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Wheel Of Time Season 1 Ending And Season 2 Rewritten Due To Actor Exit

Showrunner Rafe Judkins has revealed that The Wheel of Time Season 1's ending and Season 2 were rewritten due to an actor exit.

Showrunner Rafe Judkins has revealed that The Wheel of Time Season 1’s ending and Season 2 were rewritten due to an actor exit. If you are unaware of the story, The Wheel of Time Season 1 was shut down due to COVID, just like the rest of planet Earth. When it started back up, the show had lost actor Barney Harris who had pulled out of the show for personal reasons, which we don’t know the details of. That’s not our business, but the show goes on as they say.

The final two episodes went through some quick rewrites to excuse Matt’s (Harris) absence and the show went on. Sadly, those rewrites didn’t really work for most fans and the final two episodes were a real drop in quality. For Season 2 Matt was recast as Donal Finn and he’s been brilliant so far. Now in a recent interview with Screen Rant  Judkins has revealed how Season 1 was rewritten and how this also then caused a rewrite for Season 2.

Season 1 should have ended with Matt, Perrin and Rand going off together to the plot of Book 2. Instead Season 1 ends with them all split up and they mostly move straight into their book 3 stories which are more individual. It seems despite how well I think Season 2 has worked so far the original plan was to start with the three male leads together.

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“It was a complete rewrite of the entire season. We always wanted to tell the story in season 2 of, “Mat is a hero who doesn’t think he’s a hero,” and I would have loved to tell the story of the three boys on the hunt for the Horn of Valere, but we didn’t get to tell that story. In TV, you can never be apologetic about the story you’re telling. so [since] we couldn’t do that story, we wanted to lean in fully to the story of the five of the Emond’s Field Five being separate for the first time, [with] each of them on their own path.”

Asked if this was a result of the Matt actor change, Judkins confirmed this was the case.

“Yeah. That was a big part of it; committing to this idea of all of them being separate was something we needed to do, and so we did, and I think we told really effective storylines of each of them on their own.”

To Adapt Or Not? That Is The Question

There is always risk involved in such a change. But the situation proves that sometimes in the world of TV you simply have to be adaptable. I guess this change also helped ease audiences into the new Matt. As opposed to having Matt get a bit more weird for a while like the books. I’m a book fan, however I understand changes are necessary here. Luckily for me they have worked (subjectively) and Season 2 is much better. That being said I still come across some book fans who just can’t get with so many changes. Not having the boys hunt for the Horn together is unforgivable to some fans.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say again. This adaptation is one of turning 14 books into 8 Seasons that are roughly hour long episodes. That’s already planned to be 64 hours of story to tell.  I’m not sure anyone has ever tried to adapt a continuous story of this length before. You could point to Game of Thrones which ran for 8 Seasons. Though, really it may have been better to extend to 10 in hindsight. Even then, A Song of Ice and Fire, although unfinished, is still much shorter overall than The Wheel of Time.

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Anthology series such as Sherlock Homes and the like are a different story (and a far lower budget). Therefore, it’s a case of accept change, or just don’t engage and stick to the books. That being said, you could argue the same is true of Rings of Power also from Amazon Prime. Yet, I find myself far less forgiving of the liberties taken in that show. It’s always going to be subjective to each and every fan.

So as explained by showrunner Rafe Judkins, The Wheel of Time Season 1’s ending and Season 2 were rewritten due to an unplanned actor exit during COVID. I do feel like I understand why the Season 1 finale was so bad now. What do you think? Thoughts below as always.

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