Of all of the series sprinting to try and capture the now clinically depressed Game of Thrones crowd, The Wheel of Time has the most potential. Based on the fourteen-volume series by Robert Jordan, Amazon has been slowly building anticipation for this show up in recent weeks. We had a trailer drop early in September and now, at New York Comic Con, we got ourselves a look at a new clip from the premiere as well as a discussion with most of the cast.
The clip shows Moraine (Rosamund Pike) entering a tavern in the town of Two Rivers and making her presence known to the drunk bar patrons. It’s a standard fantasy trope to be sure. A mysterious and powerful figure enters a tavern. Everyone falls silent. There’s tension in the air wondering what this new person is capable of. The catch this time is that in the world of Wheel of Time, Moraine is a member of the powerful Aes Sedai, a group of female channelers who can use very powerful magic. Men don’t have access to the magic of this world. The women do.
If the lore seems a bit impregnable… it kind of is. I’m not a reader of the series so seeing the cast and crew discuss lore bits and parts of the world almost certainly flew over my head. It was clear to me that the panel was dedicated to more diehard fans of the series, who cheered at the announcement of a character being confirmed for the second season. But from what I saw and heard, I want to be one of those diehards.
You had your standard discussions during the panel of just how amazing the costumes, make-up, set design, and monsters that our heroes will be fighting are, but outside of the first trailer, there wasn’t really much to show or talk about. That being said, it is going to be fascinating to watch a fantasy epic that takes less of its inspiration from more Western iconography and tropes and more from Eastern ones, with the showrunner Rafe Jenkins mentioning just how much of a focus Hindu and Buddhist ideologies will determine the direction of the world as well as its design. He said his goal was “to deliver the heart of the series to people” and you can tell there is genuine love for that. Hell, the cast has gone through the length of reading most of The Wheel of Time, with Rand’s actor Josha Stradowski being the farthest along on book 11. And the average page number for these books is in the 700 range.
There was also a nice little mention of some behind-the-scenes tomfoolery, like how several horse riding scenes were ruined by the horses farting at the worst possible time. I know it’s a low blow, but there’s always room for horse farting in a fantasy series. Please keep those cuts in the final cut.
The Wheel of Time will premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime on November 19th, 2021. A second season is already in production.