The Wheel of Time VFX supervisor opens up on Channeling changes in Season 2 along with no Seanchan animals. VFX Supervisor Andy Scrase, who joined the show partway through production spoke with Screen Rant recently. One aspect of the shows’s Season 2 fans have noticed is how much better Channelling looks compared to Season 1. I guess we may have Scrase to thank for that, or at least him and his team. Scrase also briefly commented on the lack of Seanchan animals so far and why they may not be needed.
Check out what he had to say below.
“When I came onto the show, I thought it might be a good idea to speak with cast members who could channel,” Scrase said. “For our main channeling cast, I’d just speak to them about their feelings on channeling, and what they felt when they were channeling. I also asked them their own interpretation of their character. Not the fans’; just their own interpretation. That led to me thinking, ‘Well, is there a way that I can differentiate a channel that reflects a personality more?’”
“I think we’ve been successful in that, definitely, [with] someone like Liandrin. If you notice some of her threads, everything’s quite tight and taut around her. She’s holding her power back. She’s sort of rigid; like a viper ready to strike, essentially. So, yeah, I think it’s something I tried to do; I tried to carry on a characteristic from a person into the way they channel.”
Characters look more natural using weaves in Season 2 than they did in Season 1. The weaves themselves also look better. However, how an actor pretends to use this power is also key to suspension of disbelief for an audience.
Different Weaves for Different Groups
“Then, on top of that, we also have different styles for the different groups of people who can channel. We have our Aes Sedai, we have our damane, we have our male channelers, and then we have our Forsaken. I wanted to put a geometric, futuristic feel to it, so you’ll find there are tauter, tighter threads, and the shapes they form are a little cleaner.”
I especially love how easy and carefree Ishy and Lanfear make Channeling seem compared to the Aes Sedai and Damane. Both have forgotten more about the One Power than these Aes Sedai have ever known. Therefore, there’s an ease which comes across with both compared to any other character.
“With our damane, they can channel, but we really wanted to have a different feel to them when they channel,” Scrase said. “So without [changing] the look of the threads, because that’s our way of communicating the physical, visual form of using the One Power, that was a case of the layout and how it moves around the person. With the damane, it’s very much a metaphor; the channeling kind of forms a cage around them. Pulling a cage around their arms felt like an interesting visual to execute and to show to the audience. I’ve seen a few people pick up on that, and the cages that appear around the damane when they channel, so I’m glad that’s been noticed. Then, obviously, with the male channeling, we have the black corruption that slowly builds up as they channel.”
For Rand’s weaves, Scrase went to the source: actor Josha Stradowski.
“I asked him about his input, and he said, ‘It’s there and then it’s gone. He’s just got no control over it.’ Especially with his channeling earlier on in the season, you’ll notice the channeling is kind of broken up around him; it kind of comes in waves around him. That’s really to communicate how he’s not fully connected and in control of the One Power. It comes in and fits and starts around him. So, again, it’s just another way of us trying to use the One Power to show the relationship between the channeling and the One Power itself.”
In the books, when the Seanchan arrive they arrive with a host of working beasts which feel extremely alien to the reader and the main characters. They have lizard beasts they ride like horses in combat and also reptilian flying creatures they ride like a winged cavalry.
So far I don’t miss them from the show, partly because they were not that important overall in the books. The question is then put to Scrase by Screen Rant asking were these were cut for budgetary reasons?
“I mean, a whole range of things is discussed, especially when it comes to script time. With the Seanchan, they’re particularly menacing in themselves. With the way they look and with the helmets they have on, they’re pretty intimidating. If you’ve got that scary element already, sometimes it’s nice just to let that speak for itself. With the damane in this season, we got to make things scarier as well. From an early stage, it was about capturing the essence of a character or a group of people, as with the Seanchan who are a pretty formidable, scary, dominating force in themselves.”
I guess the fact these creatures have not appeared yet does not rule them out of later seasons. In fact, there is one book scene where I struggle to see how the show will pull it off without the flying steeds? The Seanchan attack a key location and take prisoners away on these steeds. No spoilers about where or when, but there is a key moment for one character making their debut in Season 3. I hope that character has the same arc as the books. Therefore, I hope the scene isn’t changed too much. Right now though, we don’t need them.
Scrase also finishes off by saying his main inspiration will always be the book material itself.
“For any sort of design on the show for me, doesn’t matter what it is, the books are my starting point,” he said. “From there, I might feel like it would look a little bit more interesting if we tweaked something here or there, but if I’m going to design something, it always goes straight back to the books. It always goes back to Robert Jordan’s original material.”
What do you think as The Wheel of Time VFX supervisor Andy Scrase comments on Channeling changes and no Seanchan animals in Season 2? As always, leave any thoughts below, the penultimate episode of The Wheel of Time Season 2 drops on Amazon Prime this Friday.