Rafe Judkins Interview: The Wheel of Time | Screen Rant

Rafe Judkins is the showrunner for Prime Video's upcoming epic fantasy saga The Wheel of Time. Based on the novels by Robert Jordan, the show will follow Rosamund Pike's Moiraine Sedai as she seeks to protect a group of five villagers from Emond's Field while serving her own goals of fulfilling the prophecy of the Dragon Reborn. Judkins is a noted fan of the novels, of which there are 14.

Related: How The Wheel Of Time Fixes A Common Fantasy Remake Problem

Screen Rant sat down with Judkins to discuss what it was like to adapt The Wheel of Time as a longtime fan, the pacing of the series, and what's in store for the rest of season 1.

Screen Rant: I'm a huge fan of the novels like yourself and I imagine it's quite difficult adapting something you love so much. Were there any particularly difficult cuts or changes that you had to make or something that you missed out on showing that you really wanted to?

Rafe Judkins: I mean, you could do so many interviews about that, about things that I had to cut out that I didn't want to. I tried more than anything to just stick close with the emotional stories of the characters and be able to play those out through the three [episodes]. For instance, I love the journey that Matt and Rand went on of going from village to village, inn to inn, sleeping on the side of the road. There's so much of that in that first book that I loved.

And we, for production reasons, but also storytelling space reasons, had to condense that down into the one town that you saw in episode three. That's an example of what we tried to do sometimes - keep the spirit of that whole story that they had, but convey it in something that could be eight episodes of television.

The pace of the first three episodes is so quick and you go through so much of the story relatively fast. How do you know when to really slow down and sit with the characters versus picking it up with the action and moving faster?

Rafe Judkins: We have to move at an incredible pace to do eight episodes a season. Even just adapting one book in eight episodes is very difficult. So the pace will always be high because of that. If Amazon's listening I would love to have 10 episodes to do in a season.

But you know, doing it in eight episodes means that our pace will always be high, but we have to stop down. And more than anything, I will always try to find the scenes that explain the emotional journeys of the characters or that make it clear where they're going to be headed later. Set up relationships that will be important in later books so that we don't just have to... the one thing I don't want to do is land in something in season three if we're lucky enough to get it, and we didn't set it up properly in season one. So now these two characters are just colliding for no reason. So we've taken special time to try to lay all the threads that we need for future seasons if the series gets to continue.

Is there anything you can tease about season 1 in one or two words? Maybe anything that's particularly exciting to you. 

Rafe Judkins: I will give you three words that I think are exciting. It will be exciting to book fans. Aiel. And The Ways.

More: Wheel of Time Can't Compete With Game of Thrones (And Why It Shouldn't Try)

The Wheel of Time premieres on Prime Video on November 19.

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