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About Werthead

  • Birthday 01/22/1979

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    Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom
  1. Adapting Eye of the World

    The show is not going to last for 14 seasons. It's going to be 7-8 max. You're looking at adapting 2 books per season, minimum, and if they say they're going to be making a 10-episode season based on EotW alone, that means they are not planning for the long term and have no interest in making the entire series, just as much as they can to make as much money as possible before it's cancelled. If, as seems likely, Amazon are the front-runners on the project, they do have the freedom of not being constricted by running times too much. They can make 50-minute episodes as needed and 90-minute ones as required, so there is some flexibility there.
  2. Amazon just picked up a Conan TV show, which suggests that they may be open to helming more than one fantasy show at a time. Although of course now that means they need to be willing to work on three simultaneously for WoT to have a shot.
  3. @Werthead At this stage, largely irrelevant. Until Sony confirm their partnership with a network (or go it alone), there's probably not much for him to do on WoT (I assume a pilot script was written ages ago). Benioff and Weiss did this on GoT, after writing the pilot script they broke off and did other things for a while (like working on the Halo movie that never got made) until HBO greenlit GoT and they snapped back to that. They even wrote some movie treatments and other things whilst working on GoT, and have started development work on another HBO series. Uncharted has also been in development for years with multiple writers and script drafts attached, so this will be less of a writing from scratch job than another pass at a pre-existing draft. Much less time-consuming. Depending on your workload, a scriptwriter could do it in a week or two.
  4. Because they can't stop the actors ageing? That's going to be a problem for WoT. In fact, even moreso. It's possible to very likely that the show will have 18 month gaps between seasons assuming a high production quality. Assuming 7 seasons, it'll possibly take 10-11 years to get the show done. So any actors they start with in their late teens or early twenties will be in the late twenties or early thirties by the time it's done. There's no realistic way around that. Sony have been talking about making their shows themselves and then selling the finished product to networks, rather than teaming with a network in the first place. That would make sense as they nearly did that for the Dark Tower TV series, so WoT would be a logical way of handling the situation. I know Sony felt burned on their experiences working alongside AMC on Breaking Bad which led them to that idea, but then again their experience on Better Call Saul has been a lot better so they might have retreated from the idea. But certainly as part of the process of selling the show to a network, they'll need completed scripts, a series bible, an outline for the series overall, notes on the characters etc. The books I believe are his original paperbacks from the early 1990s. I think it's his way of showing he's been a WoT fan for twenty plus years and is old-skool (i.e. he didn't hear about the books five minutes before he was asked to helm he project). His experience so far has been in network TV: My Own Worst Enemy, Chuck, Hemlock Grove and, most recently, Agents of SHIELD (fortunately since it stopped being unwatchable). Not an outstanding CV but not an embarrassing one either.
  5. The Dark Tower movie was developed as a sequel to the books and King gave them carte blanche to do whatever they wanted to the story, which turned out to be a mistake. The other issue is that the plan was to do an ambitious TV series and movie sequence combined, but ultimately they chose to do a very conservative single film as a pilot for the rest of the project, which meant they lowballed the scale and scope of the story but then left it very open ended, which casual audiences didn't really connect with. I think the biggest difference is that Sony Pictures didn't take Dark Tower seriously and the TV division (which is a different company) are taking WoT very seriously. The TV division also made Breaking Bad and they have a very different sensibility to the movie side of the business.
  6. That information seems in line with what we know. Sony are taking the project seriously - far more seriously than Dark Tower, thankfully - but they have not joined forces with a studio/network production partner yet, so that is the biggest problem to be overcome. My understanding is that, frustratingly, Sony were very close to signing a deal with Amazon but Amazon then asked for a delay. During that time the Lord of the Rings prequel project came up and Amazon went with that instead. Them making Wheel of Time as well as LotR is unlikely, as I understand it, so the WoT project went back out to the networks. This has caused problems because a lot of the other studios have signed up other fantasy projects in the meantime. So to recap, HBO are out because of GoT and the spin-off project; Showtime are out because of the Kingkiller Chronicle prequel project; Netflix are probably out because of The Witcher; AMC likely won't provide a big enough budget; Starz are less likely to commit because of their immense expenditure on American Gods and Outlander; Paramount/Spike already have Shannara; Amazon have the Lord of the Rings series; SyFy don't have enough money (they had to cancel Dark Matter to afford Nightflyers) and so forth. There are some interesting options on the table. Apple TV really need a big flagship project to spearhead their invasion of the TV space and don't have one yet. Netflix may feel that the relative small scale of The Witcher means they have scope and time for a bigger project as well. FX are a pretty good possibility, especially now they've been bought by Disney. Disney could also decide that WoT is a good match for Hulu or their new adult streaming service launching in 2019 (with a new Marvel show and the first-ever Star Wars live action TV series). Starz may decide to plump for a third big series, especially with American Gods' future in doubt. We may also see CBS All Access getting in on the act. They have deep pockets but they also need more content for the streaming service: Star Trek Discovery is popular but one show isn't going to keep interest going. Another interesting piece of information: Sony have been quietly developing a TV series based on Joe Abercrombie's First Law fantasy series. First Law is much darker and grimmer than WoT, so this may be a sign that Sony are interested in developing multiple fantasy projects with different focuses. But there must be a concern that if First Law moves forward, their focus may shift to that. I don't believe that's likely, as WoT was far more expensive (eight figures for the rights) and has a far higher global profile, but it may be something worth bearing in mind. On the plus side, WoT showrunner Rafe Judkins has tweeted that he is working on the books for the adaptation, which may be a sign that something is going on behind the scenes. There were no 30+ actors playing the teens. The oldest age difference I believe were Kit Harington and Richard Madden, who were both 23, playing 14-year-olds who'd been canonically aged up to around 18 in the show. Of course, the show has been on the air for 7 years so Harington is 30 now, but they explain that in the show by having the series cover a lot longer period of time than the books.
  7. This was the last season of House of Cards anyway, they'd not quite pulled the trigger on it because they've been talking about doing a spin-off and were apparently debating on whether to make it a whole new show or continue it under the same name. This is why the current round of controversy is a slight headache for Netflix rather the major catastrophe it would have been two seasons back. I don't think you can do WoT frugally, at least not do so and do it any justice. It doesn't need $100 million a season from the off, but you can't do it for much less than the $6 million an episode that GoT started with back in 2011, and if you look at the first season now it's painfully obvious how much less money they had.
  8. My thoughts on what the Lord of the Rings TV series from Amazon means for Wheel of Time. In short, Amazon was really the best shot for a WoT TV show. If Amazon is going with the better name recognition of Tolkien, it leaves WoT without a really obvious home. I don't believe that AMC will be capable of giving the show the budget it needs, HBO turned down Tolkien because of their commitment to the GoT franchise so they're never going to touch another fantasy series for many years to come, and Showtime have signed up to do the Rothfuss prequel TV show instead. Starz and Hulu I think are a long shot. Netflix might be the only card left on the table, but they've got themselves into some debt issues and are looking for a lot of cheaper shows going forwards (cancelling Sense8 and House of Cards due to their expense) with only one or two expensive tentpoles, which going forwards will be Stranger Things and maybe Altered Carbon (depending on how the first season does).
  9. The Aspect-Emperor Book 4: The Unholy Consult When is the ending not the ending? Thirty years ago, when Scott Bakker first conceived of The Second Apocalypse, he planned to conclude it with the events that, finally, conclude this novel. Some time later he reflected that this might not be the best idea, and drafted a plan for (at least) two further novels to wrap up the saga in a different manner. Having finished The Unholy Consult - the seventh and most revelatory novel in the series to date - it is hard to say if this was a good idea or not. For those who read this series (so far comprising two sub-series, the Prince of Nothing trilogy and the Aspect-Emperor quartet) for the warring philosophies, SF ideas such as genetic engineering and quantum theory seen through an epic fantasy prism and the way it inverts so many fantasy tropes to the point where they unhinge, I suspect they would have seen nothing wrong with Bakker dropping the mike on the final line of this book (and it's a humdinger) and walking off into the sunset. I suspect other readers, such as those who enjoy the brainy digressions of the series but still read it as an epic fantasy with cool magic and a mystery-laden storyline, would be more horrified at the prospect. Whilst dropping the series at this point would doubtlessly be more artistic, more bloody-minded and more, well, Bakker, it'd also be, from a mundane narrative standpoint, less satisfying. Rewinding to the start, The Unholy Consult picks up in the tumultuous aftermath of The Great Ordeal, which left many of the major characters of the series apparently dead or missing. The novel wastes no time in resolving most of these questions and getting the story back on track. Other events fall away and the story begins to narrow in on Golgotterath as the Great Ordeal, battered, bloodied and compromised by the horrors it has been forced to adopt to survive, finally arrives in the shadow of the Golden Horns. Other factions soon join them and there are moments of reunion as characters compare notes on their experiences and realise that their prior assumptions about what they face may have been erroneous. From there the book explodes in a titanic battle sequence as Ordeal and Consult finally clash and we realise, in the grand tradition of Tolkien (whose influence lies deeper on this series than I think is often appreciated), that both forces are not what they once were, that evil has degraded and is lesser than it once was even as good faces the same predicament. The battle is long, arduous and packed with individual moments of epic heroism and foul reversals. Bakker, for all of his philosophical preoccupations, is good at blowing stuff up and sets to blowing stuff up in this battle with wild abandon. But the battle outside the foul Ark is matched by another struggle deeper within it, as intellects and ideologies clash in a struggle of viewpoints which is even more important. Indeed, seasoned fantasy readers may be struck by the structural similarity between The Unholy Consult and A Memory of Light, the final novel in the Wheel of Time sequence, of the great "last" battle of swords and sorcery being matched by a battle of arguments and semantics that may decide the fate of the world. Bakker is considerably more concise here (in a novel less than half and only a bit more than a third as long as A Memory of Light) and of course roots his arguments in considerably more complex concepts. The Unholy Consult is a striking novel, remarkable for its conciseness given the magnitude of the ending it depicts (similar to The Thousandfold Thought, the conclusion of The Prince of Nothing trilogy which opened this mega-series, Bakker knows how to drop an effective ending without milking it for a thousand pages) and for the way the author handles his revelations. This series is rooted in mysteries built atop mysteries and it'd be easy for the author to refuse to address them (like Lost), or give a nonsensical, pat answer you suspect they thought of only five minutes earlier (like the latter Battlestar Galactica), but Bakker shows no fear in simply squarely answering questions with answers reached a long time before. He resolves thematic and character arcs begun fourteen years ago in The Darkness That Came Before and if you figured out the answer to a particular mystery in a late-night discussion on the Three-Seas, Westeros.org or Second Apocalypse Forums five years ago, well done. Also, hold tight because here come another three revelations which you really didn't see coming. There are some revelations here that will have the reader nodding in approval, others that will be mystifying and several that are surprising in both their content and their elegance (one, extraordinarily important, answer to a vital series-spanning question would even border on the mundane, but the implications of the revelation are far-reaching). Other issues go resolutely unaddressed: those hoping for Bakker to drop a Dungeons and Dragons Manual of the Planes-style explanation of how the metaphysics in his universe work should brace themselves for disappointment, although some concepts are further elaborated upon. The author is careful here to reveal some more of the recipe for this story without giving you a full list of the ingredients. Events build in the novel to a frenzy of battles, arguments and, yes, death swirling down, and Bakker sticks the landing. Epic fantasies have a rather horrible tendency to blow the ending but The Aspect-Emperor gets the payoff it deserves, more The Lord of the Rings and The Crippled God rather than Magician's End or The Born Queen, and epic and impressive it is. You not so much read the finale as survive it, and in the nerve-shredded aftermath have to ask the question which will drive a lot of discussion in the months and years ahead: "Now what?" The Unholy Consult (****½) is perhaps less elegantly structured as a novel than some of its forebears, with not much in the way of build up before it starts smashing things asunder (from that perspective, this books feels the lack of The Great Ordeal immediately before it far more keenly than vice versa), but it makes up for that with tremendously satisfying character moments, Bakker's best-ever action scenes and, in the final chapter, possibly Bakker's most powerfully effective pieces of prose to date. The novel will be published on 6 July 2017 in the UK and on 11 July in the USA. Note: The Unholy Consult is a relatively short novel, clocking in at around 450 pages. The rest of the book is made up by an encyclopaedic glossary - an expanded successor to that found in The Thousandfold Thought - a collection of maps and two short stories previously only available on Bakker's website: The False Sun and Four Revelations.
  10. It will not be HBO. HBO are not interested in competing with themselves and they are lining up a GoT spinoff show to replace GoT once it is done. I agree on the prosthetics approach. It would be simpler and look better. The Draghkar and Darkhounds will need to be CGI already, making the Trollocs non-CGI will make life easier for everyone. Plus the prosthetic orcs in the LotR trilogy are far superior to the CG orcs in The Hobbit movies. Outlander was big, but not "the biggest-selling series in its genre for 50 years" big, which is what WoT is. That was Variety who made that mistake, not the original press release from Sony. Variety are a trade website, they're not involved in making the show. LotR has been in continuous print since 1954. It would easily still be in print without the films. In the 1990s there was even a big boom in sales of LotR, driven by the explosion in popularity of the rest of the genre, before the movies came out. LotR has sold over 400 million copies and about 50-60 million of that came after the films. This is a pretty illogical statement. Red Eagle were a rights-handling firm set up to buy the rights from RJ and sell them on for a credit and a profit to recoup their initial investment. If everything had gone according to plan and there'd never been any acrimony with Team Jordan or the fanbase, Red Eagle would still not be expected to have any creative input on a TV show or movie. That's not how rights-handling companies operate and it's certainly not how movie or TV studios work. They will put their own team in charge, unless maybe the rights-handling company had lots of TV creatives with experience in the industry already (which REE don't). There seems to be a tug of war over the narrative here which is a bit pointless. Red Eagle have done what they set out to do, retain a stake in the project and its success to their benefit. However, it sounds bad after thirteen years of them saying they'd be involved in making the show that they won't have much to do with it (even though they never were going to have much to do with it) so they're trying to say they will have creative input (which arguably they will: they'll probably have the showrunner's email address and can pipe in some ideas every now and then). However, they won't be making decisions and they won't be approving anything, and they will have zero creative control over the process. It's silly because, actually, everyone has come out of this with something they wanted: REE get a credit and some money (and, lest we forget, they set up the original meeting with Sony back in 2014 which probably led to this deal), fans get the knowledge that REE won't be intimately involved in the project and the TV show gets made and everyone can move on.
  11. I think it'd be decent on AMC. But they will be cutting a lot of stuff out of it. I don't see how they can afford showing much of the One Power or more than a few Trollocs on screen. OTOH, this might be the project that convinces AMC they need to stop being so cheap and start putting some serious money into their shows, which can only be for the good. I agrees effects and money are not everything, but you can't make a show like WoT on a low budget, it'll look terrible and will put off people from watching it.
  12. Red Eagle will on board as Producers In Name Only. They didn't win the legal battle last year, there was an out-of-court resolution. The traditional outcome in cases like this is that they would agree not to hold things up by continuing legal action in return for a slice of the pie. So they'll get a credit and a relatively nominal payment and won't be involved day-to-day (Judkins - who was a contestant on Survivor in 2005! - will be the primary writer and producer and they rarely take on board advice from rights-holding companies). Much depends on the channel that picks this up. If it's FX, Starz, Netflix or Amazon, I think it could do very well. If it's AMC - and I'm hearing that AMC may have the best shot or first refusal but are not a lock - I would be more concerned. AMC are tightwads in how much money they spend and Wheel of Time needs 14-16 episode seasons and at least (bare minimum) $5 million per episode to start with (a lot more later on). AMC, on the other hand, have refused to give a budget increase to The Walking Dead from its already-low budget of $3.2 million for over four years despite it being one of the most popular TV shows on the planet, which is ridiculously cheap of them.
  13. These shows were enormously popular back then and remain so now: Fox commissioned six new episodes of The X-Files and it was the most successful new TV drama on their network last year (although only one episode was arguably really good, the rest were meh). More will follow. Showtime has spent an absolutely insane amount of money on the new Twin Peaks, to the tune of many tens of millions of dollars and convincing David Lynch (who hasn't directed a live-action project in a decade) to direct the entire thing, and are already ramping up marketing four months out. It may turn out to be rubbish, but it's certainly not the case that no-one cares about them. The market being oversaturated, I agree. Personally I'd like to see a moratorium on all new TV shows for five years to give everyone a chance to catch up on what they want to see before unloading new stuff. But in terms of quality, TV is probably the best it's ever been, and that's backed up by the enormous viewing figures and critical reception across the board. The market has absolutely never been as favourable for a Wheel of Time TV show right now. If it doesn't get made now, and if as is possible we see a decline or crash in a few years, the chances of it ever being made disappear.
  14. The Mistborn movie now has a writer, whilst the first draft of the first Stormlight movie is apparently complete.
  15. People are still excited about the new X-Files and Twin Peaks seasons and have picked up the old series to rewatch or watch for the first time. ST:TNG, a show which is 30 years old this year, still gets tons of viewers on repeats and Netflix (actually, so does the original and that's 51 years old). Far more people have watched The Wire in the 10 years since it finished than when it was on. So a really good, classic show will have quite a long lifespan. TV shows that are failures won't be remembered for as long, of course. They're already talking about a new Dresden Files show ten years after the last one was a failure.