Amazon’s forthcoming fantasy series, The Wheel of TimeToday, a panel featuring renowned comic book author, ‘The Comic Con of New York’ was held. Showrunner Rafe Judkins and castmembers Rosamunde Pike, Daniel Henney, Josha Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford, Zoë Robbins, and Madeleine Madden joined Nerdist’s Amy Ratcliffe to discuss what viewers can expect from the show’s first season, alongside a sneak peek and some exciting casting news for the already greenlit second season.
Judkins was at San Diego Comic-Con over the summer to provide an overview of Amazon’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s 14-book American fantasy series, but with the premiere just over a month out, NYCC ticket holders were given a much more concrete view. Judkins answered a question about how he approached adapting a series that has been running for so long. He said it wasn’t as important to follow every plot point in the book, but more about his heart. Judkins wanted viewers to remember the series so that they would continue to enjoy it. “I think if people can just see it up on the screen and feel like at its heart it feels like the books, in that intangible way, then we will have done our job,” he said.
The panel featured a clip from the program. Judkins described it as “Moiraine’s first arrival in the Two Rivers. It’s cool because it’s when we get to see all of the lovely people on this panel really interact together and be in the same room for the very first time in the series. So, it’s that moment that kind of activates everything in the Wheel of Time. It’s the moment that these kids who live in this mountain village, their life is never the same from the moment that walks into town. So, this is that moment.”
The clip shows Egwene (Madden) serving drinks at her parents’ inn in the Two Rivers, the village where the book begins. Rand (Stradowski), standing against a wall, watches Egwene and we can see glimpses of the romance story that will form the heart of this season. Perrin (Rutherford), refers to some ceremony Egwene underwent earlier. But before they can go any further, Moiraine and Lan (Henney), make their debuts as Aes Sedai (Warder). We see reactions from the main characters, and it’s Nynaeve (Robbins) who first speaks to Lan – surely exciting readers of the books who know what’s coming for their characters. We even get a very brief glimpse of Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon, despite Harris’ imminent departure from the series, as he’s been recast for the second season.
The clip gives viewers a glimpse into the pace of the series, an issue that was raised ever since its announcement. Information that was long coming in the books happens near immediately, with the inn’s mistress noticing Moiraine’s Aes Sedai ring on screen.
Judkins spoke about the differences between this series and other fantasy stories that audiences might already know. Judkins noted the novel’s originality in 1990. The books featured an ensemble cast and multiple perspectives. He also pointed out the fact that main characters are split into men and women, rather than focusing on one gender. He then acknowledged that The Wheel of Time is heavily influenced by eastern philosophies like Hinduism and Buddhism, and that at the end of the day the story isn’t so much a fight over good versus evil as it is an attempt to restore a sense of balance to the world.
The entire cast has been reading the series — with Stradowski being the furthest along, having made it all the way to the eleventh book — and they’ve been inspired by the intricacies Jordan has given their characters. Every member of the cast does feel fully connected to the character they’re playing on screen.
A particular character was not included in season one’s cast list, despite her introduction being made in the first book. Fans will be pleased to learn that they’ll finally be seeing Elayne Trakand, the daughter-heir of Andor, in season two, played by Ceara Coveney (Dad The Amazing World of Emma Judkins also announced that actors Natasha O’Keefe (Peaky Blinders The MisfitsMeera Syal (At No. 42 BroadchurchThe cast will include ), and ). While it’s unclear what characters they will be playing, Judkins did hint that they would be playing two of the most important characters in the entire series.
The Wheel of TimeAmazon Premieres November 19
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