The Wheel of Time must "walk a fine line" when adapting the books into 8 seasons

The Wheel of Time is based on a famously long-running book series by Robert Jordan. Fitting every detail from the source material into eight seasons of television was never going to be an option.
Daniel Henney (Lan Mandragoran)
Daniel Henney (Lan Mandragoran) /

It's been a little less than a year since The Wheel of Time season 2 premiered on Prime Video, but it feels like an Age since we've checked in with Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski), Egwene al'Vere (Madeleine Madden), Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and the rest of the gang. The Wheel of Time wrapped filming on its third season in March. That season is set to adapt the fan-favorite Wheel of Time novel The Shadow Rising. We haven't had a whole lot of news in the interim, but what snippets have come out have been exciting.

The latest comes from a SONY FYC showcase put on by Variety, which highlighted Prime Video's The Wheel of Time as well as a few other series, such as Starz' Outlander and Peacock's Twisted Metal. We like all of those shows round these parts, but for this fantasy nerd the most enticing part of the panel was when The Wheel of Time writer and executive producer Justine Juel Gillmer got to talking about the show's approach to adapting the 14-book strong series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and confirmed that The Wheel of Time is still hoping to run for eight seasons.

The Wheel of Time Season 2
Marcus Rutherford (Perrin Aybara), Ayoola Smart (Avienda), Ragga Ragnars (Bain), and Maja Simonsen (Chiad) in The Wheel of Time season 2. /

Adapting the books isn't a straightforward task for The Wheel of Time

It's no secret that The Wheel of Time show has had to make a lot of changes from its source material. Even aside from all the monsters and magic and special effects, with 14 books to draw from, the series was always going to have to pare things down to fit the story into eight seasons of television. According to Gillmer, The Wheel of Time has to "walk a fine line" between honoring its source material and keeping the story accessible for new viewers.

“What we try to do is pull the best bits of story forward that we can, what is the most interesting character journey...pull it all together and try to create a cohesive narrative that pulls forward to the idea of where we want to get to at the end of the show,” Gillmer said. “Should we be lucky enough to get to the end of eight seasons, what do we want to say? And that’s what we try to do when we adapt these books into something that is different.”

Actor Daniel Henney was also on hand at the panel, which provided a great opportunity to talk about how the show went about casting him as Lan Mandragoran, the courageous warder for Moiraine.

"The character that Daniel the books is very stoic, a real warrior, someone who's incredibly loyal to not only his Aes Sedai Moiraine, but also to the cause that they're on," Gillmer said. "And the interesting thing about taking books that were written in the '80s and '90s, and kind of looking at the view of masculinity then, versus what I think we look at as masculinity and all the kind of facets of masculinity now. So what we needed when we cast Lan was someone who could bring all of those facets to life in a really special way and keep delivering on something that was very true to the books but actually reached for more. And that's what we found in Daniel."

Lan is a character who feels distinctly different in the television show vs the books; I love that The Wheel of Time cast and crew are out here talking up the series so we can get these sorts of insights. If you've salivating over more Wheel of Time news, the entire FYC panel is very much worth a watch.

The Wheel of Time season 3 is currently in post-production. We're expecting it to air sometime in 2025.

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