Why the Wheel of Time is Going to be the Biggest Show in the World
The Wheel of Time is going to be the biggest show in the world within four years. Here’s why.
Talented People Working on It
They didn’t hand the show to a couple fuckups who didn’t know how to make a show. From showrunner Rafe Judkins to composer Lorne Balfe, to the casting director, set design, costuming, and everything else, the WoT team is full of people who are not just experienced, but respected for what they do.
That doesn’t mean the show won’t suck—everyone can make something that sucks—but it gives it a pretty damn good chance of being very good.
In a similar vein, all the promotional materials—site photos, teasers, the full trailer—look high quality. The fanbase obviously doesn’t like everything, but there are very few people saying it wasn’t done well.
Amazon clearly wants this to be a success. Reportedly, Jeff Bezos told his people that he wanted his Game of Thrones and the result is The Wheel of Time and the Lord of the Rings series that’s coming next year.
I don’t have to tell you that Amazon knows how to market things, but I am anyway. They know how to market things. The day they released the most recent trailer, it was on the front page of IMDB.com. They have shown the teaser before some of the biggest movies released this fall.
It’s safe to say that everyone who uses Amazon, or who watches streaming shows and movies, will hear about the Wheel of Time. Google tells me that HBO and HBO Max reach about 73 million people while Amazon Prime has 200 million subscribers. That’s a lot of people who are going to have free, no friction access to The Wheel of Time who didn’t have that for Game of Thrones.
Built-In Evangelists and Fan Interaction.
Every media property needs evangelists to get other people to watch it. Paid marketing can only do so much. It makes people aware of it, and will get some people to watch, but to make something mega-successful, you need that word-of-mouth advertising.
The Wheel of Time has a rabid fanbase that has been waiting for this show for years or—like me—for decades. We’re not fucking around with this. We want this show to run through the Last Battle and we’re going to do everything we can to make it happen.
Of course, other shows have had this. A Song of Ice and Fire was incredibly popular when Game of Thrones came out. Dune, the Dark Tower, and a bunch of other properties can say the same thing.
But the Amazon folks are engaging with fans on social media in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen a media property do before. The official twitter account routinely interacts with fans. They engaged one of the most popular YouTube content creators for a ten-hour-long trailer release party that included interviews with members of the cast, the casting director, and the composer.
Every single actor, the composer, the casting director, the showrunner, and as far as I can tell, every other person ever interviewed about the show has said they recognize the fanbase and want to do a great job for them. Maybe they’re just blowing smoke up our asses, but this kind of interaction and this kind of respect goes a long way in turning fans into evangelists.
It’s Woke as Fuck
Representation matters and if you don’t like it, you can just fuck off right into fuckoffville.
The Wheel of Time was one of the most progressive stories of its day. There were far more prominent women than was common, and there were far more prominent women of color than was heard of. There were same-sex relationships mentioned, gay themes addressed, and even an attempt at trans representation.
Everything we have heard from the showrunner, the show’s subject matter expert, and maybe a leaked photo or two suggest that they’re going to modernize this. I’m expecting a full on same sex relationship, perhaps between some of the most prominent characters. I’m expecting a trans person. We already know that there are plenty of people—and women—of color in prominent roles than most fantasy epics can even pretend to have.
This is going to bring in viewers and turn some people in marginalized communities into evangelists. During a NYCC panel, Zoe Robbins, who plays Nynaeve al’Meara, mentioned how cool it was that the show let her use her natural hair texture in her braid. I’m an old white guy. My version of natural hair is the mess on my head when I get up in the morning. But I only noticed this mention of natural hair because I’d heard another woman of color mention it earlier. It’s a big deal for women of color.
This is a well made show with compelling characters that is going to reach everyone through advertising and fan evangelism. It’s going to draw in people most fantasy epics don’t even try to reach. It’s going to be the biggest thing in the world. It won’t happen immediately—this shit takes time—but within five years, it’s going to be amazing.