Fans of the 14-book epic fantasy Wheel of Time series are in for a treat, as big news has been announced today. Variety reports that the Wheel of Time series finally has a production studio. Not only that, it also has a lead writer and an executive producer.
The Wheel of Time series was started by Robert Jordan in 1990 and finished after his death by Brandon Sanderson in 2007. The television adaptation looks to tackle the first book in the series, The Eye of the World.
Who’s Involved in the Wheel of Time Television Adaptation?
The executive production team consists of Rafe Judkins, Ted Field, Mike Weber, Darren Lemke, Rick Selvage, Larry Mondragon, and Harriet McDougal.
Rafe Judkins was also named as the lead writer, which is great news for fans. Judkins has worked on numerous television series, including NBC’s Chuck, ABC’s Agents of Shield, and Netflix’s Hemlock Grove. Harriet McDougal is Robert Jordan’s widow, and she has overseen rights management since her husband’s passing.
The production studio that the project is attached to is Sony Pictures Television, with Red Eagle Entertainment and Radar Pictures collaborating.
The series, which some have called tailor-made for a television adaptation, has been mired in a series of kerfluffles over production rights. The series has been considered to be in development in some way or another since 2000, but most projects have never made it off the ground.
Red Eagle Entertainment’s Involvement
In February of 2015, a pilot was actually broadcast by Red Eagle Entertainment on FXX in the middle of the night at 1:30 a.m., EST. The move was a last-ditch effort by Red Eagle to maintain the production rights for The Wheel of Time. Fans skewered the pilot, although many thought that the casting of Billy Zane as the primary antagonist was brilliantly demented. Harriot McDougal, however, called it an unauthorized production and issued a statement through Tor, the publishers for the Wheel of Time series, that read in part as follows.
“It was made without my knowledge or cooperation. I never saw the script. No one associated with Bandersnatch Group, the successor-in-interest to James O. Rigney, was aware of this.
“I see no mention of Universal in the ‘pilot’. Nor, I repeat, was Bandersnatch, or Robert Jordan’s estate, informed of this in any way.
“I am dumbfounded by this occurrence, and am taking steps to prevent its reoccurrence.”
This makes fans hesitant as to Red Eagle’s attachment to the current project. Responses to the announcement on the Wheel of Time fan site Dragonmount are skeptical. However, considering that there was a protracted legal battle concerning the rights and money attached, it’s more than likely that this is a condition of the undisclosed settlement. After all, having their name attached to the project without any actual input will give them a percentage of the revenue that the television adaptation is sure to bring in.
The Eye of the World Story
For those unfamiliar with the story behind the Wheel ofTime, the 14 books follows the adventures of five youths from a sleepy town as they find out that they are at the center of an ancient prophecy. As they venture out of their small village, they are thrust into a battle that threatens their lives and the lives of everyone they know and love. What’s more, the very fabric of existence and reality rests on their shoulders as well. The Eye of the World tells the story of how the three young men and two young women begin to discover their extraordinary gifts and the direction their life will take them.
Or as Robert Jordan might write, “The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. This is not the beginning, but it is a beginning.”