Season 2 of The Wheel of Time approaches, and the hype floodgates are officially open. This week, reporters were given the go-ahead to start sharing interviews which they conducted with the cast back in June, before the SAG-AFTRA strike went into effect.
That means there’s a lot of new Wheel of Time quotes floating around. We were lucky enough to get to speak with some of the cast as well; you can read excerpts from our conversation with Dónal Finn (Mat) and Marcus Rutherford (Perrin) now.
Looper interviewed Rosamund Pike (Moiraine) and Josha Stradowski (Rand) about season 3, working with the show’s many esteemed guest stars, and more.
The Wheel of Time stars talk filming season 3
While The Wheel of Time season 2 won’t hit our TV screens for another couple of weeks, filming on the show’s follow-up third season started earlier this year. Stradowski said it feels “amazing” to be working on season 3.
"I just came from set … and tomorrow, I’ll be on set again. It’s amazing to see how the show is finding its form. It does feel like, just as in the books, it’s something that lives and it’s growing. We can now lean onto each other as actors, but also with the writers and the showrunner Rafe [Judkins]. That’s a lot of fun. In the first season, we established the stuff and now we can be a bit more funky and get into it, and that’s great."
Rosamund Pike, who plays the Aes Sedai sorceress Moiraine Damodred, expanded on this. Pike has been getting deep into the world of The Wheel of Time since joining the show. In addition to playing Moiraine, she’s also recorded new audiobook editions for the first three novels in the series: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, and The Dragon Reborn. The actor says she feels the show has a “duty” to tell the entire story laid out in Robert Jordan’s iconic fantasy novels from start to finish:
"To be in a hit show is a good feeling all around. It means the fans have voted in our favor. The audiences have come to the show, they’ve come to the platform. It would’ve been awful if we’d screwed it up because it’s such a mighty world that [author] Robert Jordan created.I want this show to be a library show for Amazon and be something that’s rewatched in 20 years time, not just for now. I feel we have a duty to get to the end of the story. It feels really good to be announcing Season 2 and shooting Season 3 as we do so. Good places. Good times."
The pair also talked a bit about the show’s many guest stars. While The Wheel of Time has an enormous cast of series regulars, it also features some prominent guest stars who appear in only a handful of episodes, such as Sophie Okonedo (Siuane Sanche).
“One of my [dream guest stars] actually appeared in Season 2, which was Lindsay Duncan, who is one of our classiest British actresses,” said Pike. “She comes into it in a very interesting way in Season 2.”
"We’ve got some really great villains. We’ve got fantastic opportunities for people to come in and have a lot of fun. That’s what our guest stars feel. I can’t really be specific, sorry, but our guest stars feel it. They come in, they’re given really meaty roles. They’re given some of the best lines. Sometimes, we’re envious of the guest stars’ lines, aren’t we?And they get fantastic costumes. What’s not to love about that? I was just working with Sophie Okonedo again, and she’d just come from playing Medea in the West End. She said, “I love this show. I have the best time.”"
The Wheel of Time season 2 is “a step in the right direction”
The Wheel of Time is one of Amazon’s attempts at creating a big fantasy show to rival the likes of HBO’s Game of Thrones. As with that show, a big part of what makes The Wheel of Time special is the human touch. Balancing that out with all the scale and spectacle is one of the biggest challenges the cast and crew face.
“It’s always finding the sweet spot between the escapist fantasy that you want to offer up and the human drama within its framework. It’s walking that tightrope,” Pike said. “That’s what we ultimately want. We want the grounded human emotion against the fantastical backdrop. It’s a work in progress. We’re always getting closer to that sweet spot, and Season 2 is definitely a step in the right direction.”
“That’s what is really beautiful,” Stradowski said. “It’s those moments where we can make it human, for example, by showing Moiraine’s family. In the books, you don’t really explore that kind of stuff. Showing that human side and showing more of the inner worlds and the histories of these characters, that’s where the fruits lie and that’s where we can go even further than the books.”
The three-episode premiere for The Wheel of Time season 2 drops September 1 on Prime Video.
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