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The Wheel of Time is Too Long

Despite a large fanbase, Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time Series may never be adapted into films.

By Futurism StaffPublished 8 years ago 11 min read

"Surprising what you can dig out of books if you read long enough, isn’t it?" Character Rand spoke these words in The Shadow Rising: Book Four of The Wheel of Time but they are just as true for the series itself. The book series, The Wheel of Time has become a sensation amongst young and adult readers alike. A mystical and fantastic storyline makes it appealing to all. The book has sold very, very well and is among the best fantasy books of all time. Many fans of this innovative and exploratory series believe that it deserves a movie like its counterparts Eragon, Divergent, Hunger Games etc. While a film on The Wheel of Time would be most intriguing, the likelihood of it ever happening is very, very slim.

The basic premise and storyline The Wheel of Time has enamored some, while confusing or outright disgruntling others. This series is one of high fantasy, written by American author James Oliver Rigney Jr., who used the pen name Robert Jordan. The Wheel of Time canon spanned 14 volumes, with a companion book and prequel novel to accompany the series. Robert Jordan began writing the first volume, The Eye of the World, in 1984 and it was published in January 1990. This magnificently large storyline made it a chore just to figure out and many screenwriters who considered turning the books into films simply gave up on the prospect believing it to be outlandish.

The Wheel of Time series derived many of its core elements and stories from European and Asian mythology. Perhaps most notable are the amorphous concepts of balance and duality, the cyclical nature outlined in Buddhism and Hinduism, and a deep and profound respect for nature found in almost all religion. Furthermore, the creation story outline in The Wheel of Time is quite obviously similar to the Christian conception of the creation story.

Renowned for its sheer length, The Wheel of Time's story revolves around a deity known as the Creator who made the universe and the mythical Wheel of Time, which oversees the existence of everything. The Wheel has seven spokes, each of which represents a period of history, and rotates by the influence of the One Power. There exist, in the story, humans who can use this power. They are called "channelers."

The Creator—the one compared to the Christian God—having imprisoned its antithesis, Shai'tan, an experiment mistakenly releases Shai'tan's influence into the world. After this event, he is the story's principal antagonist who promises power and immortality to those who aid and abet his endeavor towards total freedom. A century after the initial leak of the prison, war occurs between the forces of the darkness and those of the light, until the chieftain; Lews Therin Telamon leads a force of channelers and soldiers to re-incarcerate Shai’tan and secure the prison. Seeing this, Shai’tan inflicts a malediction that drives male channelers of the One Power insane. The male channelers create earthquakes and tsunamis, permanently altering the landscapes of Earth in an event that comes to be known as "The Breaking of the World." Lews Therin himself mercilessly slays his friends and family, and is known afterwards as "Kinslayer." Given a moment of sanity by a servant of Shai’tan, Lews Therin tragically commits suicide. When the novels really begin, most people live with technology and culture roughly parallel to that of Olden Europe.

via Observation Deck

This storyline, while rich in content, has been noted for being unprecedentedly difficult to adopt in a palatable screen format thus most in the industry have abandoned the prospect. Those who still do pursue it face even more hurdles that will likely prevent it from becoming a movie. Ultimately, The Motley Fool put it best when it said; "In short, this series is larger than life. It's far too big for a traditional movie series in the Lord of the Ringsstyle. It's "big" both in terms of length and depth—and the existing Wheel of Time fan base would swear off the filmed version in disgust if it was found lacking in nuanced detail. Sword duels must be choreographed like ballet numbers. You should be able to tell a Tairen noble apart from a Cairhienin peer by their dress codes alone."

Anyone who wanted to make a movie of this expansive series would face another large hurdle; the rights. Currently, the film rights to The Wheel of Time are owned by Comcast, yet they have showed little to no interest in adapting the series into film. While Comcast may decide to sell the rights in the future to a company like Netflix orAmazon who would adopt it into an expansive series, it is astronomically unlikely they will sell it to a film company to see it adapted into a bona fide feature film.

On the flip side, the theoretical purchaser of the rights would not find it lucrative to—for lack of a better word—demote the series to a feature film. Its large and detailed storyline make it more suited for a smaller project than spans a great deal of time rather than a feature film which has only two hours to explicate to newcomers the story while satiating nit-picky fans. Not only would that be disappointing to fans but it would also cost more money generate less money. Why? Well, if the producer were to milk the series to its full potential he would have hours upon hours of source material to work with. This time would be better spent in a TV series rather than on a feature film.

Ultimately, while series like The Wheel of Time have enamored fans for decades, it is farfetched to believe that the series, as a whole, will follow the same path as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. The series is simply too large and the process of actually being able to make the movie too complex that it is not even profitable for any theoretical producer to make it. There is much to be said for the vault of content that future generations may see adapted for the big screen. The following fantasy book series are part of that ever growing creative output from fan favorite creative writers.

via CS Hand

The Kingkiller Chronicle is Not Ideal for Film, Either

The Kingkiller Chronicle is a fantasy trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss. It chronicles the life and times of Kvothe, a magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The books are meta-mythology written like science fiction. They are stories within stories within stories, often commenting on the facets, intricacies, and issues of storytelling itself. It's also a classic coming-of-age story with a protagonist who is living in a very scientific world and is generally involved in overcoming very science fiction like dilemmas.

Ranked second to Games of Thrones as the best-selling fantasy series, it comes along with a rich and multilayered world that lends itself to exploration. So, why has this epic story not been filmed yet? The Kingkiller Chronicle is an ultimate story that covers a broad set of genres. Part coming-of-age drama, part epic action adventure, and part revenge thriller, The Kingkiller Chronicle is always in the risk of potential destruction as a filmed material. Remember The Dresden Files TV series? That was a result of creators being unfaithful to the story and characters. But is it a good thing that it has not been filmed yet? Maybe we had enough of fantasy films. Even those series backed by renowned studios and a great team, seem to have failed in managing their operations smoothly.

Take Game of Thrones for example. A grand studio, a solid team, marvelous effects and yet the series is fried up in between expectation and delivery. And the towering cost of making a film that covers such a scale is another challenge in itself. Film production budget has risen to a new height. With an average cost of $65 million per movie, we can imagine the cost of filming a movie based on The Kingkiller Chronicle can certainly break a record. Besides, there is magic. One of the greatest things about the magic in this world is the explanation and "science" behind it all. Magic in Kvothe's world is loosely based on thermodynamics. And do you know what does a film that exploits such an extent of storytelling require? Yes, cash! A lot of cash! And what about the characters? The characters need justification. Can we find that one true Kvothe who will remain committed to the role? It's hard. And it gets harder as people are attuned to watching smart shows.

On the other hand, maybe not. It is the golden age of movies. The production of a large number of internationally acclaimed programs shows that the thirst for fine programs has yet to be quenched. We are blessed with technology that has contributed to creating realistic visual scenes. Maybe we should film the series. We have already seen the love for fantasy movies. A fantasy series is a perfect dish for the international audience. No doubt that Game of Thrones has left an everlasting taste. It also proves, nevertheless, that a great story, if produced in a well-managed fashion, can overcome any challenge. Maybe that is the very reason why after Game of Thrones, every series seem so bland. The Kingkiller Chronicle, no doubt, is a great novel. But filming a novel is completely different thing. There is the difference of storytelling and timing. Patrick Rothfuss has already expressed his feeling about the restriction a movie would create to his world. The author has already mentioned that he had sold the rights to make a TV show based off of The Kingkiller Chronicles. But it didn’t work out.

"The Kingkiller Chronicle revolves around characters. They are about secrets and mysteries and the hidden turnings of the world. My books are all about anticipation. And a movie, even a long movie, simply doesn’t have enough time to fit all of that stuff in," blogged the author. In the premise where the author himself is so uncertain on his ideas being filmed in a manner appeasing him, a struggle is quite visible. However, that is not the end of it all. Any author anticipates that a Hollywood studio would not treat them like a human being, let alone want to work with them as a creative partner. Working for a movie might be the greatest nightmare for them. They seek and deserve respect; respect the fact that they do, in fact, know a lot about how their stories work. So amidst all these trepidations, expectations and reality, we can confirm that filming The Kingkiller Chronicle is not a mundane task in any way. So, unless some studio appears in front of Patrick Rothfuss with the ideal deal (A TV Series) while granting him the creative freedom he demands, watching a film based on The Kingkiller Chronicle might just be another desire that the fans of this series wish for every now and then.

via FanArt

Earthsea Must Be Carefully Considered Before Film Adaptation

Earthsea is a colossal archipelago of both diminutive and large islands with intensive trappings of classical fantasies: enchantment, wizards, powers, and dragons. The uniqueness in the author’s writing comes from the shunning of normal characters and swift fixes regular in fantasy and the collective truths that are illuminated. Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea focuses strongly on language and identity. Spoken or unspoken words have the potential to bring disturbance to the entire world or restoration to all human beings and dragons. People possess at least one username in their lifetime, a true name bestowed to them upon completing the childhood stage and is rarely made known to others. This name is actually very crucial to their identity, which upon being revealed strengthens their personality. The author has succeeded in devising an inductive alternate world. The pace of this book is incredibly brisk. The author maneuvers from one contextual aspect to another while concentrating on exhaustion of the essentials, and ignoring less important fillers or padding.

In 2004, a TV adaptation of Earthsea was attempted, but failed by the Sci Fi channel. The adaptation immensely annoyed Le Guin and followers of the Earthsea series by casting Caucasians to play Ged and the entire team of characters. This team also included numerous original characters; including Arcmagus, Tygath, Marion, Diana, and Penelope ,who were termed as "Kargide" rather than Kargish or Karg. The religious endeavors of Atuan were changed, and the celibacy of Earthsea wizards was diminished.

The inhabitants of Earthsea are mostly Native Americans belonging to the southern and eastern regions; they portray a darker brown complexion with black hair. In the series adaptation, however, most people resemble flaxen northern Europeans. Le Guin has condemned the preconceived idea that in fantasy all characters should be white and that the society should bear a resemblance to the middle ages. While The Kingkiller Chronicle would do better as a show than a film, it seems that Earthsea requires some extra care to be taken no matter which type of on-screen adaptation is made.


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Futurism Staff

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