‘Wheel of Time’ TV Series Lands at Sony

Wheel of TIme TV Series
Tor Books

The long-gestating “Wheel of Time” TV series adaptation is moving forward with Sony Pictures Television.

The series will be based on the high fantasy novels written by Robert Jordan, the pen name of James O. Rigney Jr. There are 14 novels in total, beginning with “The Eye of the World” in 1990 and concluding with “A Memory of Light,” which was finished by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007. They follow the quest to find the Dragon Reborn, who it is said will help unite forces to combat The Dark One.

Sony will produce along with Red Eagle Entertainment and Radar Pictures. Rafe Judkins is attached to write and executive produce. Judkins previously worked on shows such as ABC’s “Agents of SHIELD,” the Netflix series “Hemlock Grove,” and the NBC series “Chuck.” Red Eagle partners Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon will executive produce along with Radar’s Ted Field and Mike Weber. Darren Lemke will also executive produce, with Jordan’s widow Harriet McDougal serving as consulting producer.

This is the first news on the series since April of last year, when McDougal shared an update on the planned adaptation online. “Wanted to share with you exciting news about ‘The Wheel of Time,’” she wrote on Google+. “Legal issues have been resolved. ‘The Wheel of Time’ will become a cutting edge TV series! I couldn’t be more pleased. Look for the official announcement coming soon from a major studio.”

An adaptation of “The Wheel of Time” novels has been in development in one form or another going back as far as 2000, but the projects mostly never made it past that stage. However, a pilot episode called “Winter Dragon” aired on FXX back in February 2015 starring Max Ryan and Billy Zane. It aired at 1:30 a.m. with no prior publicity. After the episode aired, McDougal released a statement saying she had no knowledge of it being produced.

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  1. Paul says:

    OK this doesn’t really provide any new pertinent info. How about some actors, writers, projected shows per season. How about a damn release date? I’d settle for the year. 2018? 2019? WHEN???

  2. asfdasdfasdf says:

    I just want to know who Thom will be

  3. RJtook2long2get2thepoint says:

    Terry Goodkind FTW. WoT series suuuuuuuuuuucks!!

  4. Paul J Graham says:

    Casting and acting ability will be paramount! Put a step wrong on casting and everything is going to fail…especially with the avid fans of this series. I would love to see James Callis be part of this project.

  5. Glenn Edgar says:

    I thought book 5 was like that, but overall I loved the series, and have always wondered how this would translate to TV. Even when he was dying he was working on notes to complete the series. I know a lot of critics looked at the series as a money grab, but I am pretty sure he didn’t think he could take the money with him. I think he was dedicated to the series. Not many authors who knew they were dying would have been so dedicated. I can’t wait to see it and hope Sony does it justice.

  6. mjweir0317 says:

    It kind of surprises me no one has tried to turn the Pern stuff into something. It seems kind of tailor made for the family friendly crowd. And there is a ton of it. Tech has caught up enough to do it right.

    As to the Wheel of Time, after they cut out the 3 books that seem like Jordan wrote them for the word-count, I’d be up for it. I guess… maybe… or not.

  7. Red Eagle?
    Why the hell are they still involved?

  8. Mason says:

    Honestly, Red Eagle shouldn’t even be allowed in the vicinity of the production set, and do any of you loyal fans have any idea where I can find more information on this?

  9. Espen says:

    Hmm…i got no faith in this project what so ever, but if they pull it off it would be AMAZING. If the Zane trailer has anything to do with this project i will not even give it a second of my time. That was pure S***, they need to have the same budget as GOT. If its any less, it will look like Shannara and be a b-side production and it will suck.

  10. Sequoyah Stone says:

    I am a long time fan of the series, and have always wished to see it made into a television or movie series. That being said, this is not Harry Potter. It’s not Hunger Games, it’s not Game of Thrones. It’s an established series with its own lore, its own following, and a very clear set story. You can’t simply pump out episodes by the ton and expect them to work. Many, many people are expecting great things from this, and if those things don’t happen, you’ve as much chance of taking a Balefire to the face and surviving.

    • D.J says:

      I am also a long time fan and started reading this series in 99 I have just started it again for the fourth time still awesome and I will read every word of it and enjoy it as much as the first time through, I am all for a tv series as long as they do it justice and cover everything as well as Jordan did so in saying I look forward to this.

  11. I am a fan of the books, the narrative structure is awesome and lends itself well to the sort of show that Game of Thrones turned out to be, the prose is very visual and the fact that all hell breaks loose sort of first hundred pages would be the perfect thing to have a production team get their feet under them.

    This is the sort of material that would need to be nurtured though.

    I’m just not sure former survivor contestant Rafe Judkins is of the same caliber as accomplished modern author David Benioff whose book the 25th hour was very competently developed for the screen by the author.

    I just don’t think knocking out a few episodes of agents of shield prepares you for a project of this level of complexity.

    The person handling this show needs to live and breathe it or it will fail.

    Every detail needs to be perfect or not be there at all.

    So congratulations to him, more power to him and I wish him every success. I also hope that he realizes the pitfalls and extremities of what he’s taken on. The market for this sort of show is not full of kind people who will accept a poor adaptation.

    Rafe when it gets hard just remember that you are a flame in the void.

  12. Draco says:

    What a joke… this is going to flop. The producers are a bunch of yahoos.

  13. Lynn Harding says:

    I will be very happy if they don’t turn this into a smut fest like GOT which I could not watch. This was the best concept for a Fantasy series since Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

    • Derek says:

      The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Is my favorite series and needs a tv show.

    • Actually GoT toned down the sexuality. Get your facts straight before speaking in the future.

      • trouty42 says:

        Meh. I try to save my self righteous indignity for actual, real life rape.

      • Sean Smedbron says:

        That’s not true at all. In fact the show deserves its reputation for being kinda rappey. First Danny’s wedding to Khal Drogo. In the books there is a great deal of corision before hand, but there is also explicit consent. The show neglects this fact. Khal Drogo never forcefully raped her, although the show would have you beleive elswise. Another prominent one is the Cerci Jamie rape after the death of Twyin (or Jeffery, can’t remember precisely).
        Now at this point in the books Cerci has fully embraced her hedonism, while Jamie in fact after travelling with Briane has started to regret his desicions and has rededicated himself to his Kings Guard oaths. It is Cerci that initiates and it is Jamie that is initially hesitant. Again a morally grey but consentiual sex scene is turned into a rape.

        Let’s not even mention the Sansa thing. That didn’t even occur in the source material at all. Perhaps before putting down others it is you who should check their facts.

    • Audun Wold says:

      They didn’t “turn” GOT into at smutfest. The story itself contains a lot of sexual content. If you were able to read the book, I can’t see how you could not manage to watch the tv series.

      • sam says:

        Rape and smut are VERY different things. to even suggest they are similar is to insult all rape victims.

  14. mehnitesh says:

    Ahhh!

    This is my favorite book series. Please be more GoT than *shudder* Shannara or sword of truth for the Tv adaptation.

    Err, is this the same production company as that Winter Dragon pilot though?

  15. Craig says:

    I’m glad someone caught this – come on Joe, edit this.

  16. me says:

    The Eye of the World /facepalm

  17. Nick says:

    For the live of God please let this be BS. Red eagle already screwed up with WOT. I hope they get no where near the TV series again!

  18. Adrian says:

    The 1st book is called “Eye of The World” not “Eye of The Universe”.
    Googling is not hard folks.

    • aegisrose says:

      it’s 4/20… maybe they were celebrating it when they posted this? Srsly though, I’m PETRIFIED by this news. Did they also do that awful 1:30am aired pilot from before that was basically a tactic to keep their contract?

  19. Gail says:

    Eye of the Universe? Seriously? Should do better research. It’s The Eye of the World (reading that book right now.)

  20. Ron Lambert says:

    All is ask if for them to just follow the story! It’s perfect as it it! There is NO reason to mess with it!

  21. Stan says:

    Really, dude? “Eye of the Universe”? It’s sad to see this level of “journalism” accepted at Variety. Clearly they value quantity over quality.

  22. Eric B says:

    Instead of eye of the universe, it’s actually Eye of the World… geez how hard is it to get the name of the first book right? Oh, and you failed to mention the prequel, New Spring!

  23. Richard Ommundsen says:

    The first book was called The Eye Of The World. Not The Eye Of The Universe.

  24. Well you know what RuPaul says: “Don’t f..k it up”. Stick to the books and cast correctly.

  25. WOT FAN says:

    Sorry, you need to check your sources. Red Eagle Entertainment was the previous rights owner. Harriet McDougal (Rigney’s widow and heir to writing estate) went to extreme pains to get rid of that toxic organization. Fan’s have been told they are no longer involved. Harriet settled their mutual lawsuits (we are assuming paid large sums of cash) to get rid of them for good.

    • Anthony Pero says:

      That’s not the way this works. Because RE produced that “pilot”, and aired it in wide distribution within the time frame specified in the initial contract, they are “exec producers” until the end of time. That doesn’t mean they will be involved in the production. They won’t be. THAT’S what the settlement was about. Getting CONTROL back. Which she did. But RE will still get producer credits and royalties until the end of time.

      Joss Whedon has a very similar situation happen with the rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer back before the TV show. That’s why the Kuzui siblings got listed as producers on the TV show… they funded the initial script that eventually became the crappy movie in 1992. They got rights to the franchise in perpetuity, which got negotiated down later. But they still make money every time an episode of Buffy airs in syndication, a show they had absolutely no input in. Same situation here. No creative input for RE, just producer credits rolling into their bank account. That’s not really a problem, they’ve paid multiple millions of dollars to the Rigney estate over the past 17 years, with exactly zero return. They may not even break even in the long run.

    • aegisrose says:

      soooo are the toxic red eagles involved or not? As of 2015 i thought they had been fried after their horrid pilot fiasco. What’s happening?? /cry

    • warcry1975 says:

      There’s a very good chance part of the legal settlement was that Red Eagle gets to remain as Exec Producers (without actually doing anything related to the production). Basically, it just means they get a cut of the profits.

      This is just speculation, mind you, but that’s what I would guess is going on.

      • aegisrose says:

        How can we discern which company is involved to what degree? Does it even matter? I think us, as fans, are basically powerless here. I’m feeling pretty devasted that this will get boned.

      • Nick says:

        F**** those guys. That pilot episode was an atrocety. Complete garbage. If they even get a sniff of the new production I’ll be pissed.

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