Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!
The Wheel of Time may have only just started rolling on Amazon, but showrunner Rafe Judkins already seems to have a series endgame in mind. Catching up with Entertainment Weekly in honor of the Season 1 finale, the writer and executive producer discussed the goal of trying to "efficiently" condense Robert Jordan's massive fantasy novels (of which there are 14, including a prequel) into an enjoyable — and easily digestible — television experience.
"Even if we're lucky enough to go as long as we possibly can go, that's still only gonna be 50 or 60 episodes of television," he admitted. "We're trying to be as precise about that as we can, so we had done a lot of breaking for Season 2 before we finished Season 1."
A second season of the project, which was renewed six months before the first batch of episodes even premiered, is currently shooting in Prague. With so much ground left to cover, Judkins and his writers' room have already plumbed the next two books (The Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn) for narrative fodder. "Fans of the books will see that some characters are diving more into their book two story in Season 2, and some of them are diving more into their book three story in Season 2," he teased.
When asked about the fate of Hammed Animashaun's character, Loial, Judkins revealed that "he is alive and well and shooting in Prague." Just don't get too attached to anyone because like Game of Thrones, major fatalities are on the way.
"I wanted people to be a little on their toes, because real deaths are coming for characters that don't die in the books," the executive producer continued. "We have to, because we can't hold 2,000 series regulars through multiple seasons. It's coming, and I want people to emotionally prepare themselves. The thought that Loial might be gone will hopefully start to get people emotionally prepared, but I couldn't. He's my favorite."
That's where the Thrones comparisons end, though. In fact, Judkins is of the opinion that The Wheel of Time is "the opposite of Game of Thrones" in that "with Game of Thrones, the first book is a perfect television season, and then it becomes much more disparate the deeper you go into the books. Whereas Wheel of Time starts out in a way that's hard to make a clean adaptation for TV, but then as you get into the later books, it really is built along a clear, clean TV structure of an ensemble story ... It's very much an ensemble, even though the first book is not. So we really tried to make the season have that feeling from the whole book series of being a real ensemble piece. We made a lot of changes in the first season to make sure that you could see all the stories of the five main leads."
All eight episodes of The Wheel of Time's debut season are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.