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What you need to know about The Wheel of Time TV series on Amazon Prime
The Wheel of Time TV series was a major hit for Amazon Prime Video, becoming one of the major fantasy event series of 2021.
With Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon due later in 2022, as well as Netflix’s The Witcher now up to two seasons, it’s a great time for fantasy fans to get their fill.
So, what do we know about The Wheel of Time? Who’s in it? What can we expect from season two? How can you watch it? Read on for answers to these questions and more.
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What is The Wheel of Time TV series it about?
The Wheel of Time is a series of fantasy novels by American author Robert Jordan, launched in 1990 and completed posthumously by Brandon Sanderson. While originally planned as a six part series, The Wheel of Time is comprised of 14 main novels, as well as a prequel novel, several short stories, and two companion books.
The books take place in an unnamed world, though fans have come to know it as the Randlands or the World of the Wheel. The story concerns an ancient battle between the forces of light and the forces of dark. An order of women known as the Aes Sedai who wield magic fight the servants of the evil Dark One. Both sides seek a reincarnated dragon that could tip the balance of power to defeat the Dark One. Young potential reincarnations are on the run but work to unite kingdoms in opposition to the evil forces that hunt them.
There have been numerous Wheel of Time video games and comics and even a soundtrack inspired by the books. Despite several attempts in the last 20 years, earlier series and films just never made it to the screen.
The Wheel of Time series on Amazon is the first successful attempt at a film or series.
The Wheel of Time season 1 recap
Amazon described season one as follows: “Set in a sprawling, epic world where magic exists and only certain women are allowed to access it, the story follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), 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.”
As the season progresses, Moirane and her wards make their way to the White Tower, evading capture by religious zealots (the Children of the Light) and preparing to face the Dark One, who hopes to recruit the Dragon Reborn in his evil deeds.
The season ends with a new threat approaching the shore as ships arrive with what appear to be enslaved Aes Sedai, wielding their powers against their will.
Wheel of Time Season 2: What to expect
Considering the massive budget and buzz around season one — as well as the 15-book source material — it’s probably fair to expect future seasons beyond that too.
Amazon has confirmed a second season.
As for what we can expect, Amazon has not revealed any plot points yet.
We will likely learn who is approaching the shores of the Randlands and whether they do pose a threat. And with the threat of the Dark One now held at bay, we’ll see whether the newly revealed Dragon Reborn can truly usher in a new age.
Is it the same as the book series? What are the key differences?
The Wheel of Time has been praised for staying true to the books it’s based on. Having said that, the series does move at a much quicker pace and will likely cover all the major plot points over a few seasons (vs more than a dozen books).
Season one, for example, largely told the story of the first novel. It did, however, dip into books two and three from the series. That meant we got right to the meat pretty quickly.
The Wheel of Time is pretty faithful to the books.
One of the biggest changes is the framing. Moiraine stands in as more of a lead in the show. She’s the head of the ensemble, which is less the case in the books, with Rand assuming a role of leadership.
Moiraine’s elevated status helps create more ambiguity around the identity of the Dragon Reborn. While the books make it pretty obvious, it’s one of the first season’s central mysteries.
These changes allow for a lot of characterization of the whole group, and it makes the dynamics between the male and female characters a bit more interesting.
Otherwise, certain characters get bigger or smaller roles and are introduced earlier or not at all. Similarly, stretches of plot are cut or sped up. By and large, it’s a pretty faithful adaptation.
When and where can you watch it?
The Wheel of Time TV series streams exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in over 240 countries and territories globally.
Check out: The best movies streaming on Amazon Prime
The season premiered November 19, 2021, and had its season finale on December 24.
Amazon has not indicated when we can expect season two.
Who is involved?
The biggest name in the Wheel of Time TV series is Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Die Another Day, Pride & Prejudice). Game of Thrones fans will recognize Michael McElhatton from his role as Roose Bolton. And horror fans may know Zoë Robins from the 2019 Black Christmas remake.
The main cast of The Wheel of Time season one is as follows:
- Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred
- Daniel Henney as Lan Mondragoran
- Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor
- Madeleine Madden as Egwene al’Vere
- Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara
- Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al’Meara
- Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon
- Sophie Okonedo as Siuan Sanche
- Kae Alexander as Min Forshaw
- Michael McElhatton as Tam al’Thor
- Alvaro Morte as Logain Ablar
- Juliet Howland as Natti Cauthon
- Christopher Sciueref as Abell Cauthon
- Lolita Chakrabarti as Marin al’Vere
- Michael Tuahine as Bran al’Vere
- Alexandre Willaume as Thom Merrilin
- Johann Myers as Padan Fain
The Wheel of Time books are adapted for television by executive producer and showrunner Rafe Judkins.
Uta Briesewitz directed the first two episodes and serves as executive producer along with Larry Mondragon and Rick Selvage of iwot productions, Mike Weber, Ted Field of Radar Pictures, Darren Lemke, and Marigo Kehoe.
Other episode directors are Wayne Che Yip, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, and Ciaran Donnelly.
The series is co-produced by Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television.
Who is involved in The Wheel of Time season 2?
Ceara Coveney, Natasha O’Keeffe, and Meera Syal have been added as series regulars in season two. Coveney will play Elayne Trakand. O’Keeffe and Syal’s roles have not yet been disclosed.
Other new cast additions to season two include Guy Roberts as Uno Nomesta, a one-eyed soldier and tracker who serves Lord Agelmar; Arnas Fedaravicius as Masema, a warrior who serves Lord Agelmar; and Gregg Chillingirian as Ingtar Shinowa, a lord and soldier.
One change that Amazon has already announced is the recasting of Mat Cauthon. While Barney Harris played Mat in season one, Dónal Finn will step into the role in season two. Amazon has not revealed why the switch was made.
We can expect most of the rest of the main cast to return from season one.
Was The Wheel of Time TV series affected by COVID-19?
Filming had already gotten quite far along in Prague when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The global public health crisis impacted virtually every aspect of life, including film and TV production.
In March, 2020, production on The Wheel of Time paused, setting the shooting schedule back by several months. Production eventually wrapped in May, 2021, with season two beginning filming almost immediately two months later.
The Wheel of Time joins a huge number of shows like Apple TV Plus’ The Morning Show, HBO Max‘s Gossip Girl, Hulu‘s The Handmaid’s Tale, Netflix‘s Grace & Frankie, FX’s Y: The Last Man, and more that had to postpone production due to the pandemic.
So far, season two appears to be on schedule, though we don’t know when it will stream.