Wednesday 12 September 2018

WHEEL OF TIME TV showrunner hosts Q&A

Wheel of Time showrunner Rafe Judkins has hosted a Q&A on Twitter, where he invited fans to pitch him questions about the show. Given that the project is still in an early stage of pre-production, a lot of questions couldn't be answered, but some interesting tidbits were dropped about how he sees the project moving forwards.

The current status of the project:

Judkins confirmed that the show is in development at with Amazon (via, as we know already, Sony TV Studios) but it has not yet been formally greenlit, either for a full first season or a pilot. As such, things like production timelines, timetables for casting and when we might get to see the show all remain up in the air.

Judkins notes that he is now able to talk about the show in a way he couldn't a couple of months ago, and that indeed something has changed to facilitate this.

The show's format and duration:

Judkins sees the show as lasting no less than 5, but no more than 14, seasons. The episodes will be around 1 hour each. He does not see the show necessarily mapping as one book per season or two books per season, but will be somewhat malleable. This sounds similar to The Expanse and the BBC's in-production version of His Dark Materials, which are both adapting books across seasons with no direct correlation between the two (i.e. the first Expanse novel is covered across all of Season 1 and four episodes into Season 2, then Book 2 starts etc).

Hello Rafe, Do you anticipate Season 1 taking up eye of the world and season 2 being The Great Hunt?

"Yes and no."

How faithful the show will be to the novels:

"I am telling the story of the books, but as with any adaptation to a different medium, there will be differences. Otherwise, what will people have to scream about after each episode? #ladystoneheart4ever"

"I actually think TV is a perfect format for these books. You can tell a hell of a lot of story per season!"

"We have freedom to do what we want, but what I want is to stay true to the books!"

"I mean let's all be honest, I'm gonna be condensing in the latter middle section of books."

What is the heart and soul of the story?

"To me, and the way I've pitched it since I first became involved, is that even though the world is incredible, the magic system one of the best in fantasy, and the gender dynamics are so fresh feeling, the thing at the heart of this are the characters."

On LGTBQ+ representation:

"I think that gender is such a key theme of the books, and discussing gender without a full representation of LGBTQ+ people would be a disservice to that discussion. Rest assured, their will be pillow friends out the wazoo."

"WoT is controversial regarding how it handles gender/sexuality/mental health. My audience at WoTTalk has expressed concern on how these topics will be handled. Would you mind commenting on these concerns/how you plan to approach these topics?"

"I think the explorations of these topics is something important and I'll be using a lot of advisors and writers around me to make sure that we tackle them thoughtfully."

"Rafe, will Rand's romance plot remain close to the books? I mean, liking one girl at first but ending up with three in the end?"


On whether Billy Zane will be resuming the role of Ishamael from the Red Eagle informercial:


How would you ideally want to handle the Shadowspawn? (CGI, practical effects, etc.)

"I think trying to do practical as much as you can is always the right choice."

What's THE central/key/core conflict of the series?

"I think most people would say light vs. dark, but I'd actually say balance vs. imbalance."

"Will you show us who killed Asmodean when it happens or leave it as a WAFO to torture those that haven't read the books?"

"I love to torture people with a WAFO, so... WAFO"

What is your all time favourite moment of the series?

"Egwene’s final scene."

Hey @rafejudkins! How would you like to handle the prologue of EOTW, and the prequel 
scenes from New Spring?

"I have plans for both of these, but you'll unfortunately have to wait for the show to see"

Which storyline is the most difficult to bring to the screen?

"Tel’aran’rhiod is an exciting but difficult challenge."

How do you visualize the threads and weaving of the One Power on screen?

"This, as with most things, I want to stay true to the books. I think this can be done in a really cool way, but will hold on a firm answer until I've discussed more fully with a director."

Will you be keeping Min, Elayne and Aviendha as separate characters each with a role in the show and their relationship to Rand intact?

"That one you’ll have to WAFO."

"Rigid Mars-Venus gender division etc- troubling aspects of books. Plans to update/improve these? WoT’s gr8 to discuss gender but it isn’t without problems."

"I’m a feminist and it’s very important to me that the show is feminist in today’s context. So a lot of those things will be changing."

Will each "season," assuming there are multiple seasons, cover 1 book or will they be split up based on storyline?

"It’ll be dependent on book/season and not the same throughout."

Given free rein, how many seasons would you make in order to tell the story properly? "36. But that seems untenable."

"In an ideal world what real world locations would you use for the various settings of the the first book?"

"This’ll really depend on base of operations. But we hope to be going all over the world. Things that look different and fresh to me are important."

Are there any minor character/plot point/locations you are in love with but know you’ll have to cut for time? Non spoiler because I said minor right?
"We lose a lot of Cenn Buie, and I like his grumpy old manness."

"Considering all the fan questions Jordan, @BrandSanderson, and #TeamJordan have answered about the #WheelofTime over the years, have you studied that mountain of data not found in the books? If not, what’s your strategy to make sure you get all the details right?"

"I'm in communications with everyone on #TeamJordan, and will be even more so once we are further down the line. They've lived this and will be invaluable to me. I'm also the kind of writer who values all the data I can get, and then let it inform but not direct my decision making."

With the importance of Padan Fain to the series, do you plan to disguise his "true-self" in the show better than his introduction in the book for those who haven't yet read the series?


Hi Rafe, in regards to special effects, what are you envisioning for weaving the one power on screen.

"Again, director dependent but I think it’ll be great. I loved how it looked in Doc Strange."

Aside from the books themselves, what other TV shows or movies come to mind when you think about how you want the show to feel when viewers experience it?

"LoTR of course and GoT, but also not Shanarra (sic)."

Who are your favorite and least favorite characters from the series?

"Faile. But I promise she’ll be awesome on the show."

How many seasons you think the series would take in tv format? And how many episodes per season?

"This one I imagine will be malleable as we go. More than 5 but less than 14."

Will there be braid tugging and dress smoothing?

"Less than the books."

Confirmed characters (at least at this stage):
Rand, Egwene, Cenn Buie (if less than in the book), Logain (in an expanded role), Tam, Bela, Padan Fain, Faile, Mat.

More news on the Wheel of Time TV series as it comes in.


Anonymous said...

Spoilers dude...

Jens said...

Thanks for compiling these answers.
A small correction: You wrote that "Judkins sees the show as lasting no less than 5, but no more than 14, seasons."
That's not what he said. He said he thinks there'll be "[m]ore than 5 but less than 14" episodes. In other words no less than 6 but no more than 13 seasons.

Ryan said...

I'm not too impressed by the responses, which seem quite vapid. I guess we are too early in the process to learn much.

Really wish Jordan was alive for this. I feel like his vision for the books was considerably more serious than people assume (Iceman etc...).

His books had a respect for violence which Sanderson violated.

Mark Andrew Edwards said...

Calling it now. These responses are not those of an artist.

Do it right, follow the text or just don't do it at all.

Stonewielder said...

I'm pretty disappointed they're not going to keep the Rand/Min/Elayne/Aviendha relationship. At this point it looks like they're going to condense all three into one woman.

Great comment Ryan, I agree with all points.

Anonymous said...

Whingy-whingy moan-moan

SuperPink said...

Really disappointed in the answers. This person isn't fit to handle WoT.

WriterJosh said...

Gotta say, I don't understand the whining. I liked his answers.