It’s been a long wait, but we finally have the full official trailer for Wheel of Time, Amazon’s highly anticipated adaptation of the late Robert Jordan‘s bestselling (and much beloved) 14-book series of epic fantasy novels. It’s a doozy, chock-full of monsters battling magic-wielding warriors set to appropriately dramatic music and an ominous voiceover by star Rosamund Pike, who plays the central character, Moraine.
The only downside is that the streaming platform has decided to be a bit too clever for its own good. On YouTube, fans can view the trailer in the traditional 2D manner or in a virtual three-dimensional “wheel.” That’s thanks to YouTube’s “360 Experience” immersive capabilities, which, for example, let viewers see two sides of the same fight. And clicking on an arrow in the upper left-hand corner will bring you enhanced imagery of the action. As Amazon described it in a press release:
To the left of the screen, [viewers will] discover Moiraine’s powerful ‘One Power’ channeling—featuring her voice and faces, artifacts, and symbols hidden amongst the energy weaves. On the right, the corruption of the Dark One represents a dissention [sic] into madness. The trailer also features spatial audio that gives fans a more immersive experience as objects appear from either side of the ‘wheel.’
I get that all this is meant to be a bonus, and there are probably fans who will appreciate it. But most of the Wheel of Time fans here at Ars found the gimmick annoying. We’re still pumped to watch the series, though.
As I’ve written previously, the TV series will center on Moiraine (Pike), a member of a powerful, all-woman organization called the Aes Sedai. Magic, known as the One Power, is divided into male (saidin) and female (saidar) flavors. The latter is the province of the Aes Sedai. Long ago, a great evil called the Dark One caused the saidin to become tainted, such that most men who show an ability to channel that magic go mad. It’s the job of the Aes Sedai to track down such men and strip them of their powers—a process known as “gentling” that is often anything but. There is also an ancient prophecy concerning the Dragon Reborn: the reincarnation of a person who will save or destroy humanity.
In addition to Pike, Josha Stradowski stars as Rand al’Thor, while Marcus Rutherford plays apprentice blacksmith and dream-walker Perrin Aybara. Zoë Robins plays healer Nynaeve al’Meara, and Madeleine Madden plays Egwene al’Vere. Barney Harris plays series comic relief Matrim Cauthon. Hammed Animashaun has been cast as Loail, a close friend to Perrin and Rand al’Thor. Alexandre Willaume portrays Thom Merrilin, a “gleeman and adventurer”—basically a traveling bard—while Johann Myers plays the villainous Padan Fain, and Alvaro Morte plays Logain.
As in the book, Pike’s Moiraine will befriend a group of five young people—Egwene, Nynaeve, Rand, Mat, and Perrin—whose small village has been attacked by monsters called Trollocs. The two women (Egwene and Nynaeve) show some promise as future members of the Aes Sedai. But Moiraine also suspects one of the young men might be the Dragon Reborn.
We got our first teaser for the upcoming series last month. Our verdict: “The casting is spot-on, the magic looks good, and we really like the overall look of the series.” The teaser introduced the Aes Sedai and provided tantalizing glimpses of most of the main players, with ominous warnings of the coming of the Dark One and a final battle. And yes, that was Michael McElhatton, aka Game of Thrones‘ Roose Bolton, waxing philosophical as Tam al’Thor, blademaster and adoptive father of Rand.
This new trailer opens with Moraine swearing her oath to the Aes Sedai: “I swear to speak no word that is not true, to make no weapon with which one person may kill another, and never to use the One Power as a weapon.” Moraine reluctantly accepts the path that seems to be her fate: to ride forth with her five young charges and hope they are sufficiently prepared to meet the challenges ahead. The Dark One is waking, and Moraine hopes to discover the promised one who can stand against him, aka the Dragon Reborn.
There’s a lot going on here for eagle-eyed fans. We see the Dark One’s creatures, Trollocs and Fades, as well as the Children of the Light, aka Whitecloaks, who believe the Aes Sedai are evil. One of them seems to be collecting the Aes Sedai Great Serpent rings of those he has presumably killed, as trophies. “Our enemies are everywhere,” we hear Moraine say. “They will leave no one standing.” There will be battles, hardship, and great personal loss, “but if we do not stop the Dark One now, the whole world will burn,” Moraine says.
Wheel of Time debuts on Amazon Prime on November 19, 2021.
Listing image by YouTube/Amazon Prime