It’s been just a few weeks since we got our first look at still images from Amazon’s forthcoming The Wheel of Time series, adapted from the late Robert Jordan‘s bestselling 14-book series of epic fantasy novels. And now we have the first official teaser trailer. Count several Ars staffers among the many fans of Jordan’s books who have been eagerly following the years-long development of the series. From what we’ve seen, it looks like showrunner Rafe Judkins (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) has gotten the overall look and feel of the books exactly right. Fans should be pleased.
As I’ve written previously, the TV series will center on Moiraine (played by Oscar-nominee Rosamund Pike), a member of a powerful, all-woman organization called the Aes Sedai. Magic, known as the One Power, is divided into male (saidin) and female (saidar) flavors. The latter is the province of the Aes Sedai. Long ago, a great evil called the Dark One caused the saidin to become tainted, such that most men who show an ability to channel that magic go mad. It’s the job of the Aes Sedai to track down such men and strip them of their abilities—a process known as “gentling” that, unfortunately, is often anything but. There is also an ancient prophecy concerning the Dragon Reborn: the reincarnation of a person who will save or destroy humanity.
Given the epic scope of the novels, it’s no surprise that the TV series boasts a sprawling cast. In addition to Pike, Josha Stradowski stars as Rand al’Thor, while Marcus Rutherford plays apprentice blacksmith and dream-walker Perrin Aybara. Zoë Robins plays healer Nynaeve al’Meara, and Madeleine Madden plays Egwene al’Vere. Barney Harris plays series comic relief Matrim Cauthon. Hammed Animashaun has been cast as Loail, a close friend to Perrin and Rand al’Thor. Alexandre Willaume portrays Thom Merrilin, a “gleeman and adventurer”—basically a traveling bard—while Johann Myers plays the villainous Padan Fain, and Alvaro Morte plays Logain.
As in the book, Pike’s Moiraine will befriend a group of five young people—Egwene, Nynaeve, Rand, Mat, and Perrin—whose small village has been attacked by monsters called Trollocs. The two women (Egwene and Nynaeve) show some promise as future members of the Aes Sedai. But Moiraine also suspects one of the young men might be the Dragon Reborn.
This teaser trailer introduces the Aes Sedai, opening with a voiceover by Pike as brief scenes from the series flash by in rapid succession. “The wheel of time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend,” Pike intones. “The power inside you, all over the world—there are different names for it, but it’s one thing, one power. And women who can touch it, we protect the world.”
We catch tantalizing glimpses of most of the main players, with ominous warnings of the coming of the Dark One and a final battle. And yes, that’s Michael McElhatton, aka Game of Thrones‘ Roose Bolton, waxing philosophical as Tam al’Thor, blademaster and adoptive father of Rand. “No matter what happens, what pain we face, what heartbreak, the wheel keeps turning,” he says.
Ars staffers’ verdict: We are cautiously optimistic! The casting is spot-on, the magic looks good, and we really like the overall look of the series, even if the CGI isn’t quite up to Game of Thrones standards. (Give it time. Amazon likely wants to make sure the show is a hit before pouring money into film-quality CGI.) And as Ars Senior Technology Reporter Andrew Cunningham noted, “Congrats to the costuming/makeup team and Rosamund Pike for figuring out WTF an ‘ageless face’ is supposed to look like. They nailed it.”
The Wheel of Time premieres on Amazon Prime on November 19, 2021. We’ll also be getting a separate Wheel of Time film trilogy focusing on events in Jordan’s fictional world before the events of the books.
Listing image by YouTube/Amazon Prime
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