The Wheel Of Time has had a long life span as an acclaimed high fantasy novel series. Now, it’s high time this world of fantasy hits the screen. Robert Jordan originally penned the idea for The Wheel Of Time in 1984 but the first book in the series wasn’t published until 1990. The author originally planned to release the books as a six-part series. However, the W.O.T. world and its fandom grew so large the story couldn’t be contained in even a dozen volumes.
Robert Jordan died in 2007. Upon his death, he left the 12th and final installment to fellow fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson to complete. Sanderson wound up splitting Jordan’s final book into three more in order to contain the scope of the work. The entire series wound up culminating in an impressively sprawling total of twenty books.
The Wheel Of Time
The series explores themes from European and Asian mythology, specifically the cyclical nature of time outlined in Buddhism and Hinduism. The world these characters inhabit is one where only female sorcerors can harness magic. The Wheel Of Time explores the “wild warrior woman” and other feminist archetypes–a major part of why this series is so interesting. This sprawling epic takes us on a world and time-spanning journey where the fate of Earth depends on the prophesied return of the “Dragon Reborn.” This entity will either save or destroy humanity, and it’s all just karma in the wheel of time.
Evolution Of The Wheel Of Time Adaptation
Robert Jordan originally sold The Wheel Of Time series rights to NBC in 2000. However, the deal fell apart when the writing team that was originally hired to adapt the series left the network. The rights were subsequently returned to Jordan, but that wouldn’t be the last attempt to adapt the series for TV.
Shortly after this, a Japanese animation studio offered to turn the first three books into an anime series. However, the author was not interested in partially adapting his work for an animated TV show. The studio was to adapt the entire Wheel Of Time world or nothing at all. And so it was nothing.
Then in 2004, Red Eagle Entertainment purchased the rights to the series from Jordan for $640,000. The stipulation of the deal was that Red Eagle would own the rights for the next 11 years. The project sat in limbo for another four years, at which time Red Eagle re-sold the film rights to Universal for a substantially larger sum. Universal began developing the script for a film adaptation of the first book in the series The Eye Of The World. As fate would have it, Universal decided to stop development on the project and returned the rights to Red Eagle.
The Road To Amazon
In 2014 Sony began discussions with Red Eagle to option the rights for a big-budget television series. However, by that time the original contract Red Eagle signed with the author was about to expire. If the show didn’t go into production before the end of the year, the rights would revert back to the Robert Jordan estate.
So, Red Eagle took matters into their own hands and developed a 22-minute pilot based on The Eye Of The World starring Billy Zane. They then paid to have it aired on the FXX Network during an infomercial slot in order to constitute having produced an actual film version of the story in order to retain the rights. A two-year legal discussion followed to clarify the situation. The lawyers from the Robert Jordan estate decided that Red Eagle would retain the rights and it was announced that a film adaptation with a major studio was underway.
In 2018, Amazon confirmed they had purchased the rights to the series from Red Eagle and greenlit pre-production, bringing the series closer to seeing the light of day.
The Amazon Series Premiere Of The Wheel Of Time
The Wheel Of Time Amazon series premiere is slated for November 19th, 2021–over twenty years since it was originally optioned for television. The series stars Rosamond Pike, Joshua Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford, Zoe Robins, Sophie Okonedo, Barney Harris, Madeleine Madden, and Kae Alexander.
Amazon released the trailer on September 2nd. Watch it here:
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