For those of us who are, first and foremost, book lovers, this news is bittersweet. Universal Pictures has announced that they have just purchased the film rights to one of the biggest fantasy epics of all time, The Wheel of Time.
Written by the late Robert Jordan, the 13-book series is nothing short of epic. Having sold over 44 million copies worldwide, and spawned a mass of byproducts like role-playing games and trading cards, not to mention comic books and your run of the mill fan sites, WoT is definitely a beloved series.
According to Variety, the adaptations will begin with the first book, The Eye of the World, which introduces us to the central characters who will take us throughout the series. Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon will produce for Red Eagle Entertainment, which published graphic novel adaptations of Jordan’s books.
The series will span twelve books when Brandon Sanderson, known for writing the book Elantris, completes the twelfth and final novel in Jordan’s series. Jordan, who knew his health was not good, made many notes and tapes of where the story would go and how it would finish. In addition, Jordan’s wife, Harriet McDougal, was always his editor, and will exercise a measure of control over Sanderson’s work to ensure her husband’s legacy is finished appropriately.
As for a movie series? My hopes are not good. While the first five books of the series were good, it all sort of started to fall a part after that. Books 6 and 7 were still measurably good, but books 8 and 9 all seem to halt. The story falls apart into a mass of minutia and irrelevance, and what is done in 3 and a bit books could have been done in one. Hence why I like book 7, it was a good book, but the following two were almost exactly the same. Even the back cover blurbs were similar.
Additionally, while the books make for great reading early on, I don’t know how well that could translate to film. I would be more than happy to see a series of mini-series, 6 or 12 episodes to each book, but that is unlikely. Of course, Empress Eve will tell you I am just a grumpy curmudgeon who doesn’t like any adaptation of a book into film, and she would be right.