Amazon Prime Picks Up Fantasy Bestseller ‘Wheel of Time’
Amazon has confirmed that they have picked up an adaptation of Robert Jordan’s fourteen-book fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. The live-action series will be helmed by Rafe Judkins. The Wheel of Time has sold 80 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling epic fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings. The new series will join Amazon’s multimillion-dollar Lord of the Rings series on Amazon Prime, providing the streaming service with two major competitors for premier programming from Netflix and HBO.
This is the latest step in a long and convoluted journey for Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. The first book, The Eye of the World, was first published in 1990. In 2007, the author died before he could complete the twelfth book and his wife and editor, Harriet McDougal, selected Brandon Sanderson to complete the series. Sanderson released the fourteenth and final book, A Memory of Light, in 2013. (Let this be a warning to Game of Thrones fans—George R. R. Martin better get on it!)
Since then, there have multiple attempts to bring the fantasy epic to the screen, including an unauthorized pilot on FXX in 2015, produced by Red Eagle Entertainment in a last-ditch effort to keep their rights to the license. Amazon is slated to air an authorized series by Sony Pictures, with the cooperation of Harriet MacDougal and Brandon Sanderson.
Writer and producer Rafe Judkins (Agents of Shield, Chuck) was excited to announce the adaptation: “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. 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.”
Amazon is making a titanic investment in premier shows to attract new subscribers to Amazon Prime. Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke added that, “The Wheel of Time is endlessly fascinating and resonates hugely with fans as one of the best-selling global properties, and we were drawn to its timely narrative featuring powerful women at the core.”
The Wheel of Time has been both praised for its focus on powerful female characters, and criticized for emphasizing strict gender roles. We are interested to see which element transitions best to the small screen. Regardless, this is big news for fantasy fans that will need their fix of magic, swordplay, and prophecy after Game of Thrones comes to an end in 2019.