For a particular generation of fantasy readers, "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and go" is the start of fifteen novels from Robert Jordan, published from 1990 to 2013. For Amazon, The Wheel of Time started turning back in 2018 as part of a massive pair of acquisition deals for the two biggest high fantasy series to ever come out of the U.K. (The Lord of the Rings was the other one.) The novels were part of the beginning of the second wave of high fantasy books, which eventually spawned His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, and A Song of Ice and Fire, a.k.a. Game of Thrones.
Though The Wheel of Time preceded all these now much larger and more famous properties, it took decades to get it to screen due to rights getting tied up in bad deals towards the end of Jordan's life. (Jordan famously passed before the series was over, and author Brandon Sanderson completed the final three novels.) It's also one of those series too ambitious to work as anything other than a multi-part TV series, a road GoT forged after Jordan's passing. The cast is comprised of about a dozen and a half main characters, six of which are Chosen Ones of various types; the setting is a continent that spans every kind of location from the English countryside to the sands of the Middle East.
Now, this incredibly complex take on the fight between good versus evil and apocalyptic medieval fantasy is finally coming to the small screen, streaming on Amazon Studios this November. The trailer is gorgeous.
Here's the series synopsis, which is... well, for those who have read the books? A choice. But perhaps the smart one.
Set in an epic world where magic exists but only women can use it, The Wheel of Time follows Moiraine, a member of the shadowy and influential all-female organization called the "Aes Sedai," as she embarks on a dangerous journey with five young men and women across the world. Moiraine is interested in these five because she believes one of them might be the reincarnation of an incredibly powerful individual, who prophecies say will either save humanity or destroy it.
On the one hand, that's a little bit like someone telling you Game of Thrones is about Catelyn Stark, the matriarch of the mighty North ruling family who loses everything because she could not love a motherless boy. But The Lord of the Rings is also on the way, a very similar good-versus-evil with a male Chosen One lead. Taking The Wheel of Time and reangling it to emphasize the role of women (who are half the Chosen Ones in the story), the two series can stay separate and distinct. Considering that Amazon's best stuff is female-focused (looking at you, Fleabag), perhaps it might even be the path to a hit.
The cast is, much like GoT before it, made up of several newcomers in the leading roles. But fans of U.K. productions will recognize at least a few faces, including Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Álvaro Morte (Money Heist), Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones), Daryl McCormack (Peaky Blinders), Sophie Okonedo (The Hollow Crown), Kate Fleetwood (Victoria), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Outlander), Lolita Chakrabarti (The Casual Vacancy), Abdul Salis (Love Actually), Stuart Graham (The Fall), Kae Alexander (Collateral), and Peter Franzén (Vikings).
The Wheel of Time Season 1 will debut on Nov. 19, 2021, on Amazon. Season 2 is already in production.