The Wheel of Time, like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, was supposed to be one of Amazon Prime Video's twin crown jewels of British-ish fantasy, the heirs to Game of Thrones, as it were. However, the best-laid plans of Jeff Bezos failed to materialize. The Wheel of Time debuted to little fanfare in the depths of the pandemic, and The Lord of the Rings lost out in the head-to-head with the real Game of Thrones follow-up, House of the Dragon. However, it's never too late for a second chance to make a first impression. Amazon is doing everything possible to jumpstart Wheel of Time before deciding if Season 3 is in the cards, including a glossy trailer full of intrigue.
You no longer need to be an Amazon Prime member to catch up on the first season, which has been extended to Amazon's FAST channel Freevee (which, as it says on the cutesy tin, is free). Season 2's trailer also promises the series is planning to step up the political drama of this international fantasy world by introducing the Seachan, a terrifying society with deeply fascist overtones, whose book introduction is seen from a groundling perspective and much later in the story.
The trailer also promises that Amazon Studios has kept up the high-end budget that it sunk into Season 1, so even if the series doesn't take off beyond its core fandom, those who tune in will get a gorgeous show to watch.
The synopsis for Season 2 of The Wheel of Time reads as follows:
The Wheel of Time turns, and the Last Battle approaches. Though Rand thought he destroyed the Dark One, evil is not gone from the world. In season two, threats new and very old seek out the young friends from the Two Rivers, now scattered over the world. The woman who found and guided them is now powerless to help, and so they must find other sources of strength. In each other, or themselves. In the Light ... or the Dark.
The sprawling cast of the series includes the returns of Rosamund Pike as Moiraine, Daniel Henney as Lan, Josha Stradowski as Rand, Zoë Robins as Nyaeve, Madeleine Madden as Egwene, Marcus Rutherford as Perrin, Fares Fares as the Dark One, Johann Myers as Fain, and Sophie Okonedo as Suanne in the main ensemble, with Dónal Finn (Rogue Heroes) replacing Barney Harris as Mat.
Season 2 will introduce new critical characters including newcomer Ceara Coveney as Elayne Trakand, Meera Syal (The Kumars) as Verin, Ayoola Smart (Killing Eve) as Aviendha, Maja Simonsen (The King's Man) as Chiad, newcomer Ragga Ragnars as Bain, Jay Duffy (Vikings) as Dain Bornhald and Rima Te Wiata (My Life Is Murder) as Sheriam Bayanar. Other new faces include Katie Yeung (YiYi), Gary Beadle (Grantchester), Laia Costa (Life Itself), Salle Salee (The Sommerdahl Murders), Julian Lewis Jones (Justice League), Daniel Francis (Small Axe), and Elena Fokina (Suspiria).
The Wheel of Time Season 2 will debut on Friday, September 1, 2023, and follow a weekly release schedule over eight episodes.