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New Q&A with Rafe Judkins


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Wheel of Time Showrunner Rafe Judkins did an impromptu Q&A on his Instagram today to celebrate the announcement that Amazon has officially greenlit Season 2 of the Wheel of Time.

 

 

 

In addition to confirming that Season 2 has been officially greenlit, Judkins provided some other exciting nuggets for Wheel of Time fans:

 

(1) Episodes will be 50-65 minutes in length.

 

(2) The Warders "color shifting cloaks" will not be part of the series due to the prohibitive cost of using that much CGI. (The same goes for the "ageless" appearance of the Aes Sedai.

 

(3) The Trolloc footage that was accidentally released by the German PrimeVideo account was rough and unfinished. Accordingly, "there hasn't been a first look at a Trolloc."

 

(4) In other Trolloc related news, there will be variety in the different types. We can look forward to seeing different types of Trollocs. Narg is confirmed to be in the show in addition to another Trolloc affectionately referred to as "Betty". The Trollocs will appear in Episode 1.

 

(5) Perrin has thus far been the most challenging character to adapt due to so much of Jordan's characterization coming from the blacksmith's internal monologue.

 

The full Q&A is posted here at WotSeries.com. Go check it out! Then come back here and let us know what you think!

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Probably by design. 

It's worth noting that 3 industry publications (Deadline Hollywood, Hollywood Reporter and Variety) released articles within 10 minutes of Rafe going live. To me, this is a signal that there is a new marketing push underway.

 

I would not be surprised to see a teaser (45-60 seconds) come out over the weekend or next Wednesday.

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What's the ambiguity there?  The question said, "blink twice" if the trailer is coming soon.  Rafe responded with "😳".  There's no blinking there.

 

Other outlets spinning off stories within minutes or hours of a WoT Wednesday news drop doesn't mean anything either.  Wheel of Time's social media presence has always been among the biggest of any fantasy book series.  Because it's the most popular American fantasy series of all time, and it "grew up," for lack of a better word, with the rise of the internet and the birth of social media.  It was always going to generate outsized social media buzz as the adaptation nears realization.  Those other outlets are just trying to cash in.  And they have a small set of reliable, regular social media channels to watch to be able to do it.

 

The most reliable speculation for the release date circulating now is from WoTUp, who uses the advance notice to book publishers who are going to want to push out new editions of the books in line with the release of the series, that they should be doing that in November, to suggest a Black Friday release date.  That would put the most likely date for a full-length trailer at sometime in October, or possibly as early as September, and a ~1 minute teaser fairly soon, likely June or July.  I would guess we'll get the 1 minute teaser at San Diego's Comic Con in late July, and possibly the full-length trailer at Dragoncon in early September, though that may be as late as Baltimore's Comic Con in October.  Dragoncon's kinda small for a venue to do a first trailer showing, but they may not care too much about that, as it'll be on YouTube minutes later and on Prime and other networks within days anyway.

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Posted (edited)

I agree with you about WoTUp's release date speculation. That information seems solid and tracks with other information that he's been talking about in his videos.

 

I disagree about the industry publications - that seems more like the result of a press release. Variety and Hollywood Reporter don't need to "cash in" on social media sites. They are the go to source in the industry.

 

And I think you're way off about conventions. Amazon isn't going to tie its marketing to ComicCon, DragonCon, JordanCon or any other con. They are going for a bigger, broader audience.

Edited by Elder_Haman
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Have you seen the way they operate generally?  Variety and Hollywood Reporter put out the same kind of drivel as CBR and Screen Rant and Yahoo News and the rest, at roughly the same rates.  They're just usually a little further behind and very slightly better written and edited.  They don't write those kinds of stories based on press releases.  They've just decided to start getting in on the hype.  They had pieces ready to go as quickly as they did because everybody was given a heads-up last night by @WheelofTime.

 

As for conventions, I can only go off what they've done in the past for all of their prior sci-fi/fantasy/superhero shows.  History is generally the only reliable guide to the future.

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2 hours ago, Elder_Haman said:

(4) In other Trolloc related news, there will be variety in the different types. We can look forward to seeing different types of Trollocs. Narg is confirmed to be in the show in addition to another Trolloc affectionately referred to as "Betty". The Trollocs will appear in Episode 1.

I loved that part of the Q&A. After Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I can't really forget that kind of lazy copy/paste CGI. (And all the jobs they killed by not hiring more than one real person!)

 

2 hours ago, Elder_Haman said:

(5) Perrin has thus far been the most challenging character to adapt due to so much of Jordan's characterization coming from the blacksmith's internal monologue.

This doesn't surprise me at all. It'll be interesting if/how they'll do any of his internal monologue.

 

2 hours ago, Elder_Haman said:

(2) The Warders "color shifting cloaks" will not be part of the series due to the prohibitive cost of using that much CGI. (The same goes for the "ageless" appearance of the Aes Sedai.

This is certainly a bummer. 
I was hoping for at least 1 or 2 scenes with that cloak, and the rest of the time he's hiding it with a regular cloak to blend in with a city/small town.

I hope they at least tried it with a green cloak but found the effect just look to shitty to actually pull off, otherwise this really comes off as an excuse (in my book), as I'd have to assume this is actually a relatively easy effect to pull off.

 

1 hour ago, Thrasymachus said:

The most reliable speculation for the release date circulating now is from WoTUp, who uses the advance notice to book publishers who are going to want to push out new editions of the books in line with the release of the series, that they should be doing that in November, to suggest a Black Friday release date.  That would put the most likely date for a full-length trailer at sometime in October, or possibly as early as September, and a ~1 minute teaser fairly soon, likely June or July.  I would guess we'll get the 1 minute teaser at San Diego's Comic Con in late July, and possibly the full-length trailer at Dragoncon in early September, though that may be as late as Baltimore's Comic Con in October.  Dragoncon's kinda small for a venue to do a first trailer showing, but they may not care too much about that, as it'll be on YouTube minutes later and on Prime and other networks within days anyway.

Sounds like my earlier Convention predictions are looking a little more realistic for trailer/teaser drops eh? 🙂

Here's the dates for the big 3 relevant ones, plus two for PAX. (Not that I could see this being dropped at PAX!)

PAX East - June 3rd - 6th
Jordan Con July - July 16th-18th
SD Comic Con July 23-25th
Dragoncon - Sept 2nd - 6th
PAX West - Sept 3rd - 6th

 

1 hour ago, Elder_Haman said:

And I think you're way off about conventions. Amazon isn't going to tie its marketing to ComicCon, DragonCon, JordanCon or any other con. They are going for a bigger, broader audience.

I dunno about that.
Walking Dead/GoT always had a panel at SDCC.

I also wouldn't be surprised if they try to do a "Talking WoT" after-show like they had with the Walking Dead or GOT... 

From one of the earlier teasers we got, it's apparent they're also working on an after-show thing discussing their design choices/commenting on the show. (Similar to what HBO Max did with "We are who we are".)

 






 

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7 minutes ago, SinisterDeath said:

I dunno about that.
Walking Dead/GoT always had a panel at SDCC.

I'm not saying they won't have any presence at the conventions. I just don't think they are depending on them to be the launch point for marketing efforts. (Although, JordanCon might be a special case for obvious reasons).

 

9 minutes ago, SinisterDeath said:

I was hoping for at least 1 or 2 scenes with that cloak, and the rest of the time he's hiding it with a regular cloak to blend in with a city/small town.

I don't think Rafe's answer forecloses the idea that the cloaks exist. Only that it won't be depicted in the way described in the book. One commenter on Reddit suggested they might use several different colored cloaks that match whatever environment the Warder finds himself in (green for the forest, tan for the Waste, etc.) and then have one of the characters call attention to the color shifting. 

 

For me, the best part was finding out that we are getting hour long episodes! Longer episodes mean more content, which will (hopefully) lend to a better adaptation that has to sacrifice less. 

 

The whole thing was welcome in the wake of so much silence over the last month.

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I think it's pretty clear that the cloaks won't exist at all.  They probably just won't even be a thing.  Viewers won't know there's a thing to miss, and readers are already going to be up in arms about all the other dumb changes that it'll just be lost in the storm.

 

Longer episodes could be good, or they could be bad.  I've rarely been disappointed with and not want to continue with shows who's episodes feel too short (though I will prefer to binge them).  On the other hand, episodes that run too long will often feel like they start to drag, or feel all over the place and disconnected, leaving me either bored, or confused as to what's going on, and thus disinterested.

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3 hours ago, Elder_Haman said:

For me, the best part was finding out that we are getting hour long episodes! Longer episodes mean more content, which will (hopefully) lend to a better adaptation that has to sacrifice less.

Yes - very excited that we potentially get more content!

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

I think it's pretty clear that the cloaks won't exist at all.  They probably just won't even be a thing.  Viewers won't know there's a thing to miss, and readers are already going to be up in arms about all the other dumb changes that it'll just be lost in the storm.

 

Longer episodes could be good, or they could be bad.  I've rarely been disappointed with and not want to continue with shows who's episodes feel too short (though I will prefer to binge them).  On the other hand, episodes that run too long will often feel like they start to drag, or feel all over the place and disconnected, leaving me either bored, or confused as to what's going on, and thus disinterested.

sorry misread post, deleted. 
 

 

Edited by Harldin
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

They don't write those kinds of stories based on press releases

 

I went back and re-read all three articles. They each use this quote from Rafe:

Quote

“The belief Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television have shown in The Wheel of Time has been incredible to see throughout the entire process of making this show. Getting a second season order before the first season has even premiered is such a vote of confidence in the work we are doing and the property itself, and we couldn’t be happier to be able to continue to live and work in the world Robert Jordan created,” said showrunner and executive producer Rafe Judkins. “This property is one I’ve loved since I was a teenager, and seeing it brought to life with the resources to make it truly worthy of what’s on the page is something I can’t wait for the other fans of the books to see. And season two just keeps expanding the world we built in season one.”

 

This quote doesn't appear anywhere on Rafe's social media. He didn't use it in his AMA yesterday. There are more examples of identical or nearly identical language being used. The only reasonable explanation is a press release.

Edited by Elder_Haman
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That seems reasonable.  It would not be unheard of to have a press release to officially announce the season 2 renewal.  Still doesn't mean much in terms of accelerated marketing.  And it wouldn't make much sense to ramp up marketing very much now for a show not due to release another 6 months.  A teaser, sure.  But their history also suggests we should expect any such teaser at July's SDCC.

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pity for the cloaks, but frankly, after they told that they dropped the agelessness, i was expecting them to do the same for the cloaks, for the same reason.

 

also, if they have a teangreal that makes fancloth, i never understood why limiting themselves to cloaks and not make also regular clothes, and maybe even tents, with the thing.

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Thanks for the info in the opening post.  That the tv-show gets a season 2 is great news, as is the fact that the episodes will be around 1 hr running time (compensates a little for not having 10-episode seasons).

 

It will not come as a surprise to anyone here who has read my previous comments over time that I am deeply disappointed by the news that the tv-adaptation will drop both the Warder's colour-shifting cloaks (as it seems) and the Aes Sedai ageless look (one of the defining aspects of Aes Sedai and also in contrast to f.ex. female Forsaken). 

 

There are 2 main reasons: one is that we are talking Canon by Robert Jordan, the other is that these two things were special, unique for the Wheel of Time and would set it apart from other fantasy shows. 

 

I can see the reasons for the decision but with the huge budget for the tv-show I would have prioritized elements like these that are special, unique and instantly identifiable with Robert Jordan's fantasy saga.

 

Being one of those longtime Wheel of Time fans who wanted a faithful tv-adaptation (along the lines of Game of Thrones - Season 1), I will gradually have to come to terms with the fact that the tv-show will be a very different beast and a "new turning of the Wheel", such as others have embraced, if I am to have any enjoyment from the tv-adaptation. I am not there yet, but I hope I will be there by the time the tv-show airs.

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Elessar said:

will gradually have to come to terms with the fact that the tv-show will be a very different beast and a "new turning of the Wheel", such as others have embraced, if I am to have any enjoyment from the tv-adaptation.

I try to think of it like going to see a play, musical, or opera that I've seen before. I know the characters. I know what songs they will sing. I know the plot. But I also know that there will be different artistic choices each time. Different set design. Different costumes. Sometimes different accents or even different dialogue.

 

The fact that these things are different from the first time don't necessarily make the new performance bad. They just make it different. And there is some excitement that can be found in those differences.

Edited by Elder_Haman
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2 hours ago, Elessar said:

There are 2 main reasons: one is that we are talking Canon by Robert Jordan, the other is that these two things were special, unique for the Wheel of Time and would set it apart from other fantasy shows.

for all that I can agree with the sentiment, there is another problem to consider for the ageless look: assume you have all the special budget you want. Even then, how the hell are you going to make it???

It's all fine to write in a book "they had the ageless look". What is established by canon is

- anyone who knows the look will ALWAYS recognize ANY aes sedai, excepting of course newly sworn ones.

- nobody who knows the look EVER mistook ANY regular woman for aes sedai

They are said to have the wisdom of old age in their eyes, but a smooth skin. Well, there are women who keep a smooth skin up to their fifties - or some who disguise it with makeup. And how exactly do you convey wisdom with the eyes?

 

The closest thing I ever saw which could fit was Pai Mei from Kill Bill. Which has the added bonus of being doable with just make-up. However, I don't think that would be adequate. Pai Mei ageless look was achieved by taking a joinger actor and giving the impression of age with long white hair and white beard. Shave him bardless, dye his hair black, I doubt he'd be ageless anymore. or, if he was, he'd be undistinguishable from people who have that look naturally. A clean-shaven, black-haired Pai Mei in plain clothes could easily pass for a farmer, something which no aes sedai could do.

 

So, besides budget, I don't think there's any way they could have actually achieved a convincing ageless look, at all. It's a bit like lovecraftian monsters, it's perfectly fine on a book to put something too horrible to describe, but then you have no way of showing it in a movie; your best bet is to not show it at all.

 

this problem also applies to other things described in the series, like the "something wrong in the eyes" of those that are turned.

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Posted (edited)

Agelessness was always going to be a tricky, if not impossible thing to depict on the screen.  I doubt there's be a good way to do it that didn't just look bad.  

 

The Warder's cloaks are a different matter, though.  That's just laziness.  The LotR had similar cloaks that faded into an apparent invisibility when still.  You really only need to show off that color-shifting near-invisibility cloak aspect occasionally.  Most of the time, a plain silvery gray-green cloak that's a bit reflective would be fine.  And then every once in a while you swap in the CGI using green-screen technology that half of Twitch streamers already use live.

 

Here's what we're gonna have to get used to, Elessar.  They're not making Wheel of Time.  They're making A Letter for the King.  If they're lucky. 

 

If you haven't seen that series yet, it's only six episodes on Netflix.  If you've read the book it's based on, though, and you like it at all, you might think twice about watching the series.  About the only thing the series has in common with the book is the names of main characters and that the main "quest" is about a guy named Tiuri trying to get a letter to the king.  The series is "inspired by" the book.  And that very much looks like what we'll be getting with the Wheel of Time.  Rafe's "inspired by the Wheel of Time" Wheel of Time.

 

And the reason I say they'll be lucky if they pull off an "A Letter for the King" is that the series isn't bad.  It's actually kinda enjoyable if you don't have any expectations from reading the books.  It's a bit trope-y, it drags slightly in the early parts, it's in a weird place maturity-wise, and a couple of twists and reveals towards the end feel a bit unearned, but the special effects and acting are good, as is the story itself.  There's not really anything glaringly bad about it.  Or at least there wouldn't be if it weren't ripping off a beloved book to tell a very similar, but still markedly different story. 

Edited by Thrasymachus
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27 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

Here's what we're gonna have to get used to, Elessar.  They're not making Wheel of Time.  They're making A Letter for the King.  If they're lucky.

We'll see.

 

 

28 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

The Warder's cloaks are a different matter, though.  That's just laziness.  The LotR had similar cloaks that faded into an apparent invisibility when still.  You really only need to show off that color-shifting near-invisibility cloak aspect occasionally.  Most of the time, a plain silvery gray-green cloak that's a bit reflective would be fine.  And then every once in a while you swap in the CGI using green-screen technology that half of Twitch streamers already use live.

I do agree with this. The budget concerns seem to me more like an exaggeration, or rather a convenient scapegoat.  I only hope that they attempted a few scenes with a "green cloak" and the CGI turned out terrible so they scrapped the idea. I can't imagine it would be that difficult or expensive... It's not like they're adding a CGI cloak on a character that's not even wearing a cloak, or CGI'ing off Superman's beard...

It is worth considering that the first season might be exponentially more expensive as all the art assets, costumes, sets, etc have to be built/created from the ground up, and that will eat into any CGI in the first seasons. (Note how GoT had far less CGI in the early seasons compared to later seasons?)

Either way, I still wish they'd have at least did one scene with the cloak and then hide it away for convivence/plot. Hell, I'd settle for Lan whipping out his cloak during the Blight. 

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37 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

The LotR had similar cloaks that faded into an apparent invisibility when still.

In one scene. One. 

Jordan describes the cloaks as being difficult to look at (because of their shifting colors) even when the Warder isn't trying to conceal himself. What that would require is that every single time a Warder is on screen, you have to add some sort of digital effect that conveys that color-shiftingness. That's tough to pull off just from a degree of difficulty standpoint before you even get to the question of expense.

 

40 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

You really only need to show off that color-shifting near-invisibility cloak aspect occasionally.

And we don't know that this isn't going to happen. Rafe's answer didn't foreclose that possibility.

 

41 minutes ago, Thrasymachus said:

They're not making Wheel of Time.  They're making A Letter for the King.  If they're lucky. 

You are relentless in your negativity. There is no reason to think that WoT is going to be a massive, unrecognizable departure from the books. None. 

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Of course there reason to believe it will be a massive departure from the books.  Lots of reasons. Logain's expanded role is a big enough departure on it's own.  The lack of the Trakands is another.  Moiraine being the "main character" is another.  No significant prop that looks anything like the descriptions or icons representing them in the books.  And then there's Rafe's own words, that he's really doing "an adaptation of the whole series" and that they're not trying to exactly reproduce the story as told in the books, and that fans should, "gird their loins" for big changes and departures.  It's already nearly unrecognizable.  If you showed someone who knows the books but doesn't know anything about the show the marketing they've done so far, the prop showcases or the cast photos and all that, the only thing that might hint to them that that stuff would be for a Wheel of Time show would be the cast photos.

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14 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

Logain's expanded role is a big enough departure on it's own.

Logain is a character in the books. His declaring himself to be the Dragon, his capture and subsequent gentling happened in the books. The fact that they are choosing to depict these events rather than letting them happen off-screen doesn't make it a "big ... departure" from the source material. 

 

 

14 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

Moiraine being the "main character" is another.

Nowhere does it say that Moiraine is the "main character". The promotional material thus far references Moiraine because (1) Rosamund Pike is the most recognizable actor in the series [like Sean Bean in GoT], and (2) because they likely want to preserve some mystery around the EF5. 

 

Even though it is obvious to readers of EotW that Rand is the main protagonist, it is not obvious to Rand at the beginning of the story. Nor is it immediately obvious to Moiraine. Beginning from her POV simply preserves some of the mystery, which is something useful for attracting and keeping an audience. 

 

14 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

No significant prop that looks anything like the descriptions or icons representing them in the books.

This is entirely meaningless in terms of whether the show will be a "big ... departure" from the books - especially when comparing it to "A Letter for the King" or "Shannara Chronicles" in terms of the over all fidelity to the source material.

 

14 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

And then there's Rafe's own words, that he's really doing "an adaptation of the whole series"

Rafe says this in the context of whether each season is going to adapt a single book. He's pulling content from other books in order to streamline the timelines and make certain that they tell the entire story. There's nothing about, for example, bringing content from New Spring into Season 1 that would cause the show to be a "big ... departure".

 

In fact, it is entirely to the contrary. The writers keeping the entire series in mind rather than focusing on adapting a single novel at a time helps to keep the series faithful to RJ, not the other way around.

 

14 hours ago, Thrasymachus said:

they're not trying to exactly reproduce the story as told in the books, and that fans should, "gird their loins" for big changes and departures.

Here, he's simply speaking to people who are inclined to believe that a TV adaptation will be a beat-for-beat reproduction of the novels. It can't happen. It's impossible. The fact that there will be big changes (removing the Trakands from S1, for example) is inevitable. But introducing them in S2 doesn't immediately make the show a departure on the scale of "A Letter to the King".

 

No doubt the show will be different from the books in myriad ways. That does not equate with it being "unrecognizable". To claim otherwise is just myopic thinking.

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