Brandon Sanderson Likens Amazon's Wheel Of Time Series to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings

The cover of The Shadow Rising.
The cover of The Shadow Rising.
Image: Sam Weber (Macmillan)

After years of languishing in development hell, a live-action series based on Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time novels is finally coming to the small screen courtesy of Amazon Studios and showrunner Rafe Judkins (Agents of SHIELD). But according to Brandon Sanderson, who finished the final three books in the series following Jordan’s death, Amazon’s take on the story might be somewhat different than the source material.


In a recent Reddit post about the series’ progress, Sanderson shared some of his thoughts about what’s been changed from the original novels in order to better fit Judkins’ vision for the new medium. While Sanderson was frank about his belief that some of the changes made will be “polarizing” to the fandom, he’s still confident that people will be able to get into the show:

I found the [vast] majority of these decisions to be excellent choices–things that will give the show its own soul, but still in line with the feel and tone of the books. I can’t say for certain, but my instincts say the fanbase will in general respond to them positively. There are a few I offered suggestions on, and we’ll see.

I can’t say too much, not just because of NDAs, but also because the show is very much still in flux as Rafe makes decisions on how he wants things to go. As the alterations go, I’d say they fall in line with positive changes made in bringing LOTR to the big screen–things that were altered in order to make the films work for the medium.

Overall, the thing I’m most impressed with is Rafe himself, who really seems to be guiding this show with a balance between love for the source material and his own creative vision. I’d much rather get this, personally, than something like the first two Harry Potter films–which felt like someone trying to bring the books to the screen with exact scene-by-scene recreations.

As Tor has pointed out, early news about The Wheel of Time’s creative team suggests the show might open with events inspired by books later in the series of novels, meaning the story being told could take a drastically different shape while still hitting many of the same beats in the long run.

We’re still a few months out from when The Wheel of Time will actually begin shooting, and so for the time being, all there is to do is wait and see.

[h/t WinterIsComing]

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Charles Pulliam-Moore is an NYC-based culture critic whose work centers on fandom, pop culture, politics, race, and sexuality. He still thinks Cyclops made a few valid points.



I really enjoyed the Wheel of Time books over the years, but man, they could have used some editing. The bit I remember most is when a character spends a page and a half looking around for a place to tie up her horse.

Several of the books felt like nothing more than padding between two other books, too. The whole series could have been condensed a lot.

That being said, I enjoyed it a great deal, and I’m looking forward to see what Amazon does with the story.