After years of development, a Wheel of Time TV series is finally happening. Amazon announced early Tuesday that it has given a series order to a new one-hour streaming drama based on the beloved fantasy novels, which span 14 main series volumes and one prequel published between 1990 and 2013.
Robert Jordan (the pen name of James Oliver Rigney Jr.) conceived the story and wrote the first 11 volumes before his death in 2007. Fantasy novelist Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn) was chosen to complete the series, working from partial drafts and Jordan's notes, and expanded the planned final volume of the saga into three books. The series has sold more than 90 million copies worldwide, which makes it the bestselling fantasy saga since J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and fans have been waiting a long time to see it finally make it to the screen.
“The Wheel of Time is endlessly fascinating and resonates hugely with fans as one of the best-selling global book franchises, and we were drawn to its timely narrative featuring powerful women at the core,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said early Tuesday at the Amazon Prime Video Presents showcase in London. “We’re thrilled to extend our relationship with devotees who’ve found the book series transformative and welcome new ones by bringing it to life on Prime Video for viewers worldwide.”
The series had been in development at Sony Pictures for more than a year, after prior years in which the rights were tied up with another entertainment company. After those rights were eventually won back by Jordan's widow Harriet McDougal, Sony was able to take the baton and run with it, and earlier this year Salke expressed optimism over Sony and Amazon's ability to work together on the project. Now the two companies will co-produce, with screenwriter Rafe Judkins (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) adapting the books and serving as showrunner.
“For so many people, including me, this book series has served as a world to escape to, to lose yourself in, to devour and inhabit completely," Judkins said. "And I couldn’t be more honored to be the one finally bringing that world to life on screen, for old fans to lose themselves in all over again and new fans to discover for the very first time.”
The Wheel of Time is a massive, sprawling high fantasy epic set on a fictional continent in which an ages-old battle against a dark power has rendered magic usable only by women, because all men who are able will eventually go insane. There is a prophecy in this world that one day a man, the Dragon Reborn, will rise up against the darkness and defeat it once and for all. As the saga begins a sorceress named Moiraine — a member of the secretive magic-using organization the Aes Sedai — arrives in a small village to meet a group of young people, one of whom she believes might be the Dragon Reborn, but all of whom are significant to the pattern of the wheel of time. The series is characterized by multiple points of view, extremely detailed worldbuilding, and Jordan's blend of interests in Eastern and Western philosophies.
Now fans who've been reading the saga for years will finally see it on the screen. We don't yet know when The Wheel of Time will arrive, but at last the order has been given. Time to make your dream cast list.