The Wheel of Time ends its first season today, and don’t worry, season 2 has already been greenlit long ago, so it will return to continue adapting Robert Jordan’s books. But some fans have noticed that it’s not…quite as much of a spectacle as perhaps it could be, and could use some additional funding to allow for a more blockbuster-type adaptation.
Well, that money is coming.
In an interview with IGN, Vernon Sanders, co-head of TV at Amazon Studios, commented on Wheel of Time showrunner Rafe Judkins saying that Wheel of Time’s budget was “tiny” compared to Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings show (something I’m guessing may have gotten him yelled at behind the scenes). But Sanders says that a larger budget is coming, even though Wheel of Time is already very costly:
“Wheel Of Time is one of our most expensive shows that we’ve ever made,” he said. “So we are really proud of the investment and we think that it shows on screen, and we’re spending more in season 2 than season 1.”
Sometimes you might run into a situation where a show is right on the edge of justifying its budget, but instead of getting increased funding, they are told to make do with less for a second season. This never goes well, and the chief example I’m thinking of here was the clearly scaled back season 2 of Altered Carbon, which was miles worse than the first on Netflix. But here, Wheel of Time is following the Game of Thrones trajectory, where success translates into bigger and bigger budgets, as they’ve proven what they can do with their current amount.
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Amazon is reportedly investing a billion dollars in its Lord of the Rings series, a budget that the television landscape has essentially never seen before as it pursues its own Thrones-type megahit. But I think Wheel of Time has surpassed most expectations, and has done well in its own right, despite a lower profile than LOTR.
I’m trying to think of what other costly Amazon original shows might be at this point. The Expanse, certainly, which is why I think they’re calling it a day a few books early on that series, as that may not be justifying its budget with viewership. Maybe the Jack Ryan show? The Boys, certainly? But I can see how Wheel of Time would be more expensive than all of those.
We do not have a date for Wheel of Time season 2 yet, only that we know it’s coming, and that Amazon would theoretically like to adapt a zillion Robert Jordan books if they could, but we’ll see how far they get, and what next season will bring with a bigger budget to flesh out the fantasy series further.