Werthead

WHEEL OF TIME officially optioned for television

282 posts in this topic

I think the lack of magic certainly helps, look at how often "gritty" and "realistic" are thrown around as adjectives for GoT. And more directly, its hard to really focus on the character interaction and soap opera-ness (which really is the main draw of GoT) when there's fireballs being thrown around everywhere. WoT certainly has the similar in scope plot and epic-ness of GoT, but, for the most part, the main characters aren't nearly as interesting.

I don't think gritty has anything to do with lack of magic. The same word is used to describe Erikson's work, and its chock full of even more crazy magic than WoT. And I really don't think "gritty" is what attracts the mainstream audience to GoT. It is the soapy-ness, and there's plenty of that in WoT.

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I think the lack of magic certainly helps, look at how often "gritty" and "realistic" are thrown around as adjectives for GoT. And more directly, its hard to really focus on the character interaction and soap opera-ness (which really is the main draw of GoT) when there's fireballs being thrown around everywhere. WoT certainly has the similar in scope plot and epic-ness of GoT, but, for the most part, the main characters aren't nearly as interesting.

The use of the One Power in the books is actually kind of restrained to start with. Assuming the battle for Emond's Field happens off-screen (as in the book), then Moiraine's powers for most of the first book consist of 1) healing, 2) making things a bit foggy to confuse the Trollocs and 3) creating an illusion of herself to scare off the Whitecloaks. I don't think anyone hurls a fireball on-page until they go to the Blight. Just as GoT holds back on the dragons and other overt magical shit until quite late in Season 1, WoT could take a similar approach.

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The use of the One Power in the books is actually kind of restrained to start with. Assuming the battle for Emond's Field happens off-screen (as in the book), then Moiraine's powers for most of the first book consist of 1) healing, 2) making things a bit foggy to confuse the Trollocs and 3) creating an illusion of herself to scare off the Whitecloaks. I don't think anyone hurls a fireball on-page until they go to the Blight. Just as GoT holds back on the dragons and other overt magical shit until quite late in Season 1, WoT could take a similar approach.

There is also the creation of Dragonmount.

But there would also be more than just special effects of the One Power. You also have all the Shadowspawn creatures. Trollocs are all supposed to be as big or bigger than Gregor Clegane, and have all kinds of shapes. Then you have the Draghkar. The Fades could just be guys in makeup, though a little bit of CGI to show their shadowy traits would be good.

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The use of the One Power in the books is actually kind of restrained to start with. Assuming the battle for Emond's Field happens off-screen (as in the book), then Moiraine's powers for most of the first book consist of 1) healing, 2) making things a bit foggy to confuse the Trollocs and 3) creating an illusion of herself to scare off the Whitecloaks. I don't think anyone hurls a fireball on-page until they go to the Blight. Just as GoT holds back on the dragons and other overt magical shit until quite late in Season 1, WoT could take a similar approach.

There's the battle near Shader Logoth, though. Moraine uses her angreal to basically make a giant wall of fire, then causes an earthquake. Just before that, she launches several fireballs.

She also uses lightning on the Whitecloak camp.

But yeah, all said and done, there isn't a lot of magic in the first few books. Its only once Egwene starts gaining in her abilities that we see a lot more. Neither Rand nor Nynaeve had any control for a long time, so she's our earliest look at how the OP works.

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I couldn't even make it through the whole thing. That was just terrible.


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There seems to be a prejudice against "genre" or "nerd" stuff in TV, especially that evokes, elves, wizards or Dungeons and Dragons. I'm not sure how strong that is anymore, with the ubiquity of comic book movies and tv shows


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There seems to be a prejudice against "genre" or "nerd" stuff in TV, especially that evokes, elves, wizards or Dungeons and Dragons. I'm not sure how strong that is anymore, with the ubiquity of comic book movies and tv shows

I think that has gone down. Plus, not so much an issue with WoT. Its "magic" is very logical and well thought out, not mysterious and dependent on spells and wands and all that.

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@Werthead I want to say congrats, seems you got the scoop on Red Eagle, and Vox, io9 and others are linking your Zone as the go to site for info.



As to the topic, this sucks if it works. They have done nothing for 10 years, and rush a info pilot to keep the rights? Over the last 2 years they could have easily gotten a good team together and done a legit pilot w/ real cast, sold it to HBO, Showtime, or Netflix and raked in the cash.



I don't think this will work, as the rights had been "rented" out to Universal and they didn't have any part in the "pilot'.

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Huh, this "pilot" is actually 15 min long? Is it normal for US TV to have commercial breaks every 5 minutes? How can anybody stand this BS? Also, seems odd that Red Eagle bought a commercial spot to air it in and it is still riddled with commercials itself ;). Fun for what it is, however.

Too bad that Jordan refused the anime offer, CGI is probably too expensive even now to make a decent live-action series out of it. And let's be honest here - ending with Dragon Reborn would have been realistic (far more so than a stated intention to go through the whole WoT as it existed in 2003!) and worked very nicely. OTOH, maybe somebody could take a Babylon 5 approach, with low-quality, but functional CGI, that may not be all that pretty, but depicts everything that is needed? And, of course, dialog would have to be re-written, characters merged, etc.

Red Eagle needs to be out of the picture for there to be any chance of... anything, though.

Edited by Maia

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Just a random bit, but when reading Grantland on this, they noted a detail I hadn't seen elsewhere: Seda James, the director whose tweets provided the timeline of just how quickly this went together, died just days after learning that it was going to air on FXX. I thought that was a rather tragic detail, lost in the whole mess. He was obviously very excited about the opportunity, and tried to do the best he could under the circumstances of the extremely short deadline and ... well, everything else.

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Given the description and the details I was expecting this to be worse than it actually was.

If they actually manage to move forward and produce this into a television show I'll probably pay some amount of amused attention to it -- just as I've done with Game of Thrones. But like ASOIAF, I won't pin my hopes that it will transition to good television (or at least television that I would enjoy watching).

That being said -- a animated adaptation would be nice to see if that becomes any sort of possibility. But I think live action will be what we get if we end up getting anything at all out of this.

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I'm really not sure that an adaptation of Wheel of Time can ever happen. Certainly not a faithful one at least. There are three main problems as I see it:



> There is a lot more magic than in GoT, even in the earlier books. And in later seasons it would just be way too much CGI all the time. Maybe in ten years or so this won't be beyond the budget of a television show but I'm skeptical.


> It's too long. People said that ASOIAF was too big for television but it's nothing compared to WoT. At least ASOIAF has roughly the same amount of books planned as a good TV show can have seasons. But 14 seasons? For a big budget drama? It's never going to happen.


> And finally - and this is very subjective - I just don't think WoT is good enough for it to be worth trying to jump those hurdles. I would be especially concerned about the depiction of female characters. The franchise gets a lot of flack as a book series for being sexist: the reaction if it were shunted into the mainstream would be potentially catastrophic. But again, all very subjective.



Ultimately I think any adaptation would have to be merely inspired by. You could get a decent film or TV series by just adapting the first 3 books, with elements from the future books taken in (though I wouldn't know a lot about that, I haven't read past - IIRC - book seven.


Edited by protar

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There's fairly easy ways to streamline the story. Holding back the Seanchen invasion to be rumor/off screen until the end keeps actors from being sidelined for years. Cutting out Bowl of Winds. Sea Folk too for that matter, other than cameos. Focus on Rand's and Egwene's stories, while adapting Matt and Perrin's stories to occur mainly within their orbit.



Purists will scream and rage, but then they'll do that anyway. For a preview, see this forum in a few months. ;)


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Books 7,8,9 and 10 could be covered in one episode.

Book ten is a 2 minute montage.

<male character 1> looks in the distance. "Did you feel that?"

<female character 1> looks at man. "What's wrong?"

<male character 2> looks in the distance. "Did you feel that?"

<female character 2> looks at man. "What's wrong?"

<Matt> Rolls dice.

<Perrin> "Where the frak is Faile? Why did they even adapt this whole frakking storyline? Didn't they get this is something to leave out?"

<Elaine> Suds up in the tub. "Did you feel that?"

Edited by Myrddin

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Book ten is a 2 minute montage.

<male character 1> looks in the distance. "Did you feel that?"

<female character 1> looks at man. "What's wrong?"

<male character 2> looks in the distance. "Did you feel that?"

<female character 2> looks at man. "What's wrong?"

<Matt> Rolls dice.

<Perrin> "Where the frak is Faile? Why did they even adapt this whole frakking storyline? Didn't they get this is something to leave out?"

<Elaine> Suds up in the tub. "Did you feel that?"

Personally I wouldn't cut a sub-plot just because it was crap on page. Who knows, it could be better on TV. Besides, the meat of the cutting would come from all the clothes, looks, and setting descriptions. But yeah, book 10 could be in one episode.

My preference on how to adapt these books in a live-action feature would be a bit like how Sherlock is done. Make 2-3 hour episodes, with 4-6 episodes per season, each season covering at least 2 books.

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There's fairly easy ways to streamline the story. Holding back the Seanchen invasion to be rumor/off screen until the end keeps actors from being sidelined for years. Cutting out Bowl of Winds. Sea Folk too for that matter, other than cameos. Focus on Rand's and Egwene's stories, while adapting Matt and Perrin's stories to occur mainly within their orbit.

Purists will scream and rage, but then they'll do that anyway. For a preview, see this forum in a few months. ;)

There's no way to keep the story the same as the books. That said, I don't think cutting the Seanchan is the answer. Instead, it might be better to have the first invasion led by Tuon, so she's introduced earlier. That makes investing in the Seanchan worth it, and they definitely add a lot to the story.

The Shaido Aiel chapters, a ton of the Sea Folk stuff... all that has to go.

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I did a big series of articles a couple of years back on how you can adapt WoT.

It's challenging - more challenging than GoT - but doable. In fact, it's more doable now thanks to the advent of companies like Amazon and Netflix funding entire seasons. You can go to Amazon and ask them to check their sales figures for the series for the past seventeen years to see how popular it would be.

As for the season breakdown:

Season 1: The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt
This season introduces the principal storylines and characters. Thematically it is Rand's story of self-discovery as he uncovers the truth of his birth and his destiny and initially tries to reject it. Season finale: the battle between Rand and Ba'alzamon at Falme and the destruction of the Seanchan expeditionary force by the Heroes of the Horn of Valere.

Season 2: The Dragon Reborn and The Shadow Rising
This season sees Rand investigate the truth of his background and what he is fated to do. He decides to seize the reigns and take control of his own destiny and recruit his own allies. Season finale: Rand uniting the Aiel clans at Alcair Dal.

Season 3: The Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos
The turning-point of the series as Rand (and, to a lesser extent, his friends) become famous and major players in the affairs of governments as the continent falls into warfare and chaos. Season finale: the Battle of Dumai's Wells, naturally.

Season 4: A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers and Winter's Heart
Rand consolidates his gains and alliances, confronts the resurgent Seanchan and, ultimately, challenges the Dark Ones taint on saidin. Season finale: the Cleansing.

Season 5: Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams and The Gathering Storm
Rand's journey into the heart of darkness and, ultimately, out of the other side. Season finale: Rand's epiphany atop Dragonmount and Egwene reunifying the Aes Sedai in the face of the Seanchan threat.

Season 6: Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light
Rand finally confronts the Dark One. Season/series finale: the Last Battle.

And of course you can do it in 7 seasons by just doing 2 books per season, although you can do CoT in like 3 episodes tops. The creepy salt village stuff actually could make an effective episode on-screen, but otherwise there's not much content there. Maybe actually show the massive Sea Folk/Seanchan battle in Ebou Dar and have Mat and his companions escaping during the chaos?

For this to work you'd need 14-16 episodes per season. At 12 (6 eps per book) it's going to be tough. 10 I think would be right out of the question.

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Season 5: Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams and The Gathering Storm

Rand's journey into the heart of darkness and, ultimately, out of the other side. Season finale: Rand's epiphany atop Dragonmount and Egwene reunifying the Aes Sedai in the face of the Seanchan threat.

And of course you can do it in 7 seasons by just doing 2 books per season, although you can do CoT in like 3 episodes tops. The creepy salt village stuff actually could make an effective episode on-screen, but otherwise there's not much content there. Maybe actually show the massive Sea Folk/Seanchan battle in Ebou Dar and have Mat and his companions escaping during the chaos?

So no episode devoted completely to Elayne taking a bath? Kind of unfaithful to the source material :P

ETA:

Seriously, you'd be an awesome producer of a WOT series!

Edited by drawkcabi

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I did a big series of articles a couple of years back on how you can adapt WoT.

It's challenging - more challenging than GoT - but doable. In fact, it's more doable now thanks to the advent of companies like Amazon and Netflix funding entire seasons. You can go to Amazon and ask them to check their sales figures for the series for the past seventeen years to see how popular it would be.

As for the season breakdown:

Season 1: The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt

This season introduces the principal storylines and characters. Thematically it is Rand's story of self-discovery as he uncovers the truth of his birth and his destiny and initially tries to reject it. Season finale: the battle between Rand and Ba'alzamon at Falme and the destruction of the Seanchan expeditionary force by the Heroes of the Horn of Valere.

Season 2: The Dragon Reborn and The Shadow Rising

This season sees Rand investigate the truth of his background and what he is fated to do. He decides to seize the reigns and take control of his own destiny and recruit his own allies. Season finale: Rand uniting the Aiel clans at Alcair Dal.

Season 3: The Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos

The turning-point of the series as Rand (and, to a lesser extent, his friends) become famous and major players in the affairs of governments as the continent falls into warfare and chaos. Season finale: the Battle of Dumai's Wells, naturally.

Season 4: A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers and Winter's Heart

Rand consolidates his gains and alliances, confronts the resurgent Seanchan and, ultimately, challenges the Dark Ones taint on saidin. Season finale: the Cleansing.

Season 5: Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams and The Gathering Storm

Rand's journey into the heart of darkness and, ultimately, out of the other side. Season finale: Rand's epiphany atop Dragonmount and Egwene reunifying the Aes Sedai in the face of the Seanchan threat.

Season 6: Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light

Rand finally confronts the Dark One. Season/series finale: the Last Battle.

And of course you can do it in 7 seasons by just doing 2 books per season, although you can do CoT in like 3 episodes tops. The creepy salt village stuff actually could make an effective episode on-screen, but otherwise there's not much content there. Maybe actually show the massive Sea Folk/Seanchan battle in Ebou Dar and have Mat and his companions escaping during the chaos?

For this to work you'd need 14-16 episodes per season. At 12 (6 eps per book) it's going to be tough. 10 I think would be right out of the question.

Hmm... I feel that's taking things a bit too far in the cutting board. I'd frankly have a lot more cuts post Book 6 than otherwise. The earliest books are the most solid in terms of plot. Shadow Rising, Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos, especially, are perfect for individual seasons. I do see the point of clubbing EotW and tGH, though. This way, you avoid the feeling that EotW is too like Lord of the Rings, and also, the early introduction of the Seanchan makes good sense.

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