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WHEEL OF TIME officially optioned for television

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WoT doens't have the mainstream appeal to justify the budget necessary to pull it off. As mentioned above, GoT was a primetime network TV drama set in a fantasy setting, and then HBO-ized with cursing and boobs. They had hooks (sex! incest! a dwarf!) to get people to check out a genre they normally wouldn't. Unless you completely change the tenor of the show, I don't think you have that sort of thing to get random people to watch.

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1 minute ago, sperry said:

WoT doens't have the mainstream appeal to justify the budget necessary to pull it off. As mentioned above, GoT was a primetime network TV drama set in a fantasy setting, and then HBO-ized with cursing and boobs. They had hooks (sex! incest! a dwarf!) to get people to check out a genre they normally wouldn't. Unless you completely change the tenor of the show, I don't think you have that sort of thing to get random people to watch.

Technically WoT has plenty of boobs, too, it just that Jordan never cared to go into details of the gritty and nasty. It's up to the readers to use their imagination. It does have less sex, though. But it does have way more gore.

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People curse all the time in WoT. Jordan just doesn't use the real life four letter words and lets people say stuff like "Blood and ashes" instead. Sex is hinted at but never described explicitly. Doesn't mean it has to be that way on the TV show.

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But LOTR and GoT has made the path to mainstream appeal much easier for WoT. WoT doesn't need to be R-rated to appeal to the mainstream. an M-rated WoT will have good appeal so long as they do it well.

In many ways LOTR made GoT possible. If LOTR had failed it would have been extremely difficult to convince anyone to stump up the money to make a decent pilot, let alone hire the quality of actors they managed to get for key roles. LOTR didn't need boobs or potty mouths. But it did have great action and brilliant SFX, elves and scary monsters.

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I find the idea that only R-rated fantasy sells to be mystifying. Star Wars sells. So do any number of superhero movies. They're not any less fantasies, and in the visual medium, what is the difference between a story sourced from comics vs. a series of novels?

WoT has just the right blend of politics and magic and epic world-ending evil to work, I think. Not to mention a chance to have ethnic and gender diversity without having to go against the books at all.

In the right hands, WoT can be a great show. There's a lot of needless side-stories that can be cut, but the core story works, and tweak a few things and it is both thematically rich and entertaining enough to work as an 8 season show.

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While WoT could certainly be made TV-M/R without veering too far from the source material, I hope they keep it closer to the PG-13 range of the spectrum (which is still pretty violent if you look at LotR/Hobbit). My reason is mainly selfish: I'd like my 12 and 10 year boys to be able to watch it.

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20 minutes ago, fionwe1987 said:

I find the idea that only R-rated fantasy sells to be mystifying. Star Wars sells. So do any number of superhero movies. They're not any less fantasies, and in the visual medium, what is the difference between a story sourced from comics vs. a series of novels?

WoT has just the right blend of politics and magic and epic world-ending evil to work, I think. Not to mention a chance to have ethnic and gender diversity without having to go against the books at all.

In the right hands, WoT can be a great show. There's a lot of needless side-stories that can be cut, but the core story works, and tweak a few things and it is both thematically rich and entertaining enough to work as an 8 season show.

It seems to be the case with TV more than film that r-rated works but that's a sample size of GOT. Other non r-rated fantasy shows haven't set ratings alight of late on TV.

That said you don't need nudity and swearing to be "adult" as shows like Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and the Americans have proven. It all depends on the material - it's not like HBO had to "HBO" ASOIAF much to get the content they like but maybe they wouldn't have done this with LOTR.

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1 hour ago, red snow said:

It seems to be the case with TV more than film that r-rated works but that's a sample size of GOT. Other non r-rated fantasy shows haven't set ratings alight of late on TV.

But those shows *also* have poorer production values and acting talent. It is not at all clear to me that nudity is the reason GoT is a success. It has a solid story with solid characters being played by a great cast of actors. That they disrobe from time to time I'm sure attracts some viewers but to write off the entirety of its success to that seems absurd to me.

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1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

But those shows *also* have poorer production values and acting talent. It is not at all clear to me that nudity is the reason GoT is a success. It has a solid story with solid characters being played by a great cast of actors. That they disrobe from time to time I'm sure attracts some viewers but to write off the entirety of its success to that seems absurd to me.

I agree. None of the other recent fantasy shows have come from a big channel willing to spend a lot of money.

But if you are an unimaginative and safe TV producer - you'd look at GOT and try and replicate everything that show has. Why risk missing out one aspect for fear of it failing?

Yes, it's absurd but it's entirely plausible. It would be absurd to think that it's just the sex and violence that makes GOT work but I doubt anyone would risk that - unless they were doing so to mask budget deficits.

If you take Walking Dead which is also mega successful and in the science fiction and fantasy genre and compare it with GOT then it seems the formula is actually violence/gore/bad things happening and shock deaths. The nudity really isn't necessary. So I'd be far more concerned adapting WOT if there weren't shock deaths of major characters and bad things happening to your protagonist by antagonists that excel at being nasty. It's still safer to stick to mimicking GOT as closely as possible though.

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1 hour ago, fionwe1987 said:

But those shows *also* have poorer production values and acting talent. It is not at all clear to me that nudity is the reason GoT is a success. It has a solid story with solid characters being played by a great cast of actors. That they disrobe from time to time I'm sure attracts some viewers but to write off the entirety of its success to that seems absurd to me.

I know many people who refuse to watch GoT because of the nudity.  I don’t know anyone who watches because of the nudity.

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To spare replying to everyone, couple of thoughts...

 

1. In the world of fantasy, WOT is as mainstream as you get. If I am not wrong, the numbers WOT pulled, without adaptation, are rather respectable. IIRC, the current estimate is around 100 million copies sold. And, before 2011 and GoT, ASOIAF had, what, 2/3 million copies sold per book. WoT has 5/6? So, yes, it is mainstream. It is well known in the world of fantasy. It has a solid base.

2. Will the base be enlarged? This is a tricky question. We have "Legend of the Seeker" that didn't expand its viewership, and "Game of Thrones" that sold itself with interesting premise. The marketing here will have to be incredibly smart. The WoT is as fantastical as LOTR or HP, but has drama and politics that sometimes match GoT. It is far richer in scope and it will provide diverse cast in various roles to shine, which will be quite the news for the genre, given the Tolkien's and Martin's Universes are mostly white. 

3. As for nudity, let we also be honest about GoT nudity. It caused just as many problems for the producers. People were not thinking seriously about GoT with the excess of nudity. HBO and producers toned it down and in return, GoT became n.1 show or both critics and audience. Certainly, there are other factors, but nudity is not something that will surely get you viewership. As for WoT, there are enough nude women and men to flaunt their body parts around, but as was said, with many fantasy series being successful without nudity like LOTR, HP, MCU, SW etc. one can argue that it will not be essential for the show's success.

4. To be clear, Jackson and LOTR opened the door for high fantasy series. The moment ROTK won 11 Oscars and became 2nd movie to garner more than $1 billion on box offices worldwide, authors started wondering who is next. On big screen, we had Lewis and Pullman;s work being adapted and on TV, there was Goodkind. And then we got GoT. But, just like GoT wouldn't happen without LOTR, WoT wouldn't happen without GoT. The story of WoT movie rights is quite long and until recently, rather unsuccessful. So, just like GoT had to reference to LOTR, it is normal to expect that WoT will reference to ASOIAF/GoT.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, red snow said:

But if you are an unimaginative and safe TV producer - you'd look at GOT and try and replicate everything that show has. Why risk missing out one aspect for fear of it failing?

Because you're then left with clones of these other shows. TV has moved from formulaic repeat stories. The biggest TV successes, critically and commercially, are shows that try new things, and create a visual language and storytelling style strong enough to entrench a fanbase quickly, who then increase viewership by word of mouth.

Frankly, I think WoT has a unique selling point already: female characters. IF they get a sensible showrunner who discards the crappier aspects of RJ's female characterization and keeps the large variety of women in diverse roles in the story, they'll have something unique.

Frankly, I think a clever showrunner will capitalize on the base material to make the story speak more strongly to the current moment. A show set in a matriarchal world is not at all something any other tentpole epic fantasy series can offer, and rather than copying the nudity and exploitative nonsense of GoT, they'd be smart to distinguish WoT by having plenty of female characters who're not raped, sexually objectified, etc.

Edited by fionwe1987

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rhom said:

I know many people who refuse to watch GoT because of the nudity.  I don’t know anyone who watches because of the nudity.

 

You aren't really the target demographic, nor are people who will actually refuse to watch a show because of nudity in the year 2018. This was very clearly a show that was designed with the 18-29 year old male demographic in mind. It's a great story and a well made show, which enabled it to crossover to the masses. But if you think the decision to have a bunch of hot naked women throughout the show was made on a whim, and if you think that decision didn't draw buzz in those circles, you're out of your mind. This was a show that needed big ratings to justify its existence, and tapping into selling sex and shock backed up by a great story after the initial buzz wore off.

Edited by sperry

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1 hour ago, Risto said:

It is far richer in scope and it will provide diverse cast in various roles to shine, which will be quite the news for the genre, given the Tolkien's and Martin's Universes are mostly white.

True. But there aren't that many non-white characters in WoT. The Sea Folk look like Asian Indians – Sharans and some of the Seanchan (Tuon) resemble black Africans. Altarans are described as "olive-skinned" and Domani as "coppery-skinned", but I believe they are still white. Or maybe Domani and Saldaeans (Faile) should be played by Middle Eastern looking actors?

Semirhage was dark-skinned – what about the other Forsaken?

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1 minute ago, Jussi said:

True. But there aren't that many non-white characters in WoT. The Sea Folk look like Asian Indians – Sharans and some of the Seanchan (Tuon) resemble black Africans. Altarans are described as "olive-skinned" and Domani as "coppery-skinned", but I believe they are still white. Or maybe Domani and Saldaeans (Faile) should be played by Middle Eastern looking actors?

Semirhage was dark-skinned – what about the other Forsaken?

People from Tear also range from very dark skinned to fair skinned. RJ has said Lan should be imagined as looking Tibetan, and Malkier's physical geography matches Tibet quite well. There seems to be a lot of Japanese influence to Shienar, and it wouldn't be weird at all to have Japanese actors playing Agelmar and Ingtar and the like,

More, the first Queen of Andor is said to have looked as dark as the Sea Folk, so you can easily blind cast the Andoran nobility and stay within what the books say. Domani are certainly not described as White, and Saldeans aren't described as White either.

Among the Forsaken, Rahvin is also described as dark skinned, and Balthamel as brown-skinned. While Graendal, Mesaana and probably Lanfear are described as White, there's enough ambiguity about the others that no one would bat an eyelid at them being cast as whatever.

Frankly, the history of WoT, where a global civilization is fragmented and people move all over makes it very easy to blind cast for most roles and I hope the producers do so.

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Considering the Aiel look like Scandinavians, but live in a desert, you can easily turn all stereotypes and conventions on their heads if you want.

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50 minutes ago, Corvinus said:

Considering the Aiel look like Scandinavians, but live in a desert, you can easily turn all stereotypes and conventions on their heads if you want.

Aren't the Aiel supposed to look Irish?

RJ buried some hints as to how they look so homogenous btw. There are tribes described in Seanchan whose behavior seems very Aiel like, but they're described as dark skinned. It looks like the Aiel in the Waste are only a subset of the global population of people who followed the Way of the Leaf. They're the bunch that survived as a cohesive group and reached a location that was geographically isolated enough to make their genetics get more concentrated.

But yeah, you can have any nation look like anything you want. It'd make sense for there to be strong racial intermixing in WoT anyway, and there does seem to be good evidence for it. Ishara's direct descendants look nothing like here, and while Berelain can be said to look somewhat racially similar to Artur Hawkwing, his descendants in Seanchan absolutely do not. Further, the other Aiel branch we know of, the Amayar, look nothing like the Waste Aiel. So yeah, race has very little geographic meaning in WoT, and definitely very little cultural significance either.

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8 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

RJ has said Lan should be imagined as looking Tibetan

Thanks. Lan has blue eyes, so I never thought he looks Tibetan.

I'm not a WoT expert, but I don't remember Andoran nobility being described as dark-skinned. Many of them have blue eyes or blond hair. There is a chapter in The Path of Daggers, when the rebel Aes Sedai army was in northern Murandy, and Egwene was meeting representatives of both Andoran and Murandian nobility. If I remember correctly, Murandian nobles were dark-haired and had brown eyes, but Andoran nobles had more "Northern European" look. I might be completely wrong on this.

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10 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

Aren't the Aiel supposed to look Irish?

RJ buried some hints as to how they look so homogenous btw. There are tribes described in Seanchan whose behavior seems very Aiel like, but they're described as dark skinned. It looks like the Aiel in the Waste are only a subset of the global population of people who followed the Way of the Leaf. They're the bunch that survived as a cohesive group and reached a location that was geographically isolated enough to make their genetics get more concentrated.

But yeah, you can have any nation look like anything you want. It'd make sense for there to be strong racial intermixing in WoT anyway, and there does seem to be good evidence for it. Ishara's direct descendants look nothing like here, and while Berelain can be said to look somewhat racially similar to Artur Hawkwing, his descendants in Seanchan absolutely do not. Further, the other Aiel branch we know of, the Amayar, look nothing like the Waste Aiel. So yeah, race has very little geographic meaning in WoT, and definitely very little cultural significance either.

I always assumed they looked Scandinavian, but with the tan skinned of someone living their lives in a desert, because they are all described as being tall, and they tend to have blue/green/gray eyes, and reddish or blonde hair.

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12 hours ago, Corvinus said:

Considering the Aiel look like Scandinavians, but live in a desert, you can easily turn all stereotypes and conventions on their heads if you want.

While reading WOT, I was under impression that you can do it with almost everyone... And while some parallels work, just like with GRRM's work, it's never 1-on-1 type of parallels. Only here, it is more of amalgamation of various cultures and nations.

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