Fans of author Robert Jordan's literary world were given a chance to see the journey that a Heron-Mark Blade made from design to build to appearing on set to finally make its way in front of the camera. In addition, showrunner Rafe Judkins (Chuck, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) offered to answer ten questions about the production and he more than kept his promise. Here's a look at some of the highlights, with Judkins' tweets responses:
For those of you looking forward to seeing Moiraine's staff… sorry? "We're approaching this as an adaptation of the entire series, not just each book individually, so hopefully Season One will feel more like the entire book series of Wheel of Time than it does like Eye of the World. With that in mind — no Moiraine staff. Let chaos ensue, ha."
The weapons will be as individualistic as those who wield them. "You can not even imagine the number of hours that goes into each person's weapon. I was in at least 20 meetings about the dagger that Egwene has, and that's not even a major weapon in the books. There's a whole team of people (and we have a few BIG book fans on the props team)… looking at every item held by an actor on the show. I'd be shocked if less than 10,000 woman/man hours were spent on the design and creation of the Heron Mark sword"
On costume inspirations and variations in armor. "Yes. Our costume team, lead by the amazing Isis Mussenden, started by building a map of the entire Wheel of Time world, carving out what each nation/culture looked like to make sure they're differentiated (and honoring what's in the books) and then diving back into Two Rivers"
Fighting styles will vary depending on weapon and culture. "We have a fight time and swordmaster on the show who has built a fighting style unique to each weapon and culture. So, if you see a Borderlander fight with a heron mark blade it may feel different than a Seanchan. That's merely hypothetical of course ;)" Later on in the Q&A, Judkins reassures another fan that there will be "many, many different styles" of fighting and weaponry.
When viewers hear the music, they'll know it's 'The Wheel of Time." "This is not music from the show itself. When it is, I'll make sure you know it, and it will hopefully feel very uniquely "Wheel of Time" :)"
Fans can definitely look forward to looks behind the scenes. "Of course! An amazing team has been picking up as much as they can of the process so that after the show's aired you can see all the work and love that went into creating these details large and small :)"
When it comes to the sets and locations, viewers should expect a mix of the familiar and the new. "When the books came out they felt so blazingly fresh and different and new, so we want that same thing to be true of the show, and if you see us leaning away from certain elements in the books, often times it's because audiences have now seen them before! Unfortunately sometimes even in cases where the book-to-screen adaptations are from books that cribbed it from WoT! ha"
For Judkins, it was always about going as "real" as possible with production. "I want things to be as real as possible, so in any place that we possibly can, we've built things instead of trusting to effects. Our show could be all green screen, all CGI, but I think you'll be surprised by how much of it was actually built, and touched and held by our actors'
Even when the series diverges from the books, it never strays too far from the source. "What's really important to me is that when we're diverging from the books, that we KNOW we're doing it. So, every piece of production design from shoes to swords to the White Tower itself begins with pages of quotes from the books about that place/thing… The designer then takes it from there to build something that makes sense in our world, with our production concerns, our cast, our aesthetic, etc. But at the end of the day, it all stems from that first document and it's something we can always go back to"
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Here's a look back at an audio preview that was released at the end of October, teasing the action to come with a very important question:
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Amazon Prime's The Wheel of Time stars Rosamund Pike as Moiraine, Josha Stradowski as Rand al'Thor, Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara, Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al'Meara, Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon, Madeleine Madden as Egwene al'Vere, Daniel Henney as al'Lan Mandragoran, Michael McElhatton as Tam al'Thor, Álvaro Morte as Logain Ablar, Hammed Animashaun as Loial, Alexandre Willaume as Thom Merrilin, Johann Myers as Padan Fain, Jennifer Cheon Garcia as Leane Sharif, Priyanka Bose as Alanna Mosvani, Emmanuel Imani as Ihvon, and Taylor Napier as Maksim.
Recent additions to the cast include Lolita Chakrabarti as Marin Al'Vere, Michael Tuahine as Bran Al'Vere, David Sterne as Cenn Buie, Christopher Sciueref as Abell Cauthon, Juliet Howland as Natti Cauthon, Mandi Symonds as Daise Conger, Abdul Salis as Eamon, Stuart Graham as Geofram, Pasha Bocarie as Master Grinwell, Jennifer Preston as Mistress Grinwell, Izuka Hoyle as Dana, Darren Clarke as Basel Gill, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Illa, Narinder Samra as Raen, Daryl McCormack as Aram, Sophie Okonedo as Siuan Sanche, Kae Alexander as Min, Clare Perkins as Kerene, Peter Franzen as Stepin, and Kate Fleetwood as Liandrin.
Uta Briesewitz (Westworld) is set to direct the first two episodes. Isis Mussenden is attached to the project at costume designer, with Karen E. Goulekas serving as the visual effects supervisor. Amazon Prime's The Wheel of Time is executive produced by showrunner Rafe Judkins (Chuck, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), alongside Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon of Red Eagle Entertainment, Ted Field and Mike Weber of Radar Pictures and Darren Lemke. Harriet McDougal serves as a consulting producer. Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios, The Wheel of Time will launch in over 200 countries and territories.