The success of Game of Thrones ushered in an explosion of fantasy series based on novels, spawning everything from the long-running Outlander to Netflix’s The Witcher. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. In the next year, two more major fantasy series will be hitting the small screen based on the books that inspired George R.R. Martin’s hit series: Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time. The latter is up first, and at the San Diego Comic-Con panel for The Wheel Of Time, Amazon revealed the release date and other news about it.
The first book of author Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, Eye of the World, was published in 1990. The high-fantasy hero’s journey proceeded to run 14 books over the following decades, plus a prequel novel and two standalone spinoffs. The story is of the end of an age in a meticulously crafted fantasy world, where a figure known as “The Dragon” rises once again in a cyclical conflict to fight the Dark One and usher in a new world.
The novels blend European and Asian fantasy tropes, ranging from Taoism to Islam to Christianity. The locations span a giant continent with everything from small farm villages to desert nomadic tribes and seafaring peoples. Moreover, the series features a massive cast of characters, with six central heroic figures: Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Moiraine, and Nynaeve.
You thought Westeros was complicated? Oh, my sweet summer child. Let’s sit down and go over everything to know about The Wheel of Time.
The Wheel Of Time Teaser-Trailers
The first official trailer for The Wheel of Time arrived on Sept. 3, giving fans the first look at a brand new fantasy world.
There’s a lot to take in, and much of it probably doesn’t make sense to those unfamiliar with the story. So, let’s run down a bit of what’s here: The opening scene, for instance, is a bit of a shocker, as Nynaeve pushes Egwene off a ledge into the water below. It’s an initiation ritual; Nynaeve is a woman known as a village Wisdom, a healer and wind whisperer. When viewers meet her, Egwene is her apprentice, training to be a Wisdom herself one day.
The ability to be a Wisdom comes from what is known as “the One Power,” the same source that gives Aes Sedai their capabilities to manipulate and control the world. The trailer gives fans several looks at the Aes Sedai, the White Tower where they rule from, the different colored Ajah orders within the group, their abilities, and their leader, the Amyrlin Seat.
The trailer also obliquely hints at the coming battle. Fans get a look at fantastic cities, barren plains, dark forests, and a battle against Trollocs led by a Myrddraal, shadowspawn sent to try to kill them. Like most fantasies, this is a fight between good and evil, the Dark One is rising, and these are the people destined to fight it.
Since filming began in 2020, Amazon Studios has also been slowly releasing tiny slivers of Wheel of Time footage in 6- and 7-second increments. This compilation video covers the majority of what fans need to see, including looks at the Aes Sedai Moiraine and her Warder, Lan.
Most recently, Amazon offered a glimpse of the show’s logo, known as the Great Serpent, which represents the cyclical and unending nature of the universe these character inhabit.
The Wheel Of Time Cast
The first and most significant casting in The Wheel of Time is the role of Moiraine, the mysterious Aes Sedai. The story begins when she comes to the village of Two Rivers, following an unreliable tip that perhaps the boy who would grow up to be the Dragon Reborn could be found there. For this foundational role, Amazon cast Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).
As for the rest of the cast, it is enormous. But perhaps more importantly, it is, like Game of Thrones before it, full of relative unknowns. Here’s a rundown, which will give fans an idea of just how many characters and names there are to keep track of.
Our main leading heroes:
- Madeleine Madden (Picnic at Hanging Rock) as Egwene al’Vere
- Marcus Rutherford (Bulletproof) as Perrin Aybara
- Barney Harris (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk) as Mat Cauthon
- Zoë Robins (Black Christmas) as Nynaeve al’Meara
- Josha Stradowski (High Flyers) as Rand al’Thor
Also major characters:
- Daniel Henny (Criminal Minds) as al’Lan Mandragoran, Moiraine’s Warder
- Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones) as Tam Al’Thor, Rand’s adopted father
- Sophie Okonedo (His Dark Materials) as Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche, head of the Aes Sedai
- Kae Alexander (Ready Player One) as Min Farshaw, a woman with the ability to see auras
- Hammed Animashun (Black Mirror) as Loial, an Ogier and treesinger
- Alexandre Willaume (The Last Kingdom) as Thom Merrilin, a gleeman, a traveling entertainer
- Johann Myers (Small Axe) as Padan Fain, a peddler
And some co-stars for the first season:
- Michael Tuahine and Lolita Chakrabarti as Bran and Marin Al’Vere, Egwene’s parents
- Christopher Sciueref and Juliet Howland as Abell and Natti Cauthon, Matt’s parents
- David Sterne as Cenn Buie and Mandi Symonds as Daise Conger, Two Rivers residents
- Abdul Salis as Eamon Valda, Lord Captain Commander of the Children of the Light
- Stuart Graham as Geofram, Commander of the Children of the Light
- Alvaro Morte as Logain Ablar, a man who claimed to be The Dragon Reborn
- Pasha Bocarie and Jennifer Preston as Master and Mistress Grinwell, kindly strangers
- Izuka Hoyle as Dana, a would-be gleeman
- Darren Clarke as Basel Gill, innkeeper of The Queen's Blessing
- Maria Doyle Kennedy as Illa, Narinder Samra as Raen, Daryl McCormack as Aram, members of the nomadic Tuatha'an
The Wheel Of Time Plot
Here’s the show’s synopsis:
Set in a world where magic exists and only certain women are allowed to access it, the story follows Moiraine, a member of the incredibly powerful all-female organization called the Aes Sedai, as she arrives in the small town of Two Rivers. There, she embarks on a dangerous, world-spanning journey with five young men and women, one of whom is prophesied to be the Dragon Reborn, who will either save or destroy humanity.
Here are the first six episode titles, all of which are taken directly from the novels:
- “Shadow’s Waiting”
- “A Place of Safety”
- “The Dragon Reborn”
- “Blood Calls Blood”
- “The Flame of Tar Valon”
The Wheel Of Time Release Date
Amazon’s The Wheel of Time will arrive in Nov. 19, 2021. The first season runs eight episodes. It is unclear if it will be a weekly release or an all-at-once drop. What we do know? The Wheel of Time has already been renewed for a second season.
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