Amazon’s The Wheel of Time season 1: release date, cast, plot, trailer and more

It’s time to start counting down the days to your next fantasy TV show binge watch. The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan’s best-selling fantasy novel series, is coming soon to Amazon Prime Video – and it’s set to be a big deal. 

With the live-action adaptation recently receiving a more concrete release date, there’s no better time to prepare yourself for The Wheel of Time season 1. Below, we’ve covered what you need to know about the show before its arrival, including its launch window, cast, plot details, teasers, how many seasons there could be and more.

Bear in mind that we’re entering spoiler territory for The Wheel of Time’s book series from this point on. If you want to go into the TV show with very little knowledge of what it actually is, turn back now. Otherwise, read on for everything we know about it so far. 

The Wheel of Time season 1 release date: 2021 

The Wheel of Time season 1 doesn’t have an official launch date, but we know it’ll be coming later this year.

As revealed on the official Amazon Studios’ Twitter account on June 30, The Wheel of Time’s first instalment will arrive in 2021:

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Given that we’re halfway through the year, our prediction is that season 1 will premiere in the last three months of the year. That will ensure that Amazon Prime makes the most of audiences staying inside to stream new movies and TV shows when it’s cold outside (in the northern hemisphere, at least). 

The Wheel of Time season 1 plot: what’s it about? 

(Image The Wheel of Time on Twitter)

Spoilers for The Wheel of Time book series follow.

The Wheel of Time is a convoluted story. The book series, which was completed by fellow fantasy author and Wheel of Time fan Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007, comprises 14 novels and, much like Game of Thrones, it has a stacked list of characters and locations, as well as multiple plot threads to follow.

If its story is a fantasy epic that will span multiple seasons (more on this later), then, what do we know about season 1’s specific plot?

When Amazon announced that it was adapting Jordan’s literary works back in 2018, a report from Deadline provided a brief synopsis of what we can expect from The Wheel of Time season 1.

Set in an unnamed world (fans call it The Randlands or The World of the Wheel), The Wheel of Time follows Rand al’Thor, a humble boy who lives in a small village known as the Two Rivers.

After Rand’s home is attacked by the Dark One, an evil entity who wants to destroy the world, he’s rescued by Moiraine Damodred, a powerful magician and member of a secret all-female organization called the Aes Sedai.

Believing that the Dark One was seeking out the Dragon Reborn – a prophesied champion of light who could defeat the lord of evil – Moiraine leads Rand on a dangerous, continent-spanning journey that will decide the fate of the world.

Rand, though, isn’t the only character who could be the so-called Dragon Reborn. His male friends – Matrim ‘Mat’ Cauthon and Perrin Aybara – may also be the ancient hero that Moiraine seeks.

Joining Moiraine, Rand, Mat and Perrin on their adventure are Rand’s female friend Egwene al’Vere, Two Rivers’ wise woman Nynaeve al’Meara, and Moiraine’s Warder companion Lan Mandragoran. 

Together, the group hope to defeat the Dark One for good, but their journey will be far from straightforward.

Outside of this synopsis, little is known about the show’s plot. However, while you may think that season 1 will only focus on the series’ first book – The Eye of the World – that won’t be the case.

Responding to fans during an Instagram Live Q&A, showrunner Rafe Judkins (Agents of SHIELD, Hemlock Grove) revealed that season 1 is “adapting the whole series, not just Eye of the World”, which suggests that we’ll be seeing plot points from other books in season 1, too.

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One element (from The Eye of the World) that will be included in season 1 is the ruby-hilted dagger. In the novels, this is an artifact of Shadar Logoth, an ancient city that fell to ruin after it embraced the darkness that its inhabitants had fought hard to stave off.

The dagger is consumed with evil and manipulates whoever comes into its possession, which spells danger for one of the series’ most prominent characters.

In February, Amazon released a teaser trailer that showed one individual coming across the dagger. We won’t reveal which character that is due to spoilers but, if you want to find out who it’ll be, check out the tweet below:

We’ll also see the Heron Mark Blade included in season 1. In the novels, blademasters may decorate their swords with a heron mark, particularly if they have mastered the art of sword-to-sword combat.

Again, this weapon has a fairly prominent role in proceedings (no spoilers again), so its inclusion isn’t a surprise. In December 2020, Amazon released a teaser of how its creative team had crafted the blade for the show:

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The Wheel of Time season 1 episodes: how many are there? 

Season 1 will comprise six episodes. This was confirmed on the Writers’ Guild of America West website in December 2020, alongside the titles for each entry: 

Episode 1 – LeavetakingEpisode 2 – Shadow’s WaitingEpisode 3 – A Place of SafetyEpisode 4 – The Dragon RebornEpisode 5 – Blood Calls BloodEpisode 6 – The Flame of Tar Valo

How long will each episode be? Judkins has revealed that season 1’s entries will clock in between 50 and 65 minutes.

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As for who is directing the episodes, Uta Briesewitz (Stranger Things, Westworld) is helming the first two entries. Wayne Yip (Hunter, Lord of the Rings) is also directing two episodes, while Salli Richardson-Whitfield (NCIS, Altered Carbon) is helming the other two.

Judkins has written the script for the pilot, while episodes two through five have been penned by Amanda Kate Shuman (The Blacklist), Mike and Paul Clarkson (The Haunting of Bly Manor), Dave Hill (Game of Thrones), Celine Song (in her TV writer’s debut) and Justine Juel Gillmer (The 100) respectively.

The Wheel of Time season 1 cast: who is playing who? 

Concept art for Amazon Prime's The Wheel of Time season 1

(Image The Wheel of Time on Twitter)

As we mentioned, there are lots of characters in The Wheel of Time. It’s unsurprising, then, that season 1’s cast is a sizable one.

Below, we’ve listed the main (and most prominent supporting) characters who will appear in season 1:

Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al’Meara Barney Harris as Matrim ‘Mat’ Cauthon Madeleine Madden as Egwene al’Vere Daniel Henney as Lan Mandragoran Sophie Okonedo as Siuan Sanche Kae Alexander as Min Forshaw Michael McElhatton as Tam al’Thor Alvaro Morte as Logain Ablar Juliet Howland as Natti Cauthon Christopher Sciueref as Abell Cauthon Lolita Chakrabarti as Marin al’Vere Michael Tuahine as Bran al’Vere Alexandre Willaume as Thom Merrilin Johann Myers as Padan Fain 

Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, I Care a Lot) is the biggest name attached to the series. The actress will play Moiraine, the Aes Sedai who leads Rand and his friends on their journey. She’s also known as “Alys” in the book series.

Josha Stradowski (Gewoon Vrienden) will portray Rand in his first major TV role. The Dutch actor is joined by Marcus Rutherford (Bulletproof), Zoë Robins (Black Christmas), Barney Harris (The Hollow Crown) and Madeleine Madden (Picnic at Hanging Rock) as Perrin, Nynaeve, Mat and Egwene respectively.

Curiously, Rutherford’s Perrin Aybara was the most difficult character to adapt, according to Judkins. Speaking during an Instagram Live Q&A, Rudkins revealed why Perrin was so hard to get right:

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According to the series’ IMDB page, Sophie Okonedo (His Dark Materials, Ratched) is the only other series regular alongside the six previously mentioned actors. She’ll play another Aes Sedai in Siuan Sanche, who also goes by pseudonyms “Suki” and “Mara” in the novels. Siuan doesn’t appear in the books until the second instalment – The Great Hunt – which means that season 1 will adapt multiple novels, as Rudkins confirmed in the above tweet.

Kae Alexander (Fleabag, Infinite) will play Min Farshaw in three of season 1’s six episodes. In Jordan’s books, Min is one of Rand’s lovers, but it’s unclear if Amazon’s adaptation will retain this plot point or not. We suspect it will, if Alexander features regularly in season 1.

There are plenty of other cast members in The Wheel of Time season 1. However, the vast majority will only appear in one episode, and those listed above (who we haven’t mentioned yet) are arguably the most important out of its supporting cast.

Daniel Henney (Criminal Minds) will play Lan Mandragoran, the uncrowned king (and sole survivor) of Malkier and Moiraine’s Warder. In the books, Warders are bonded to Aes Sedai through saidar – the female component of the One Power, the source of the Aes Sedai’s magic – to be their bodyguards.

Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones) portrays Rand’s adopted father Tam, Alvaro Morte (Money Heist) plays an Asha’man of the Black Tower called Logain Albar, and Alexandre Willaume (Deep State) has been cast as Thom Merrilin, a bard who accompanies Moiraine’s group.

Juliet Howland (Doctors) and Christopher Sciueref (Cardinal Burns) will play Mat’s parents Natti and Abell Cauthon, and Lolita Chakrabarti (Silent Witness) and Michael Tuahine (The Time of Our Lives) will portray Egwene’s mother and father. Finally, Johann Myers (Snatch) will feature as Padan Fain, a secondary antagonist in the books.

There’s no word on who will star as the villainous Dark One yet but, given the series’ antagonist is a sentient, cosmic force, it’s likely that the show will only require a voice actor to portray them in Amazon’s adaptation.

The Wheel of Time season 1 trailer: is there one? 

Sort of. In May 2021, Amazon released two very brief teaser trailers for the series. These videos showed Pike’s Moiraine and Henney’s Lan, but didn’t give any details away about their characters or the plot. 

With the show’s tentative release date now unveiled, we may get a proper trailer soon. Once we do, we’ll let you know. 

The Wheel of Time season 1 sequels: will there be more seasons? 

Yes. As revealed by the TV series’ official Twitter account on May 20, The Wheel of Time has already been renewed for a second season: 

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In a separate tweet, Judkins also stated that the show’s writers were already hard at work on the next instalment. Amanda Kate Shuman has already written the first episode of season 2, according to the above tweet. 

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As for how many seasons there will be, there won’t be 14. As we said earlier, Judkins confirmed that each season would combine books from Jordan’s literary works as, given how complicated the story is, it would takes a long time to finish the TV series: 

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How many seasons could we see then? The Wheel of Time spans 14 volumes in total, but there’s also a prequel novel and two companion books to take into consideration.

With 17 books to draw from across this fantasy epic, we wouldn’t be surprised if two or three novels are used per season. If we’re right, Amazon’s Wheel of Time could take six to seven seasons to reach its conclusion.

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