Amazon Prime Video has another verifiable hit on its hands and it doesn’t involve ultraviolent superhero action – animated or otherwise. Adapted from the best-selling high fantasy novels originally authored by Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time has debuted in extremely strong fashion, effectively cementing its status as Amazon’s most-watched series premiere of 2021.
“We can firmly say that The Wheel of Time was the most-watched series premiere of the year and one of the Top 5 series launches of all time for Prime Video,” Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, reveals to Deadline.
While the actual figures have yet to be revealed, Salke would go on to acknowledge how Amazon – like most streamers – are still trying to figure out “how transparent [they] are going to be” going forward with viewership ratings. All we know is that there were “tens and tens of millions” of streams within the first three days of its release last week, with the US, Canada, Germany, France, Brazil, and India among the top countries.
While you might not have been familiar with The Wheel of Time prior to opening this article, it boasts quite the following. As of 2021, the books have sold over 90 million copies worldwide – making it the best-selling epic fantasy series since JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; which Amazon Prime Video also has a small-screen adaptation for on the way (the most expensive of its kind by a considerable margin). And let’s just say, this latest success bodes very well for its other much-hyped fantasy project.
The story takes place in an unnamed realm that’s simultaneously the distant past and the distant future Earth, hence the name. Global audiences follow Moiraine (portrayed by Rosamund Pike) – a member of the powerful, all-female organisation of magic users known as the Aes Sedai. Moiraine guides a group of five young individuals on a journey across a richly-detailed world, believing one of them might be the Dragon Reborn. For reference, that’s a powerful individual prophesied to either save humanity or destroy it. No pressure…
Rosamund Pike is joined by Josha Stradowski as “The Chosen One” Rand al’Thor, Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara, Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al’Meara, Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon (who is set to be replaced by Dónal Finn for season 2), Madeleine Madden as Egwene al’Vere, Daniel Henney as al’Lan Mandragoran, Michael McElhatton as Tam al’Thor, and Álvaro Morte as Logain Ablar.
Amazon’s The Wheel of Time has been developed by Rafe Judkins, the screenwriter and showrunner best known for working on such shows as Chuck, Hemlock Grove, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, as well as being a former contestant on Survivor season 11 (lol?). The early episodes of Wheel of Time season 1 have been directed by Altered Carbon, Westworld, and Stranger Things alum Uta Briesewitz.
You can now check out the first three episodes via Amazon Prime Video right now, with weekly releases scheduled to arrive every Friday – and the season finale scheduled to arrive on December 24th.