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The Wheel of Time‘s third season will primarily focus on the fourth book in the Robert Jordan series and feature the Sea Folk, as well as Tanchico and Rhuidean.
During a Sunday morning special screening of the season two finale and Q&A featuring showrunner Rafe Judkins at the Whitby Hotel in New York, Judkins revealed that audiences can expect that season three will focus more on Rand and Perrin.
“Every season, we sit down in the writers room and one of the things that we do at the very beginning is pick out a couple of the stories that we have to carve out a space to make a whole episode for,” he said. “We think it’s worth it because those stories will really stand out to an audience, especially that didn’t read the books. They’re given that time, and it’s carved out, so they can really follow that character on that journey.
“The first season was more of the group journey that had the one big Moraine episode, but for seasons two and three, we’ve really carved out two episodes of season that can really be devoted characters,” he continued. “This season was a really big Egweyne and Nynaeve season for us. Next season is a really big Rand [and] Perrison season for us. There are always different characters who are rising in importance.”
Additionally, characters will visit places both familiar and previously unseen in the series. That includes a return to the Two Rivers and fan-favorite cities like Tanchico and Rhuidean.
“We have been working very hard to build and that is the world of Tenchico. It’s tropical. It’s so different than anything else you’ve ever seen on the show before and genuinely — I don’t know if I can say this — but we built a bar and some of our characters like Nynaeve and Elayne that are in there,” he explained. “This place was just so wild and the costumes are so different. There’s tropical plants hanging from the ceiling and everyone looks like they could kill anyone at any moment.”
During the post-screening talk back, Judkins areiterated the show will be visiting the Aiel Waste following a Saturday panel at NYCC, which will offer the chance to dig into Aiel culture. He also revealed Sunday that the show will also showcase the Sea Folk, a seafaring people known for trading.
“We have built the Sea Folks ship, so we’ll get to see the world of that which you don’t know anything about yet,” Judkins said. “We shot it just a couple of weeks ago.”
Saturday’s panel largely focused on the show’s VFX, with a highlight reel and discussion with executive producer Marigo Kehoe, VFX supervisor Andy Scrase and VFX producer Brian Shows. The team discussed how they worked with other departments to divvy up work and identify the areas where VFX was most needed — frequently the characters’ journeys and landscapes — as well as how they’ve worked to make the visual magic “look organic and natural,” including giving the act of channeling elemental-influenced coloring.
But showrunner Rafe Judkins also made a surprise appearance, and while onstage, he revealed that season three of The Wheel of Time will focus primarily on the storylines from book four, with Judkins calling it “one of the best books in the series.” One specific location he promised fans can expect to see is Rhuidean.
While onstage, Judkins teased that audiences will get to meet additional members of the Forsaken, with a dive into the ability to dream walk, a power that is actually what it sounds like.
“We really felt like the Forsaken are such an incredible part of the books, and we wanted to bring them to the forefront in season two, earlier than they really are forefronted in the books,” he said. “I’ve seen some very serious commentary online about the Forsaken and who may not be in the show, but I can confirm that we have cast and put on set a Forsaken you have not seen in the show as of yet.”
As for the dream walking, it’s part of the show’s expansion into territory, he said other fantasy franchises don’t venture.”
“One of the other cool things that we get to explore is the culture of these incredible warriors in The Wheel of Time world,” he continued. “We get to go really meet them and see them go to where they’re from. We also get to explore with some of our characters the world of dreams and dreamwalking, and I think that’s a really cool thing to get to do in season three because it is one of those unique elements in Wheel of Time that no other book series really has. So we really explore that world and season three.”
The series aired its season two finale last week and saw Rand, the Dragon, declare himself in a fiery reunion of the show’s core ensemble, which spent much of the season torn apart. Having received the greenlight for a season three back in July 2022, the show was already in production when both the WGA and then the SAG-AFTRA strike began.
During a roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Saturday’s panel, multiple members of The Wheel of Time team said their work — and thus season three — was ultimately not impacted by those work stoppages.
“We were very lucky that we had eight scripts before we started so we were able to keep going,” said Marigo Kehoe, Wheel of Time executive producer. “And the production team were unbelievable. Cast-wise, they’re on equity contracts, not SAG contracts, so they were contracted and able to work. We’re one of very few shows, I think, that was able to keep going. We really were lucky, and I’m just very grateful for the huge team of people, the crew, because it’s been so tough for everybody.”
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