The Wheel of Time will be Amazon Prime's next big attempt to usurp Netflix and Disney Plus in the fantasy TV show stakes.
The streamer's upcoming live-action adaptation of Robert Jordan's best-selling novel series is launching later this year – and it's set to be a big deal.
The Wheel of Time season 1 was recently part of Amazon Prime's Comic-Con@Home panel and we received some important details about the fantasy show, including its launch window and a filming start date for season 2.
We've also received word of another Wheel of Time project entering production so, if you want all of the news concerning these information drops, we've got you covered.
Below, we've covered what you need to know about the show before its arrival, including its cast, potential plot details, teasers, how many seasons there could be and more.
Bear in mind that we’re entering spoiler territory for The Wheel of Time’s book series from this point on. If you want to go into the TV show with very little knowledge of what it actually is, turn back now. Otherwise, read on for everything we know about it so far.
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The Wheel of Time season 1 release date: November 2021
Finally, The Wheel of Time season 1 has a launch window. Confirmed during Amazon Prime's Comic-Con@Home panel, series showrunner Rafe Judkins revealed that the first instalment in the show would land in November 2021.
The news was accompanied by an official poster for the series, too, which shows Rosamund Pike's sorceress Moiraine standing in a key location in The Wheel of Time's fantasy world:
See you in November, Dragonsworn. pic.twitter.com/kYJKpO2SGDJuly 23, 2021
We predicted that Amazon would release The Wheel of Time season 1 in the final three months of this year, so we're glad to see that we were on the mark in that respect.
Of course, we don't have an official release date yet but, hopefully, that'll be revealed when the show's first trailer lands (more on this later).
The Wheel of Time season 1 plot: what’s it about?
Spoilers for The Wheel of Time book series follow.
The Wheel of Time is a convoluted story. The book series, which was completed by fellow fantasy author and Wheel of Time fan Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007, comprises 14 novels. Much like Game of Thrones, it also has a stacked list of characters and locations, as well as multiple plot threads to follow.
If its story is a fantasy epic that will span multiple seasons (more on this later), then, what do we know about season 1’s specific plot?
When Amazon announced that it was adapting Jordan’s literary works back in 2018, a report from Deadline provided a brief synopsis of what we can expect from The Wheel of Time season 1.
Set in an unnamed world (fans call it The Randlands or The World of the Wheel), The Wheel of Time follows Rand al’Thor, a humble boy who lives in a small village known as the Two Rivers.
After Rand’s home is attacked by the Dark One, an evil entity who wants to destroy the world, he’s rescued by Moiraine Damodred, a powerful magician and member of a secret all-female organization called the Aes Sedai.
Believing that the Dark One was seeking out the Dragon Reborn – a prophesied champion of light who could defeat the lord of evil – Moiraine leads Rand on a dangerous, continent-spanning journey that will decide the fate of the world.
Rand, though, isn’t the only character who could be the so-called Dragon Reborn. His male friends – Matrim ‘Mat’ Cauthon and Perrin Aybara – may also be the ancient hero that Moiraine seeks.
Joining Moiraine, Rand, Mat and Perrin on their adventure are Rand’s female friend Egwene al’Vere, Two Rivers’ wise woman Nynaeve al’Meara, and Moiraine’s Warder companion Lan Mandragoran.
Together, the group hope to defeat the Dark One for good, but their journey will be far from straightforward. The Dragon Reborn has the ability to destroy humanity instead of liberating it, so the fate of the Randlands hangs in the balance no matter who is the real champion of light.
Outside of this synopsis, little is known about the show’s plot. However, while you may think that season 1 will only focus on the series’ first book – The Eye of the World – that won’t be the case.
Responding to fans during an Instagram Live Q&A, Judkins revealed that season 1 is “adapting the whole series, not just Eye of the World”, which suggests that we’ll be seeing plot points from other books in season 1, too.
On the ensemble focus... pic.twitter.com/jJ5u2sbJtBMay 20, 2021
One element (from The Eye of the World) that will be included in season 1 is the ruby-hilted dagger. In the novels, this is an artifact of Shadar Logoth, an ancient city that fell to ruin after it embraced the darkness that its inhabitants had fought hard to stave off.
The dagger is consumed with evil and manipulates whoever comes into its possession, which spells danger for one of the series’ most prominent characters.
In February, Amazon released a teaser trailer that showed one individual coming across the dagger. We won’t reveal which character that is due to spoilers but, if you want to find out who it’ll be, check out the tweet below:
Where the Shadow waits. pic.twitter.com/Y1WS0HFwqrFebruary 17, 2021
We’ll also see the Heron Mark Blade included in season 1. In the novels, blademasters may decorate their swords with a heron mark, particularly if they have mastered the art of sword-to-sword combat.
Again, this weapon has a fairly prominent role in proceedings (no spoilers again), so its inclusion isn’t a surprise. In December 2020, Amazon released a teaser of how its creative team had crafted the blade for the show:
Crafting the blade. #WOTonPrime pic.twitter.com/fD4X9n7OcnDecember 2, 2020
The Wheel of Time season 1 episodes: how many are there?
Season 1 will comprise six episodes. This was confirmed on the Writers’ Guild of America West website in December 2020, alongside the titles for each entry:
- Episode 1 – Leavetaking
- Episode 2 – Shadow's Waiting
- Episode 3 – A Place of Safety
- Episode 4 – The Dragon Reborn
- Episode 5 – Blood Calls Blood
- Episode 6 – The Flame of Tar Valon
Judkins also revealed that season 1’s entries will clock in between 50 and 65 minutes.
That’s a wrap on @rafejudkins (aka "Shadowrunner"?) Q&A on Instagram.Thread here for #TwitterOfTime pic.twitter.com/FfWxCW4jJCMay 20, 2021
As for who is directing the episodes, Uta Briesewitz (Stranger Things, Westworld) is helming the first two entries. Wayne Yip (Hunter, Lord of the Rings) is also directing two episodes, while Salli Richardson-Whitfield (NCIS, Altered Carbon) has overseen the other two.
Judkins has written the script for the pilot, while episodes two through five have been penned by Amanda Kate Shuman (The Blacklist), Mike and Paul Clarkson (The Haunting of Bly Manor), Dave Hill (Game of Thrones), Celine Song (in her TV writer’s debut) and Justine Juel Gillmer (The 100) respectively.
The Wheel of Time season 1 cast: who is playing who?
As we mentioned, there are lots of characters in The Wheel of Time. It’s unsurprising, then, that season 1’s cast is a sizable one.
Below, we’ve listed the main (and most prominent supporting) characters who will appear in season 1:
- Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred
- Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor
- Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara
- Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al’Meara
- Barney Harris as Matrim ‘Mat’ Cauthon
- Madeleine Madden as Egwene al’Vere
- Daniel Henney as Lan Mandragoran
- 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
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, I Care a Lot) is the biggest name attached to the series. The actress will play Moiraine, the Aes Sedai who leads Rand and his friends on their journey. She’s also known as “Alys” in the book series.
Josha Stradowski (Gewoon Vrienden) will portray Rand in his first major TV role. The Dutch actor is joined by Marcus Rutherford (Bulletproof), Zoë Robins (Black Christmas), Barney Harris (The Hollow Crown) and Madeleine Madden (Picnic at Hanging Rock) as Perrin, Nynaeve, Mat and Egwene respectively.
Curiously, Rutherford’s Perrin Aybara was the most difficult character to adapt, according to Judkins. Speaking during an Instagram Live Q&A, Rudkins revealed why Perrin was so hard to get right:
That’s a wrap on @rafejudkins (aka "Shadowrunner"?) Q&A on Instagram.Thread here for #TwitterOfTime pic.twitter.com/FfWxCW4jJCMay 20, 2021
According to the series’ IMDB page, Sophie Okonedo (His Dark Materials, Ratched) is the only other series regular alongside the six previously mentioned actors. She’ll play another Aes Sedai in Siuan Sanche, who also goes by pseudonyms “Suki” and “Mara” in the novels. Siuan doesn’t appear in the books until the second instalment – The Great Hunt – which means that season 1 will adapt multiple novels, as Rudkins confirmed in the above tweet.
Kae Alexander (Fleabag, Infinite) will play Min Farshaw in three of season 1’s six episodes. In Jordan’s books, Min is one of Rand’s lovers, but it’s unclear if Amazon’s adaptation will retain this plot point or not. We suspect it will, if Alexander features regularly in season 1.
There are plenty of other cast members in The Wheel of Time season 1. However, the vast majority will only appear in one episode, and those listed above (who we haven’t mentioned yet) are arguably the most important out of its supporting cast.
Daniel Henney (Criminal Minds) will play Lan Mandragoran, the uncrowned king (and sole survivor) of Malkier and Moiraine’s Warder. In the books, Warders are bonded to Aes Sedai through saidar – the female component of the One Power, the source of the Aes Sedai’s magic – to be their bodyguards.
Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones) portrays Rand’s adopted father Tam, Alvaro Morte (Money Heist) plays an Asha’man of the Black Tower called Logain Albar, and Alexandre Willaume (Deep State) has been cast as Thom Merrilin, a bard who accompanies Moiraine’s group.
Juliet Howland (Doctors) and Christopher Sciueref (Cardinal Burns) will play Mat’s parents Natti and Abell Cauthon, and Lolita Chakrabarti (Silent Witness) and Michael Tuahine (The Time of Our Lives) will portray Egwene’s mother and father. Finally, Johann Myers (Snatch) will feature as Padan Fain, a secondary antagonist in the books.
There’s no word on who will star as the villainous Dark One yet but, given the series’ antagonist is a sentient, cosmic force, it’s likely that the show will only require a voice actor to portray them in Amazon’s adaptation.
The Wheel of Time season 1 trailer: is there one?
Sort of. In May 2021, Amazon released two very brief teaser trailers for the series. These videos showed Pike's Moiraine and Henney’s Lan, but didn’t give any details away about their characters or the plot.
While we didn't receive an official trailer during Comic-Con@Home, we know that we'll be getting one before the summer (or winter, if you're based in the southern hemisphere) is over.
That's according to Judkins anyway. Speaking via a brief video at JordanCon, a fan convention held in honor of The Wheel of Time's author, Judkins confirmed that a trailer would arrive "by the end of the summer".
Thanks for checking in during our @TheWheelOfTime show panel @rafejudkins! Your news about the trailer had the whole room and livestream gasping... Were you watching the livestream #twitteroftime? Tune in for more all weekend. https://t.co/6iP37BVfz5July 16, 2021
The Wheel of Time season 1 sequels: will there be more seasons and potential movies?
Yes. As revealed by the TV series’ official Twitter account on May 20, The Wheel of Time has already been renewed for a second season:
With this many Ta’veren in one place, one season was never going to be enough. #TheWheelOfTime #TwitterOfTime pic.twitter.com/CtuGitxPSnMay 20, 2021
That's not all either. Following Judkins' JordanCon announcement about the arrival of a trailer, The Wheel of Time's official social media channels revealed that filming had begun on season 2:
And the wheel keeps weaving... Filming for Season 2 of our series kicks off today! #TheWheelofTime pic.twitter.com/Dpj26qabMWJuly 19, 2021
As for how many seasons there will be, there won’t be 14 (more on this below). Like we said earlier, Judkins confirmed that each season would combine books from Jordan’s literary works as, given how complicated the story is, it would takes a long time to finish the TV series:
On the reality of adaptations... pic.twitter.com/mcfu47xZcwMay 20, 2021
How many seasons could we see then? The Wheel of Time spans 14 volumes in total, but there’s also a prequel novel and two companion books to take into consideration.
With 17 books to draw from across this fantasy epic, we wouldn’t be surprised if two or three novels are used per season. If we’re right, Amazon’s Wheel of Time could take six to seven seasons to reach its conclusion.
Finally, as claimed by The Hollywood Reporter, a Wheel of Time movie trilogy is also in the works. According to THR's July 13 article, Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class, Thor) is penning a three-movie story based on Jordan's 'Age of Legends' novels from his Wheel of Time series.
The Age of Legends trilogy will be set several millennia before the events of the TV show. Also dubbed the Second Age, it'll follow the Aes Sedai (and their male counterparts) more closely and focus on the One Power, which is the source of all magic in the Wheel of Time universe.
When an unspeakable evil is unleashed across the land, male channelers (the Wheel of Time's magic wielders) are driven insane and use the One Power to try and destroy the world. It'll up to a small band of women, who unite under the White Tower, to stop them.
It's unclear how Rosamund Pike's Moiraine will factor into this (if at all) or whether Amazon will buy the rights to the movie trilogy.
Right now, no studio partner or distributor is associated with the Age of Legends films, but they will complement Amazon's TV adaptation and expand upon The Wheel of Time's world.
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