All the Changes Coming to The Wheel of Time Television Series, So Far!
Wheel of Time fans have shifted between elation and concern, and back, for two years, with every new piece of news about the first season of The Wheel of Time television series. Understanding such fan excitement and trepidation, Rafe Judkins, the showrunner and devoted Wheel of Time fan himself, has answered many questions about what fans can expect to change and stay the same. Specific to the changes, during JordanCon in April of this year, he joined a panel about the show, and explained why some changes were necessary.
If my job is protect the spine and the heart of what's there, sometimes that is changing things, because sometimes if you did them exactly as they were, a new audience to it wouldn't actually understand the heart of what's there because a lot of it's expressed inside someone's head or it's expressed by a character that gets a POV chapter in a way that we can't really do on television.
With that in mind, here are all the announced changes so far, from the books to the television series. There will be spoilers, below.
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1. Fewer stops along the journey from Emond's Field to The Eye of the World, and fewer cuts than most fans might think
Rand and Mat will not be making every stop on the road to Caemlyn. During an AMA on Instagram in March of this year, Rafe Judkins wrote:
The hardest thing is the physicality of production. In the first book alone they go to more than 20 villages and cities. To try to do that is physically impossible for the show, so most of the work we [do] in the room is geographical, figuring how to condense the story and move it through places we can physically create.
Later in the same Instagram AMA, Rafe gave insight into his initial answer.
I genuinely think we are cutting less than most people think. When I see people ask questions like “are you cutting Min?” It blows my mind. I don’t know how you do an adaptation without some of these characters. I think it’ll be more of the smaller stories you’ll miss. We can’t have Rand and May [sic] travel to many many inns on their travels across the countryside for instance. It’s just not producible. So that will be more of what you miss I think, and the books always exist to read for that
2. The show will include "off-camera" scenes, chopped scenes, and rearranging of scenes from the books
During a Twitter Q&A in 2018, Rafe answered a question about using "off-camera" scenes from the books to "progress the story in a fresh way" by stating:
Ding ding ding. This is a big part of things I want to add.
Beyond "off-camera" scenes, Rafe also suggested they may be rearranging the order of events to increase the fluidity of the story:
There will be lots of chopping and rejiggering to make the story as fluid as possible on TV.
For example, we know scenes from "The Eye of the World" will be used in future seasons, according to Rafe's answer to a fan:
[...] there are already aspects of EoTW that I plan to use in different seasons
What do you think will be taken from The Eye of the World and used in future seasons? Leave a comment!
Recently, Wheel of Time fans and YouTubers, Daniel Greene and Matt Hatch, discussed what changes should and should not take place in order for the show to succeed. Do you agree?
3. New characters, but only as combinations of characters or individuals inspired by characters in the books
Rafe clarified a significant annoyance for some fans: the idea that the television series will introduce new characters, even though thousands of named characters already exist in the books. During that same AMA, Rafe explained:
Anyone “new” is inspired by characters in the books or a number of characters combined. If we paid to cast all speaking roles in the book we could only afford to have a radio play
Adding more clarity to the above answer, he replied as follows regarding a question about merging Min, Aviendha, and Elayne:
Girl you crazy, I’m not going to [combine] huge characters like that. Maybe sometimes a minor character folded into a more major one to make better use of our cast but nothing nutso
One known change as it relates to a character's name, is Alanna's warder Owein. In the show, that character is being played by Taylor Napier who has been given the name Maksim, making him the first originally named character on the show. When asked why the character was named Maksim instead of Owein, Rafe replied on Twitter:
If a name sounds literally exactly the same as someone else’s we will change, but otherwise try to keep the same. Yara drove me crazy every time
Apparently, Owein was too close to the name of Thom's nephew, Owyn.
Jon from the WoT Up! YouTube Channel did a full walk-through discussion of all the answers Rafe gave during an AMA on Instagram.
4. The first season will include an Aiel, other than Rand, that will shock us
When asked whether we would have to wait until the second season to "see any Aiel," Rafe replied:
Nope. And the one you see will shock you. Haha. Amazon shouldn’t let me be on here when I’ve been cooped up for a week.
5. Rand's romantic sub-plots will not remain the same
Rafe was unequivocal in his reply to a question about Rand's romances whether it would remain the same, where he likes one girl at first but ends up with three in the end:
Let’s just say I’m much more interested in polyamory than polygamy. And maybe give me a little more credit than assuming I’m gonna gut that entire story and ruin everything off a one word answer? ;)
Will there be other big changes to what the most renowned characters of The Wheel of Time do? Nae'blis posted two videos that tackle this idea. Are you on board with these changes?
Did you enjoy that? Then, watch three more things Nae'blis would change.
6. The latter middle section of the books will be condensed
After repeated questions about how he will condense the books into seasons and episodes, during the 2018 Twitter Q&A, Rafe replied:
I mean let's all be honest, I'm gonna be condensing in the latter middle section of books ;)
No shock here.
7. Logain's storyline will be expanded
That's right, more Logain! About this change, Rafe answered in a 2018 Twitter Q&A:
I really like Logain and plan to not only retain, but expand, his role in series.
If you are curious about how those expanded changes may take shape for Season 1, watch Geekyeri's Block 2, Episodes 3&4, breakdown, which highlights Alvaro Morte's initial Prague timeline.
EVERYTHING I know about Block 2 of The Wheel of Time on Prime
Once you've watched this one, catch our Brown Ajah Detective breaking down everything she knows about Block 1 & Block 3!
8. Fain's "true-self" will be disguised more in the television series than in his introduction in the book
There was no doubt in Rafe's answer to a fan's inquiry as to whether he planned to disguise Fain's "true-self" from viewers who had not read the books.
Someone needs to ask Rafe if he has adapted Paitr straight from books.