The Wheel of Time will last for “50 or 60 episodes”

Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Courtesy of Amazon Studios /

The Wheel of Time has wrapped up its first season on Amazon Prime Video, and fans are talking about all the changes made to Robert Jordan’s books, cause there were a lot. Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) took center stage, large chunks of the first book in the series were lifted out, and some characters who don’t die in the books die on screen.

Showrunner Rafe Judkins talked about some of these changes with Entertainment Weekly, arguing that they were necessary because of the demands of making a TV show. “Mainly what we have to focus on is compression, and then reacting to those compressions,” he said. “Like, we can’t go to Caemlyn because we can’t afford it and we don’t have time, so that is a great compression, but it has ripple effects. All of those things have ripple effects, so we have to take the stories and tie them back together.”

"We have a big round-up point at the end of season 2 that reconnects everything and pushes us off in a new direction where we’ve completed all the stories we need to get through, albeit in a slightly different order so we can compress them. We only add new stories when we need to. In season 1, we really needed to emotionally explain mythological things about Aes Sedai and Warders, so we had to add story there. We’ll obviously have to add story for Moiraine and Lan (Daniel Henney) because they’re basically sidelined for a couple books, but we’re not going to put Rosamund Pike on the bench. We have to add some story while we’re compressing, so it’s still a tense battle to fit every season into those eight episodes."

Moiraine ended the first season cut off from the One Power, something that doesn’t happen at this point in the books, so I imagine we’ll see her try and remedy that in season 2. Meanwhile, Rand al’Thor went into a self-imposed exile, which does happen in the books, but not until the third novel, The Dragon Reborn.

We also saw the Seanchan arrive on “the western shore” at the very end of the finale, so I can already imagine what “big round-up point” Judkins is talking about. I’m guessing they’re going to combine the climaxes of Books 2 and 3, having the Seanchan attack the city of Tear and have Rand clash with Ishamael over possession of a powerful sword called Callandor. Watch it happen.

So there’s a lot of compression going on. How long can the team keep that up? “Even if we’re lucky enough to go as long as we possibly can go, that’s still only gonna be 50 or 60 episodes of television,” Judkins said. “We’re trying to be as precise about that as we can, so we had done a lot of breaking for season 2 before we finished season 1.”

The Wheel of Time will kill off characters who don’t die in the books

As for those dead characters I mentioned, their lot included Lord Agelmar and his sister Lady Amalisa, who died in the defense of the city of Fal Dara. Neither of them die at this point in the books, and apparently there’s more of that sort of thing on the way. “[R]eal deaths are coming for characters that don’t die in the books,” Judkins said. “We have to, because we can’t hold 2,000 series regulars through multiple seasons. It’s coming, and I want people to emotionally prepare themselves.”

That said, we can all rest easy knowing that at least one beloved character marches on: although Loial (Hammed Animashaun) suffered wounds at the hands of Padan Fain in the season finale, he is not dead. “He is alive and well and shooting in Prague,” Judkins reassured us. “The thought that Loial might be gone will hopefully start to get people emotionally prepared, but I couldn’t. He’s my favorite.”

Next. The Wheel of Time boss expected changes to upset “hardcore book fans”. dark

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