Wednesday 13 August 2008

Universal Pictures acquires rights to Wheel of Time

Taken from

Universal Pictures has acquired film rights to the late Robert Jordan's best-selling Wheel of Time series of fantasy novels in a seven-figure deal, Variety reported. Big-screen adaptations of the books will begin with the first book in the cycle, The Eye of the World.

Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon will produce for Red Eagle Entertainment, which published graphic-novel adaptations of Jordan's books. The Wheel of Time follows, among its dozens of characters, Rand al'Thor, the latest incarnation of a force for good called "The Dragon." Rand is born to fight an evil character called Shai'tan.

The Wheel of Time books have sold 44 million copies worldwide and have spawned computer, trading-card and role-playing games; a soundtrack; comic books; and numerous fan sites. The four most recent installments have reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list.

Jordan died last year at 58, but the final book in the series is still set for publication in fall 2009, with fellow fantasy scribe Brandon Sanderson writing the novel's conclusion from Jordan's notes and tapes.

I'm not really sure what to make of this. For a start - if any movies are made - it'll be years before the first one materialises. So, how will they work this? A film for each book? I can't see them making that many movies. Given that by all accounts some of the books contain minimal plot advancement, they could probably squeeze two or three books into one three-hour movie.

In any case, it'll be interesting to see what develops. While I'm not a fan of Jordan (did really like TEOTW though) I sincerely hope that the movies are good, as epic fantasy is still really poorly represented in film.


Todd Newton said...

I'm with you, James. These announcements make me both happy and worried.

Frankly, I hope they don't do what they "had to do" with the later Harry Potter movies and cut out "non-essential" plot elements just to wedge in everything they could into a single-film-per-book. Since the Wheel books are soooo increeeeedibly looong, I too will be anxious to see what kind of screenplay Hollywood can barf up to represent the mighty volumes.

I'll go see it, I'll say that much.

Mark Newton said...

My money's on one massive film that never ends, and most of the audience will walk out after two hours once the camera spends ten minutes panning across some woman's dress.

Todd Newton said...

Not if she's hot...