Robert Jordan’s fantasy epic The Wheel of Time is one step closer to showing up on our television screens. Variety is reporting that Red Eagle Entertainment and Sony have reached a deal to develop a series based on the fourteen book saga. Radar Pictures will also produce.
Rafe Judkins has been hired to write and showrun the series, and Jordan’s widow Harriet McDougal will serve as a consulting producer.
Red Eagle Entertainment has been trying to get this deal done with Sony for two years now, and went so far as to shoot a bizarre adaptation of the prologue of The Eye of the World called Winter Dragon to keep the rights. I’m honestly amazed the project is moving along this far.
On this installment of the podcast, we talk about Spider-man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the weird Wheel of Time Pilot that aired, the Master returning in the Doctor Who Series 9 opener, the new Rick Flagg in Suicide Squad, the first picture of Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Deadpool-casting-pa-looza, and Nick and Pher’s trip to Anime Milwaukee.
Some of you may remember that a weird pilot for a Wheel of Time series aired on FXX in the middle of the night last week. It was produced by Red Eagle Entertainment, and they’ve blatantly come out and said it was put on TV so they could hold onto the rights for the Robert Jordan book series.
Of course, they had to admit it, because the internet went (what I am now terming) “bat-shit confused” over the thing.
One of the strongest reactions about the pilot came from Robert Jordan’s widow and agent Harriet McDougal. McDougal made statements that Universal, and not Red Eagle, had the rights to Wheel of Time and that the project was unauthorized.
See, Red Eagle Entertainment contends that they do have the rights, and that they had only temporarily transferred them to Universal. In fact, they say McDougal knew that since she was present at meetings Red Eagle had with Sony (who they are currently trying to license the rights to). Red Eagle Entertainment argues that McDougal’s statements undermine their negotiations with Sony.
So for reasons unknown, FXX aired a Wheel of Time short film in the middle of the night. About a half hour long and titled “Winter Dragon,” it was a fairly faithful adaptation of the opening of the prologue from the first book of the series. The cast includes Max Ryan and Billy Zane.
…and no one knows what’s going on. There was no fanfare, no news… just Lews Therin going crazy in the middle of the night.
And there’s a lot of debate as to what this was? Was it Universal just trying to throw something out there to hold onto the rights? Was it a pilot put on air to get a select group to fill out surveys? AM I GOING MAD LIKE THE DRAGON DID?!
It will likely get pulled down, but someone’s posted it to Youtube all the same. I’ve embedded it below:
From all reports, Harriet McDougal Rigney (The late Robert Jordan’s widow and editor) had no idea this was happening.
Of course, no one seems to know what the hell is happening.
Update: As Steve Stockdale pointed out in our comments section, io9 reached out to Red Eagle Entertainment and confirmed the airing was purely to keep the rights. The airtime on FXX was purchased like an infomercial.