The Wheel of Time Boss Addresses Ubiquitous Game of Thrones Comparisons
Mira Jacobs
Being a big-budget fantasy TV show adapted from a popular book series, Prime Video's The Wheel of Time has inevitably drawn comparisons to HBO's smash hit Game of Thrones, but showrunner Rafe Judkins knows that he's making something very different, and he says that the network does too.
In a Nov. 19 interview with The Ringer, Judkins was asked whether all the talk about Thrones in reference to The Wheel of Time was helpful or whether it was a burden. "I find it exclusively an oppressive burden," he laughed. "To be honest, the show is really not, and the books are not like Game of Thrones, and I said that to Amazon right up front. I was like, 'If you are looking for the next Game of Thrones, this isn't it. What I'm going to pitch you is a series that is really different.'"
Judkins also shared his thoughts on what it meant to replicate the success of a TV phenomenon, and how it's more than copying the same genre. "I think when people say they're looking for the next Game of Thrones, often they mean something that pops the cultural bubble and exists in a hugely global space... I think the next thing that does that will be a totally different kind of show. It could be about Danish soccer players, I don't know what it'll be."
As a fan of fantasy literature, Judkins didn't show any distaste for George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books or the HBO series based on them. "I loved the Thrones books, and then loved the adaptation too. So I was like, 'I love this, but it's not what this is, and I'm not going to make it this. So if we engage in this together, do it knowing that you're bringing something else that's really amazing to life, which is The Wheel of Time, which is in so many ways a pillar of fantasy literature that has never been adapted.'"
"And to their credit I think that [Amazon Studios] really embraced that," Judkins continued. "We've heard honestly more talk about Thrones in the last five days than in the entire two years of making the show combined. So it's funny because everyone's like, 'Oh, the network must be putting so much pressure on you about Thrones,' but they actually really haven't... I think they're excited to have something different."
Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios' series adaptation of The Wheel of Time dropped its first three episodes on Prime Video on Nov. 19, becoming the streaming platform's most-watched premiere of 2021. Season 1 is slated to run for a total of eight episodes and will conclude on Friday, Dec. 24. The next episode, titled "The Dragon Reborn," will air on Nov. 26.
Source: The Ringer