.)


BigNorseWolf wrote:
thejeff wrote:

]But give it a few thousand or even hundred years?

I mean, we've really only had that kind of travel for a few decades. And it's still very limited legally.

We've had oceanic trade for 500 , and while there's been a lot of mixing the groups are still discernibly there.

we only saw a glimpse of the age of legends at its height/end, so no way of telling how long it took to get there. Also if people are living to be 300 years old and society advances one funeral at a time...

Only the casters live longer.

They'd forgotten war, so it has to have been some time. Not all of it at the height of technology, but likely pretty advanced by the time they gave it up.

Scarab Sages

Kalshane wrote:
MannyGoblin wrote:
Is a casting requirement 'Must be willing to tug braid'?
Don't forget the crossing of arms beneath one's breasts. Every woman in the show must do this anytime they're remotely irritated. (The braid tugging is reserved for more severe irritation.)

That, and nasal irritation.

Sovereign Court

Kalshane wrote:
MannyGoblin wrote:
Is a casting requirement 'Must be willing to tug braid'?
Don't forget the crossing of arms beneath one's breasts. Every woman in the show must do this anytime they're remotely irritated. (The braid tugging is reserved for more severe irritation.)

That is male fanservice.

Scarab Sages

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Hama wrote:
Kalshane wrote:
MannyGoblin wrote:
Is a casting requirement 'Must be willing to tug braid'?
Don't forget the crossing of arms beneath one's breasts. Every woman in the show must do this anytime they're remotely irritated. (The braid tugging is reserved for more severe irritation.)
That is male fanservice.

Plenty of female fanservice opportunities with Rand + Lan sparring, or Perring smithing.


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I hope they do a better job than the Shannara Chronicles.


They need to start at the beginning, Eye of the World. Lets hope they don't have a scrolling explanation and start in book 4...

Sovereign Court

The Sword wrote:
I hope they do a better job than the Shannara Chronicles.

That is a low bar to set.


I didn't even know there was an adaptation of the Shannara Chronicles. Should I look it up?

On the main topic - They will need to use judicious thinning of the material.

I mean...

Scrap the judicious part. Just thin that.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Patrick C. wrote:
I didn't even know there was an adaptation of the Shannara Chronicles. Should I look it up?

Shannara Chronicles was on MTV. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either.

As for the races/cultures, I always felt like the Aiel were Arabic, Tear, Illian, and Altara were more Mediterranean - Greek, Roman, Turkish, etc. Then the Borderlanders were similar to Eastern Russians, Mongols, some Chinese. Sea Folk were very Caribbean feeling to me, and the Seanchan were from all over Africa. Finally, the rest of it felt like variations of European ancestries.


Am I the only one that wants the most epic battle, The Battle of Dumai's Wells, to be more epic than ever seen?


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Calling that a "battle" always seemed too much of a glorification to me. That was a f~#!ing SLAUGHTER.

So yes, yes I do.


This sounds pretty good to me. I've always believed that Wheel of time was a good story told by an 'ok' writer. Too much splitting the party... too much time spent on boring characters and too long between the main ones...

Some of those books were pure drudgery to get through... but the overall story kept me coming back for more at least till book 10 or 11... then I lost interest.

Seeing in a tv format? That could be pretty cool. Focus on the high points and leave a LOT on the cutting room floor and it'll be a pretty epic story.

The Exchange

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Crisischild wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
I wonder if they'll change up how the women were portrayed. They were a bit stereotypicaly irrational during most of the books, with few exceptions.
TBH all of the main characters were utter morons through the entire series. It's one of the series glaring weaknesses.

Wheel Of Time spoilers:

It was much much worse with the women, though. I mean, compare the White Tower with the Black Tower. Aes Sedai kept spanking each other for no reason. Can you imagine the Ashaman doing that? When Men had conflict with each other it almost always felt real, with tension and powerful emotions (except for times when it is played as "comedy", like two manservants trying to outdo each other or two honor guard captains trying to prove only their army is useful). When the women fought? Hell, at one point Nynaeve (one of the most powerful Aes Sedai ever) had a freaking *cat fight* with Siuan, the former Amyrlin and one of the single most powerful and cunning women in the current world. No two male characters in the series ever behaved like that, especially those who were supposed to be powerful or wise.

And of course, these examples are just the very tip of an iceberg so vast and deep it would have given H.P. Lovercraft nightmares for a year.

Jordan did a really valliant attempt at being inclusive to women in his books, but sometimes it really feels like he never met one.


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Women in the world of the Wheel of Time are superior to men in just about every culture apart from Amadicia and Tear (where they're more equal), based on the notion that since only women can use magic that acts as a more-than-force-equaliser and spills over into the non-magical world as well. It's an interesting approach and I think was handled quite well in the meta, but in the close-up-and-personal execution was flawed. But that's something that can be fixed fairly straightforwardly in an adaptation.

The Age of Legends probably lasted for between ten and twenty thousand years. The Aes Sedai, who came into existence at the end of the First Age (our Age), possibly through genetic engineering, spanned that entire period of time and from the off could live for 700 years, so it had to be quite a few generations for them. War had become a forgotten concept during that time, only existing in history books at best. Non-channellers could still live between 200 and 300 years. So the span of time involved had to be pretty big.

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