Wheel Of Time’s Backlash Is A Major Risk To Future Seasons
Amazon’s Wheel of Time TV series isn’t getting the positive buzz it needs, meaning the future of the fantasy adaptation is sadly in doubt.BY THOMAS BACONPUBLISHED 3 DAYS AGO
The fan backlash to Amazon’s Wheel of Time is a major threat to future seasons of the fantasy TV series. In 1984, fantasy writer Robert Jordan approached Tor Books with the idea of a trilogy he called “Wheel of Time.” Tor’s editors had worked with Jordan before, and they knew he tended to go long, so instead they commissioned him for six books. Their instincts proved correct, although they’d underestimated Jordan’s ability to get carried away: the Wheel of Time series was completed after 14 books. The series was only finished by Brandon Sanderson after Robert Jordan sadly died in 2007.
There have been several attempts to get Wheel of Time transformed into a TV series, but they’ve been met with no real success until 2021. No doubt, Amazon hopes Wheel of Time can become the next Game of Thrones, a long-form fantasy series intended to last for years. They’ve already renewed Wheel of Time for season 2, although they’ve recast Dónal Finn (The Witcher) in replacement of Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon, one of the show’s stars. Unfortunately, the reception to Wheel of Time‘s first episodes hasn’t exactly been positive.
The core problem is that the Amazon series is rather different from the books – with these differences angering readers who initially loved Jordan’s novels. The most striking change of all is a visual one, with Wheel of Time‘s main characters aged older than their book versions in an attempt for the show to avoid feeling like some sort of YA fantasy adventure. Meanwhile, Jordan tried to balance traditional fantasy violence with an attempt to appeal to general audiences with younger characters. Although Wheel of Time could get pretty brutal, he didn’t go into detail, and, visually, the first two episodes are already gorier than anything Jordan wrote. This shift in age and violence is a naked attempt to appeal to Game of Thrones viewers, but for those who love the books, it goes rather too far. All this is compounded by the sheer pace of the story, which is running through chapters at remarkable speed. It’s quite incredible that the Emond’s Field group found their way to the cursed city of Shadar Logoth by episode 2, whereas this journey takes quite some time to develop in the books.
A book adaptation like Wheel of Time can’t depend on the sensibilities of book readers: the TV show is too vast, too expensive, and needs to reach a lot more people. However, the spirit of Robert Jordan’s books should still be sustained throughout the show, and Amazon’s hope would be that fans of the books would drive a positive buzz for the show to catch the attention of viewers who had never even heard of the fantasy novels. Instead, the opposite is happening: book readers are furious, leaving negative comments and reviews, as they’re disappointed that the story they love hasn’t been brought faithfully to life. The positive buzz simply isn’t there, which threatens to prevent Wheel of Time ever reaching its wider potential audience.
Meanwhile, the changes in Wheel of Time seem to be building. Wheel of Time episode 3 sets up radical changes to Egwene and the prophecy of the Dragon Reborn, which – if followed through – means the TV series will diverge completely from Jordan’s own story. With that, the already irritated fandom is likely to get even more frustrated, damaging the show’s reputation even further. Season 2 may be guaranteed, but the longer future of Amazon’s Wheel of Time seems in doubt right now.