Brandon Sanderson responded to some fans' concerns on reddit about the adaptation to the Wheel of Time TV show. Although the majority of fan reactions over the past week to the big casting announcement have been positive, some people have had concerns with the actors not looking like how they would expect. Brandon addressed these concerns by saying:
That's a legit gripe. I don't blame anyone if they don't like this decision for book/film continuity reasons--just as I would have trouble blaming anyone for disliking a casting like Jackman as Wolverine, because he's so different from the source material. Most of us loved him, but it's okay for someone to dislike the choice.
The WoT casting looks good to me. It's more than it doesn't bother me; it's more that I actively like how these people look as the characters. Granted, I have information others don't have. I've read Rafe's scripts, I've read his treatments, and I get what he's doing with the series--and in almost every case, I like the choices he's made.
Deciding to do the Two Rivers with a variety of skin tones but a unified cultural identity is cool to me because I think it expresses some of the broad themes of the Wheel of Time. Themes that might be difficult to get across otherwise without the text, the internal monologues, etc.
To me, this is like putting the Harry Potter kids in street clothes in the third of those films, or making Frodo push Sam away in the LotR films--both are pretty big deviations from the letter of the story, but both (I think) achieve something in setting the tone the right way for a film.
That said, I can see this being something you dislike. For what it's worth--from my experience, this isn't Rafe pandering. It might well be Rafe expressing his own ideologies in the story. It's okay to dislike those choices, but I do think that it would be a mistake to not want a showrunner who tries to make their own version of the story. (Like Jackson did with the LotR films.)
This is one of the things I've had to become comfortable with in watching my own book-to-film adaptations progress. You won't get something great without letting a new vision change the story. Even Marvel, in charge of its own properties, heavily adapted characters, looks, and stories to fit the new medium of film.
If the chosen actors had looked completely wrong...well, I'd still probably have waited to see them act in the roles. (That will be the big deciding factor.) But the fact that they look so right feels like confirmation to me that so far, Rafe is steering the ship well.
He continued with:
Filming of the WoT TV show will begin in September. Although we don't know the exact start date or production schedule, we know that the announced actors are either currently in Prague or on their way there to begin. No release date for the show has been announced, but the production schedule is expected to be unusually long because of the complicated material, diverse locations, and large number of visual effects.
Edited by Jason Denzel