“The Wheel of Time” TV series finally has a premiere month (not date, just yet) from Amazon. But before the first season debuts in November, showrunner Rafe Judkins is already hard at work on Season 2 — and looking ahead to six more seasons.
During a virtual panel presented by Amazon at Comic-Con@Home on Friday, Judkins said he plotted out eight seasons total of his Rosmund Pike-led TV adaptation of Robert Jordan’s 14-novel fantasy series.
“I feel like my danger will never be running out of books,” he said, laughing. “I think it’s more, the challenge that we face is how do you tell this story the most cohesively and the most coherently in what is a reasonable number of seasons in television? So it’s something I really set out to do right from the beginning. I think you really need to know the end of your story when you start telling it. I think that’s true for television, even though it’s serialized and goes many years.”
“The Wheel of Time” is a series of 14 novels “The Eye of the World” in 1990 and concluded with “A Memory of Light,” which was finished by Brandon Sanderson following Jordan’s death in 2007. A number of previous attempts have been made to adapt the books for film or television, though none have made it to screen in any meaningful way.
Before he even wrote the pilot for “The Wheel of Time,” which was ordered to series at Prime Video in 2018 and received an early Season 2 pickup in May when the first season wrapped production in Czech Republic, Judkins says he had already plotted out an eight-season plan.
“I sat down and broke out what I thought eight season of the show might look like before I started writing the pilot, because I felt like you have to build in this knowledge of where you’re going, of how you’re getting there, from the very beginning in order to tell the stories the best you can.”
“The Wheel of Time” is set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists and only certain women are allowed to access it. The story follows Moiraine (played by Pike in the Amazon TV series), 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.
Judkins says his writers’ room for “The Wheel of Time” is made up of a mix of die-hard fans like himself, and people who had never read the books. If fans are worried about that, Judkins promises he has a good reason for that decision.
“I think it’s really important to find that balance around you all the time,” he said during the Comic-Con@Home panel. “I always want to hire people that challenge me and say, ‘Is this the right way to do this so you really stay true to it?’ So we had people who had, basically, the seminal moment of their lives was reading ‘The Wheel of Time’ in the writers’ room, and then people who had never read the books. And so I think that balance really lets you remind yourself of the things that are important in there, the things that ring true and not get too tied into the stuff that actually makes the adaptation worse than it would be. Because it’s sort of fundamentally breaking things just to deliver them exactly as they are to TV.”