Amazon has given a series order to an adaptation of Robert Jordan‘s high fantasy novel series, The Wheel Of Time. There are fourteen novels in total in the series, beginning with The Eye Of The Universe in 1990 and concluding with A Memory Of Light in 2007. Combined, the books have sold over 90 million copies worldwide.
The story is set in a world where magic exists, but only women can use it. We follow Moiraine – a member of the influential female organisation called the Aes Sedai – as she embarks on an epic, world-spanning journey with five young men and women, one of whom Moiraine believes is the reincarnation of an incredibly powerful individual, who prophecies say will either destroy humanity or save it.
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D writer Rafe Judkins will adapt the novels and the show will launch as a one-hour series in over 200 countries on Amazon Prime Video. The adaptation has been in the works at Amazon for about a year, with Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke mentioning back in June that she had read the script over the summer and that the project was “very much alive”.
The novels have taken their time to get to screen. NBC originally optioned the rights back in 2000 but nothing came of it. Jordan then sold the TV, film, video game, and comic book rights to Red Eagle in 2004. Eleven years later, Red Eagle paid FXX to air Winter Dragon, a 22-minute ‘pilot’ for a potential Wheel Of Time series that allowed them to hold onto the rights to the project.
A solution was eventually found with the Robert Jordan Estate in 2016, allowing Amazon to purchase the rights and move ahead with the series. Salke said of the project:
“The Wheel of Time is endlessly fascinating and resonates hugely with fans as one of the best-selling global properties, and we were drawn to its timely narrative featuring powerful women at the core. We’re thrilled to extend our relationship with devotees who’ve found the book series transformative and welcome new ones by bringing it to life on Prime Video for viewers worldwide”.
Judkins added: “For so many people, including me, this book series has served as a world to escape to, to lose yourself in, to devour and inhabit completely. And I couldn’t be more honoured to be the one finally bringing that world to life on screen, for old fans to lose themselves in all over again and new fans to discover for the very first time”.
This is just the latest project by Amazon to move away from their previous model of smaller, character-driven TV and into big epic spectacles as the company reportedly searches for the next Game Of Thrones.