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Bringing the Wheel of Time to the Screen


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#41 Altonahk

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:53 PM

After watching some quality Anime (It's not all sparkly, big eyes), I think it could be done that way. Watch some really good Anime, and you'll see what I mean. Then we wouldn't have to worry about finding actors that match the description, worry about age, or even have one actor for every person, some actors could actually perform several roles. It would have to be done carefully, but I think it could work. Especially sense there are already series that have done hundreds and hundreds of episodes.

#42 ccapel

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 03:13 PM

If we're talking about doing it right, it will have to be a series on HBO, Showtime, etc. Each episode an hour long.
Don't shy away from any of the violence, nudity, etc.

In about 10 to 15 years, Avatar-quality visual effects will not only be achievable on a TV budget, but will also require
less artists and talent to create. In my opinion the only way to do justice to the books is to do an all-CG series that
is stylized, but gritty and real at the same time.

Of course live action would be ideal, but to rope that many amazing actors into that long a contract would be next to impossible
if you wanted to keep the quality up. Also, your 3 main characters are all teenagers when the series starts. Impossible to
hide their aging.

You'd have to treat the One Power like it's own character. Part of why the books work so well is that it's not just, "The wizard
shot a fireball at the Ogre." No, there's a real science to how the One Power works, and one of my favorite things about the
books is how you gradually learn along with the characters what this power is capable of and how it changes and evolves. A ton
of time would have to go into defining what the threads look like, how weaves are formed, the visual differences between different
levels of ability, etc. Good lord it would be amazing if done right.

I don't understand why some of you would want to combine the first three books though. And keep the series to 6 seasons? Why?
Umm, how about 10 seasons. You cut out some stuff around books 7-10, but you could easily make the first three books the first
three seasons. Why not? They're the best IMO, and there's little to nothing worth cutting out. This series would compete to be
the biggest and most profitable of all time, easy. Any studio exec with a brain in his head would want to milk it for all it's worth.

Besides, the length and detail RJ goes into is what makes the books so great. He takes his time with the story. His characters
change in profound ways through lots and lots of experiences. Whoever makes this needs to recognize that that's why it works.
Because the fantasy genre is so dang silly to begin with, the only way to do it right is to treat it with complete and utter seriousness.
That's why Game of Thrones works, and Eragon doesn't. The WoT epitomizes this idea IMO.

I guarantee that if done right, by the end of the second season the WoT TV series is all anyone would be talking about.

Anyway, odds are Hollywood will cut it into 6 movies, ignore everything that's cool and ruin the rest.

#43 Werthead

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 08:07 AM

After watching some quality Anime (It's not all sparkly, big eyes), I think it could be done that way. Watch some really good Anime, and you'll see what I mean. Then we wouldn't have to worry about finding actors that match the description, worry about age, or even have one actor for every person, some actors could actually perform several roles. It would have to be done carefully, but I think it could work. Especially sense there are already series that have done hundreds and hundreds of episodes.


This isn't going to happen. Red Eagle and Universal have already spent substantial amounts of money developing the live-action option. Anime has a committed but small audience, and making an anime WHEEL OF TIME would not give Universal a return based on their investment so far, let alone the cost of making it. If you could make it a huge success in Japan and then translate it outside, that might work, but the only time a Japanese company was interested was on the basis that they'd make the first three books, turn the battle in the Stone of Tear into the Last Battle, and end the story there. Robert Jordan rejected that option.
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#44 Werthead

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:20 AM

Part 2 of the essays. Sorry it took so long to produce :)

In Part 1 (which you can find here) I argued that a screen adaptation of The Wheel of Time would work much better as a TV series than a series of films, the option currently being pursued by Red Eagle Entertainment and rights-holders Universal Studios. As discussed in that article, the story would have to be substantially gutted to work even as six 2-3 hour films, and much of the story from the books would be lost. My conclusion was that a TV series would be the only viable way for the books to be adapted to the screen.

Cable or network?
Once the conclusion is reached that the story must be adapted to television, the next question is whether a deal should be pursued with one of the big, universally-available TV networks in the USA (such as ABC or NBC), or with one of the smaller, but usually more flexible, cable networks. If we assume that HBO would not be interested because of their commitment to Game of Thrones, that leaves stations such as Starz, AMC and Showtime as possible contenders. The smaller cable stations, like SyFy, would almost certainly lack the resources to tackle the project with adequate funding.

This question is important for practical reasons. Most notably, the networks usually have longer seasons than cable. If this was the sole issue, in fact, it would be a no-brainer to go with a network. With 20-24 episodes per season, it would be easy to cover two or maybe even three books a season, easily enough to tell the whole story. This would even include the duller moments later on, though I would still argue in favour of condensing events in the third quarter of the series to maybe half the length of narrative they currently span, if not less, to improve pacing.

Of course, there are drawbacks to being on a network. The biggest are money and how much of a chance the series would be given to prove itself before cancellation. Networks are notoriously trigger-happy on cancelling shows early, even when prior evidence shows this to be a self-defeating practice. For example, Seinfeld was almost cancelled at birth due to low ratings, but given another chance and went on to become one of the biggest American TV shows of all time. This tendency increases exponentially the more money is poured into a project. The head of ABC was fired for profligacy after greenlighting Lost's pilot with an astonishing $15 million budget, even though it rewarded that investment by going on to become the biggest thing on TV for a couple of years. A Wheel of Time TV show would require more than the standard $2 million-per-episode budget common to network genre projects (Game of Thrones's budget is more like $6 million per episode, for comparison's sake), which would make it much more likely to be dropped should ratings not match expectations almost immediately.

That said, networks have become more willing to give shows a chance in the last few years. Fox gave both Dollhouse and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles two seasons each to prove themselves before cancelling them, apparently learning from the short-termism that led to the premature cancellation of Firefly several years earlier (later shown to be a mistake after impressive DVD box set sales). They've also shown a willingness to invest more money if the show is a success: Lost's budget (after the generously-budgeted pilot) reached $5 million per episode by the final season, whilst Heroes enjoyed $4 million per episode until its final season, when the budget was slashed in the face of sharply dropping ratings. Still, the greater risk of immediate cancellation makes the networks an uneasy choice to pursue.

On cable, the issues are different. First off, the success of Thrones on HBO means that the other big cable networks will almost certainly be receptive to having a fantasy TV project of their own, especially one where the books are (or were, before Game of Thrones started on TV, anyway) even more popular with an even larger fanbase and an even greater name awareness. Also, whilst the other cable companies don't have HBO's impressive financial resources, they can usually muster up larger budgets than most of the standard networks. Shows like The Tudors (on Showtime), The Walking Dead (on AMC) and Spartacus (on Starz) enjoy significantly more resources than most network shows, whilst not quite being in HBO's league.

The trade-off for more money is shorter seasons. 8-12 episodes per season is normal on a cable network, and 16 episodes (for Season 3 of The Walking Dead or Season 4 of Oz) is the absolute maximum, usually only possible after the show has been a proven success. This is a major limitation in adapting The Wheel of Time for a cable network. If we assume 12 episodes (probably the maximum realistic figure for the first season, at least), that means either hoping the series goes for 10+ seasons (highly implausible) or condensing the story down, which, if not handled right, could takes us back to the movie problem of the project not being worthwhile in the first place.

Length of the seasons
So the question becomes, how much time is necessary to tell the Wheel of Time story on TV? How many episodes should each book cover? Looking at Game of Thrones on HBO, the 800-page first novel had to have a noticeable number of minor plots (mostly flashbacks) and characters shaved off to fit into ten episodes. If for Wheel we accept that we have to cover a minimum of two books per season (meaning a seven season show) and, on cable, only twelve episodes per season will be available, that gives us the prospect of fitting each Wheel of Time novel into just six hour-long episodes.

This initially looks dubious, until several things are factored in. First off, six hours is still twice the absolute maximum length of a potential Eye of the World movie, and more likely closer to three times. So it's still the better option from a time perspective. In addition, Robert Jordan's natural verbosity and tendency towards detailed descriptions means that fitting 800 pages into six hours is actually more straightforward than it appears. The Eye of the World is marginally longer than A Game of Thrones (306,000 words to 298,000) but a plot summary of the former is much more straightforward. The plot is more linear with considerably fewer characters overall, and certainly far fewer 'main' characters (at least at this point). Unlike Thrones, the narrative doesn't need to cover three distinct and major storylines (and several smaller ones) unfolding thousands of miles apart. There is a section mid-book where the characters divide into three groups and reconvene a few chapters later on, but this is still less problematic than the issues faced by Thrones in its first season. The Great Hunt, which would form the remainder of a first season, would be slightly more challenging (due to the characters being apart for a much larger part of the book), especially from a budgetary standpoint given the action that takes place at sea, but time-wise it could fit into six episodes even more easily than the first book (it's somewhat shorter, to start with).

In short, although it would still be something of a squeeze, it should still be possible to fit The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt into twelve episodes. Given the superior budgets available on cable, and the greater likelihood of the show at least making it to a full season before cancellation is a danger, this leads me to conclude that pursuing an adaptation on one of the bigger US cable channels is the logical way to proceed, despite the tighter time constraints.

Next time (and hopefully not a year down the line!): shaping the entire story into a TV series and how future seasons would face the challenge of adapting both the longer books in the series and also handling the 'slower' books later on.
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#45 JustKidding

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 04:11 PM

I think it is really important to highlight the differences between the three sources of power-saidar, saidin and the"true" source. Some sort of effect in the early part of the series when Rand is still unused to grasping the source depicting the flame and the void is key. Maybe a close shot of rand closing his eyes, and then something sort of cheesy like a still frame of what he last saw getting compressed and fed into a small but intense flame. Cut to a shot of Rand standing on nothing with the raging, blinding sphere of saidin rising below him, he "grasps" it, sweat breaks out, makes some manly struggling noises, cut to POV shot with ultra-saturated colors and super high definition, does his weave instinctively or whatever. Saidar is tricky, but you could do something similar but with flower buds and lotus position, perhaps a calm imaginary mountain valley, complete with burbling brook. The "true" source and saa, however, have got to be really really crazy and violent and noisy, with lots of hissing and sparks and the like. You have to feel evil just watching the weaves. Grolm, raken, the ways, and portal stones will be expensive, as well as trollocs and myrdrall and sword fights, but %98 of the effects budget will be the OP. Gotta ger embracing/grasping right. Saidar and Saidin will have to look different as well Perhaps make saidar more sinuous and smooth looking? Saidin can be all rough, brusque and super fast. How to depict the DO's taint will be a problem too. gotta have it be a corolla around saidin during grasping scenes and have to depict it seeping into the brains of male channelers. Delving, of course, will be like x-rays and that one episode of the magic schoolbus all rolled together, but with a higher budget and no sneezing little red-headed kids. Angreal will pose an interesting question too. How to depict strength? with women, just make 'em glow brighter. I guess thicker weaves are acceptable too. also, where will the weaves spring from? Fire and air can come from, well, thin air, but what of the rest? can water only be weaved near water? i don't think that is a limitation. it would probably be bad to have these shiny tentacles just spring from people. kinda creepy. Please, make more comments, this is definitely what will make or break the film. If the channeling looks right, people will watch it even if the actors are shite, but if it doesn't look right, the film will be chewed up, swallowed, and vomited noisily down the drain of terrible fantasy adaptations. None of us want that. Especially not the drain people. Frankly I don't think it matters whether it is a movie or a tv series, but I'd go with tv series just because they could incorporate more of the story.

#46 Werthead

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 11:43 AM

Part 3 of the essays.

In the first two parts of this article series, I argued that the current plans by Red Eagle Entertainment and Universal to turn The Wheel of Time into a series of movies were impractical and unrealistic, and that adapting the books into an ongoing television series was more logical. This especially makes more sense in the wake of the success of fantasy TV projects such as Sky's Discworld TV movies and of course HBO's Game of Thrones. I concluded that getting the series made by one of the three big remaining cable channels (Starz, AMC or Showtime) was essential to give the project the right combination of high production values and a decent amount of time to adapt the complex storyline.

Story into Seasons
In the second article I suggested that it would be possible to adapt The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt (the first two books in the series) into one 12-episode television season. On paid cable, lacking advertisement breaks, this mean just under six hours to adapt each book to the screen (or three times as much time as a possible film adaptation). Whilst tight, this would be doable without too many storylines or characters cut. Later seasons could be more problematic (particularly adapting the 1,900 pages of the fifth and sixth books, The Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos, into just twelve hours) though the hope is that the series would be such a success that later seasons could expand to maybe 16 episodes each (as AMC has recently done with the third season of The Walking Dead).

At the same time, the later books in the series - particularly the eighth through eleventh - have some pacing problems and issues that the TV adaptation would do well to avoid by compressing the more stationary parts of the story into a shorter space of time, and perhaps moving things around.

Overall, I envisage the following structure as being potentially successful (note: SPOILERS for people who have not read the books):

Season 1: The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt
This season introduces the principal storylines and characters. Thematically it is Rand's story of self-discovery as he uncovers the truth of his birth and his destiny and initially tries to reject it. Season finale: the battle between Rand and Ba'alzamon at Falme and the destruction of the Seanchan expeditionary force by the Heroes of the Horn of Valere.

Season 2: The Dragon Reborn and The Shadow Rising
This season sees Rand investigate the truth of his background and what he is fated to do. He decides to seize the reigns and take control of his own destiny and recruit his own allies. Season finale: Rand uniting the Aiel clans at Alcair Dal.

Season 3: The Fires of Heaven and Lord of Chaos
The turning-point of the series as Rand (and, to a lesser extent, his friends) become famous and major players in the affairs of governments as the continent falls into warfare and chaos. Season finale: the Battle of Dumai's Wells, naturally.

Season 4: A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers and Winter's Heart
Rand consolidates his gains and alliances, confronts the resurgent Seanchan and, ultimately, challenges the Dark Ones taint on saidin. Season finale: the Cleansing.

Season 5: Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams and The Gathering Storm
Rand's journey into the heart of darkness and, ultimately, out of the other side. Season finale: Rand's epiphany atop Dragonmount and Egwene reunifying the Aes Sedai in the face of the Seanchan threat.

Season 6: Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light
Rand finally confronts the Dark One. Season/series finale: the Last Battle.

Of course, if the first two or three seasons are successful it might be possible to extend the series to seven seasons and cover two books per season, which would be easier in many ways. However, the slowing of the pace in the latter books as the story expands to cover ever more storylines and minor characters and the moving away of the focus from Rand and the other core characters is something that I feel on TV should be avoided. Post-Dumai's Wells, I also feel the story should start accelerating and moving decisively towards the ending.

With this structure, it should be possible to get the entire story of The Wheel of Time done in six years and 70-80 episodes. The majority of storylines and characters from the books would appear on-screen and the adaptation would be relatively faithful, and certainly far moreso than in a series of film adaptations.

Next time: the challenges of showing the One Power, Trollocs, Ogier and massive armies on a TV budget.

Edited by Werthead, 26 March 2012 - 12:44 AM.

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#47 EndlessCreation

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 03:46 PM

I found a rather convincing argument on how to construct the series in a most conceivable way, through film. While I much admire your efforts and great care to the subject and love reading it Werthead, I cannot imagine such a show coming out any time soon. While competing with Game of Thrones is surely something networks want to do at the moment, dedication to a series like this is going to be a massive undertaking far beyond what they might expect. If a TV series does appear, it might be a great many years until then.

Who is to say we can't have both created though? Surely not around the same time, but time to learn from certain things and get new takes. Think of the Dune movie and mini-series... Okay, maybe a bad example. The Shining movie and mini-series! Each has their different audience and takes on the story and each popular in their own right. It's just that my thought right now is on the fact that the fantasy genre in particular will want to be exploited as much as possible due to the demographic shift at the moment and a movie is much safer to greenlight than a TV series.

Enough with that though, on to the proposed solution. This comes from Phixius off of IMDB, and I think the general idea of it is rather clever. Surely people will find holes and shout nay-saying, but there is much to be said of what visual presentation can produce. I believe it could be an effective method, with some tweaks.

http://www.imdb.com/.../nest/192198670

"The movie opens with Rand's visions inside Rhuidean, giving the audience a crash course in the history of the world in which the story takes place, a la Galadriel's introductory monologue in Fellowship of the Ring. Show the title card as Rand returns with the rising sun, proving him the Car'a'Carn. Then we can flashback to spend the next hour and a half or so getting Rand back to that point. Focusing on Rand's story only, not showing any of what happened with Perrin or Mat when they weren't with Rand. Another hour and a half after we get caught up should see us through to the climax of The Fires of Heaven.

Boom. Movie one done, first five books knocked out.

Lord of Chaos gets its own movie because Dumai's Well's was too awesome not to be a climax. We'll flesh out the movie by flashingback to see Perrin's side and Mat's side of the story from The Two Rivers all the way to Dumai's Well's, as well as what Egwene, Nynaeve, and Elayne have been up to since the beginning.

Crown of Swords, Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, & Knife of Dreams get one movie together. They're all just so much setup to get everyone where they need to be for the series climax anyway. Cleanse saidin about 2/3 through.

Last three books get one, non-stop, full-tilt, balls-to-the-wall film. Like Return of the King was one battle after another. Deathly Hallows Part 2 was one long struggle. Wheel of Time 4 is "that" movie.

Of course, we periodically cut to see what the villains are up to at the respective points in each movie, as you do with any film.

That wasn't so hard, now was it? Four movies, each three/three-and-a-half hours."

Edited by EndlessCreation, 29 March 2012 - 03:47 PM.


#48 Werthead

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:04 PM

That's...a bizarre idea. What's the point of adapting The Wheel of Time for the screen if you cut out 90% of the story and most of the side-characters? Also, starting in media res and then flashing back to the start is an intriguing artistic idea, but it's just going to confuse the multiplex-going general audience, especially given the sheer mass of backstory needed to get back to that point.

No-one's saying any adaptation will be 100% faithful, or that the books could do with trimming of minor characters and less-relevant side-plots at times (and most of these cuts would have to fall in the Book 8-11 period) but I think that structure would be too destructive to the story itself to make it worthwhile. Starting with TEotW has some problems as it may come across as 'Tolkien-lite' and alienate potential viewers who don't stick around for when the story goes off in a radically different direction, but it's also the most logical place to start the story, either on TV or film (and, just to reiterate, if you try to do TWoT on film, you will fail).
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#49 EndlessCreation

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:24 PM

But at the same time, one must ask "What is the point of most of the side characters?". I fully agree with a lot of the complaints leeved against the series in being too prolific and long winded both in terms of writing and setting. Not every side character is necessary, like Elrond's sons in Lord of the Rings which played some part but were cut due to the story alterations which I think overall made a more profound impact. Certainly you need a lot of them, but their roles can be relegated and rearranged as need be. Even with as many characters as Game of Thrones keeps, they still cut many due to their lack of import.

Mainly the point that Phixus makes later on in that thread is the most important one. We know Rand will be the Dragon Reborn. It's impossible to deny or hide even from Book 1. Even if they alter that though, meta information will make it absolutely clear with things such as advertisements. There's so much needless set-up to the final conclusion of it all, though the other aspects of Rand's inner struggles are certainly worth covering.

And as it comes to the intro, the beginning of EotW is incredibly and needlessly simplistic. I think most certainly those areas should be told as a flashback (no matter the media) in order to understand Rand's character rather than introduce us to him. There's a lot that becomes rather pointless as it relates to the town and all. Overall, I just think it needs far more though in it than a straight run through of the books with minor alterations. The structure presented certainly has flaws, but would be a great way to introduce everything in a cohesive manner given the brevity of the work.

#50 Werthead

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:53 AM

To be clear, with a film series we are not talking about cutting minor side-characters of the leve of Elrond's sons (or, for GoT, say Mya Stone). You're talking about cutting the entire Seanchan cast of characters (and storyline, and everything to do with them). You're probably talking about cutting the Shaido out entirely (or at least reducing them to a barely-present subplot). You're talking about cutting Rodel Ituralde (probably the only interesting character to join the cast in the last few books), maybe Cadsuane and certainly 95% of the Aes Sedai from the books (though to be fair most of them could be cut, but you're still talking about cutting characters like Romanda and Lelaine who keep the tension going in the Egwene storyline). To turn the books into films will mean gutting them down to the point where there is almost nothing left.

To fit The Wheel of Time into six or seven movies - let alone four! - would mean losing, at a conservative estimate, 90% of the books. Robert Jordan knew that, which is why he often, publicly, said that the books should never be made into films, only a TV series. To me, those factors make the film option simply untenable.
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#51 HGGundamReviews

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:29 AM

Has Red Eagle made any recent statments on the status of this project? Seems the last thing I can find was some posts by a Larry Mondragon on Tarvalon.net, and those are a couple of years old now.

#52 EndlessCreation

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:59 PM

You see, as much as we may have an attachment to parts of the books, we need to ask ourselves certain questions when it comes to an adaptation. First off, is the culture really a focus of the novel? I think one thing people simply do not understand is that just because something is in a novel does not mean it's a focus. True there are varied and defined cultures throughout the books and the world that the characters live in plays a big part. Roles can still exist, but cultures do not have to. I find that Wheel of Time's draw comes in the extravagance of what has been created and how things tie together. The cultures though were just kinda 'eh' and I don't think deserve deep exploration in screentime. Game of Thrones, on the other hand, has entire character cruxes based on cultures like the Dothraki's superstition and the Night's Watch's honor code. Those are completely integral to making the story work in the way that it does. WoT has less emphasis on that even though it is a presence.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, I think the number one issue with trying to make it into a TV series is the pacing. Wheel of Time is wayyyyy faster paced in terms of actions than Game of Thrones. Another section where a presence does not mean a focus, the political workings of the WoT are nowhere near as in depth or integral as those in Game of Thrones. Wheel of Time is more about the growth of characters and creating something new in the world rather than seeking to simply use the pieces according to what groups think of each other. I'm not saying that a TV show with such a pace couldn't or hasn't worked before, but it risks the chance of becoming completely muddled if attempting to progress as a series. GoT is more than definitely a drama and carries that weight, but I would argue that WoT could be more defined as an adventure due to the entire set-up of everything. That means you can't have long and frequent periods of simple tension as a base for how things work out from a season or an episode. Again, not saying it couldn't be done, but cable shows have certain demands and higher standards.

Really I just think that people underestimate the visual medium because they've been so engrossed with literature over the years that they haven't taken the time to properly study otherwise. I know it seems like I offer no solution at all, and I don't because I don't exactly have a grasp of the industry. I don't know if you do, Wert, but you make it look like you do yet I can easily see the gaps comprised in you're "best" solution. Not to be shouty about anything like that because I know you haven't finished! I just find that films would suit the pace better whereas otherwise we'd create something too slow or too fast, and really the pacing is what's going to matter. It's what nearly killed the books.

#53 cjlittle

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:28 PM

Hi Yall,

So I have been a lurker on dragonmount for quite a long time. I decided to post here since allot of what has been said I agree with but it seems like a big circle talking about the same things over and over in a different light or with new found resolve. Has anyone thought about putting together a group of the "true Fans", those that would keep the spirit of the story, and put together an outline from EotW through AML? Just a thought that if we don't want to be disappointed when/if they do this then we should be the ones to put together how we want it. Maybe even one of us "True Fans" will end up being on the project.

If this has already been thought of and there is a write up somewhere let me know I would love to read it or be a part of it. Regardless I still love reading all the theories and debates for WoT.

#54 EndlessCreation

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 05:59 PM

There have been quite a few people attempting to decide the storyline that could be realistically covered over the course of a TV series. Wert, of course, has put his ideas in Part 3 of his analysis. Right here on the forum in the "TV Series" thread you can see a great many attempts of people attempting to condense the storyline down, though they are going far overboard of what Wert has taken to the assumption of. It's hard to know who really understands the production through and through and who will be willing to work aside one another for such an overall meaningless project, but it's not a bad idea to amalgamate thoughts together and have discussions about them. Just don't assume they will influence development in any way whatsoever because high profile projects like this are a business angle first.

#55 Werthead

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:11 PM

Has Red Eagle made any recent statments on the status of this project? Seems the last thing I can find was some posts by a Larry Mondragon on Tarvalon.net, and those are a couple of years old now.


No.

My understanding is that Red Eagle resold the rights to Universal Pictures, and they are developing the property. Red Eagle hold producer credits on the project but how much they are involved at a day-to-day level is unknown. What we do know is that a script was being written, but never announced as being completed. Several directors were reportedly interested, but none were ever named. The general theory is that the project has fallen foul of the urgent budget-cuts falling across Hollywood in the wake of the economic crisis (many c. $200m movie projects have been cancelled or had their budgets severely slashed).

That's also why that, though Universal and RE have been developed a movie option, it is still possible that they may decide to rejig it for TV, as it would cost far less money.

I would argue that WoT could be more defined as an adventure due to the entire set-up of everything


I agree, and I think this could work to its advantage. GoT has an issue with there being lots of set-up in each book before a big finale but not necessarily lots of action earlier on (obviously with some exceptions). WoT doesn't have this for the first few books, there's action beats, mini-climaxes and dramatic peaks throughout the books with a larger cartharsis at the end (which works well for TV due to the insistence on end-of-season climaxes or finales: tell me that the Cleansing and Dumai's Wells wouldn't make for great season finale episodes :) ).

Whilst some people moan a lot about WoT's enormous cast and its huge length, it's actually in many ways better-suited for a TV adaptation than GoT. It doesn't front-load an enormous cast onto the viewer, it builds up to it over quite a few books (so it would take 2-3 seasons to build up to the major cast that GoT has by the end of its first season) and it has more episodic adventure moments that could be condensed down into single episodes. Later on, things change a lot more, but by that point, if the show is a success, you can handle those storylines in various ways.

I don't know if you do, Wert, but you make it look like you do yet I can easily see the gaps comprised in you're "best" solution. Not to be shouty about anything like that because I know you haven't finished! I just find that films would suit the pace better whereas otherwise we'd create something too slow or too fast, and really the pacing is what's going to matter


I have studied the development processes of TV shows and films to a reasonable degree over the course of about 20 years :) One of my friends was a jobbing director for TV and commercials for a while (before leaving to become a teacher) and I know a few actors who've worked in both TV and film. So I have as good a knowledge as I think it's possible to get without actually working deeply in the business (and if I was, I wouldn't have time to post here!).

For the pacing issue, I think that is indeed key, but I also think films will wreck the pacing far more than any TV adaptation would. The pacing would have to be so fast and so much would have to be dropped to service it, the story would be the bare bones of what we have in the books. Whilst we definitely don't need hours spent on covering the events of Crossroads of Twilight, we do need more than two or three hours to cover The Eye of the World or The Shadow Rising, otherwise the thing is just not going to work.

Food for thought: the final HARRY POTTER novel, the one split into two movies for length, was only 198,000 words long. The Eye of the World is 302,000 words long. 2-3 hours just isn't going to cut it.
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#56 Aquila Infernus

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:37 PM

I have to withdraw my support for the film adaptation, but swap sides and advocate a TV series. Game of Thrones shows it can be done. Werthead's essays are excellent pieces on the viability of series.

#57 EndlessCreation

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:33 PM

I agree, and I think this could work to its advantage. GoT has an issue with there being lots of set-up in each book before a big finale but not necessarily lots of action earlier on (obviously with some exceptions).


Really? Even though the early WoT books have a lot going on in terms of action, that doesn't necessarily mean there's a lot going on in terms of plot. GoT is always about constantly moving the plot forward and because a lot of it is just people talking, that's a huge chunk of budget that is relegated just to set design. I feel like trying to go the TV route would still end up ruining the pacing of it because of that.

WoT doesn't have this for the first few books, there's action beats, mini-climaxes and dramatic peaks throughout the books with a larger cartharsis at the end (which works well for TV due to the insistence on end-of-season climaxes or finales: tell me that the Cleansing and Dumai's Wells wouldn't make for great season finale episodes :) ).


Not saying they wouldn't be awesome climaxes, but like Phixus pointed out, Dumai's Wells is too awesome to not have as a climax. And given the absolute size of that particular battle, the way it would work on TV would be extremely disappointing.

Whilst some people moan a lot about WoT's enormous cast and its huge length, it's actually in many ways better-suited for a TV adaptation than GoT. It doesn't front-load an enormous cast onto the viewer, it builds up to it over quite a few books


TOO MUCH BUILD-UP. Wayyy too much. Like I said, the opening of EotW is needlessly simplistic. If they go down any route, it would do them a lot of favors to excise that clearly non-indicative opening to be relegated to flashbacks. It worked in Lord of the Rings because the entire nature of the hobbits depended on seeing that lifestyle beforehand. I don't think any of the adventurers really needs to be shown in that lifestyle for any extended period. I think fantasy is well-served to adding a lot of information because of its impact on the viewer. Again, pacing is key, and I do not think we need so much build-up for what are ultimately simple concepts.


The pacing would have to be so fast and so much would have to be dropped to service it, the story would be the bare bones of what we have in the books.

I just don't think so, thus why I posted what I did before. There is a whole lot of room for expansion on the ideas presented, like the interesting ways they could create the multiple perspectives and flesh out the world. As it comes to Rand's journey though, that stuff needs a grand scale to it beyond anything else. The smartest way to do that, IMO, is to present his character arc faster and then work with the character going forward. There are certainly a lot of issues to be sorted out and I don't think anyone here could ever really comprehend them fully. I'm in no way saying that I'm right, or that anyone is, but it's something to think about beyond idealism.

As much as it may sound, I'm not opposed to a TV series. Game of Thrones has certainly opened up a lot of avenues and could help bring these pieces to the screen. The biggest thing though is that it doesn't seem to have a great outline to suit that medium. Game of Thrones was nearly made for TV, and certainly HBO. Wheel of Time? Feels much more like a movie, not just in scale and pacing but simply the way the narrative flows. Of course, that flow is constantly interrupted as we go forward, and thus why I feel confident in saying that a lot should be excised.

It's just my thought that as it comes to studio "competition" in television, you never release direct competition. Literally if this product popped up before GoT finished its run, people would be ratting on it before it gets out of the gate for attempting to ride the success. Fair? A bit yes, a bit no, but that's my greatest fear with it. This bad hype could lead to poor or rushed production and ultimately an unsatisfactory product. We all want something that is at least good.

#58 Vieira151

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:08 PM

You know what? I would be happy if they made just one move. Make the Eye of the World. If it is a success, make the next one. If it fails, just leave it as a standalone film, or try and get to the Dragon Reborn and leave it there (since that seems like a decent finishing point for a trilogy). Maybe someone will remake them or carry on the series in the future, or maybe make a TV series later on. There are just so many set pieces in the books that I think would benefit from the cinema greatly.

I dunno, I would be happy with just 1 or 2 films. For a start, I'd love to see the end of tGH on screen. Would be mindblowing even if it's only done decently. I'd also love to see the breaking at the cinema. It just wouldn't affect the viewer as much as if it was on TV, in my opinion.

Well, she(Lanfear) almost rode Rand like the cowboy that he is back in TSR. Asmodean got in the way and cock-blocked her though.


#59 TheePazuzu

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:41 PM

I have read the series quite a few times but recently a friend gave me their old ipod, cut a story short they had somehow compressed the whole series on audio onto it. I was going to clear it and just put my music on it instead, the voices used I found annoying. Anyway I persisted and eventually it was pretty good.
However I don’t know how many people have listened to the entire series, well most of it, but eventually it begins to raise some questions that you’re unaware while simply reading the books. It’s a bit of emperor’s new clothes at times. I don’t want to waste things for fans but you become aware problems in the books you never noticed previously.

I’ll just name one at the moment rather than empty them all out.

(Spanking) and the threat of spanking, Christ there’s an inordinate quantity of it, you kind of blank it out when reading but whilst listening it’s there continually. The female characters dialogue is basically at times centred around it, with the best will in the world no movie or TV series can develop a screen play when this crucial element of female interaction is so frequently referred to in the series.

They don’t make movies or TV series just for fans and if they used spanking more than twice in the whole series it would probably once too often, it would make it a laughing stock. You can imagine, oh have you seen that new S&M fantasy TV series.

If think I am imagining a problem then you need to think again, what the hell was RJ thinking about? But I suppose he wasn’t thinking screen plays.

Edited by TheePazuzu, 19 April 2012 - 12:49 PM.


#60 Edynol

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:42 PM

I like the idea about a cable network series like Game of Thrones or Spartacus. I mean, they can leave out quite a bit and still do the books justice. Like all the stops Rand and Mat make between losing Thom and Caemlyn. Hell there are a few whole chapters they could leave out that I wouldn't care about. lol.