The cast of “The Wheel of Time” will sheepishly admit that they hadn’t read any of Robert Jordan’s bestselling fantasy novels. Now, they’re in the thick of his world.
The Amazon series, which premiered Friday, has been in the works since the spring of 2017, a long-awaited adaptation of the 14-book series that has sold more than 90 million copies worldwide. The first season covers events from the first three volumes and a second season has already been ordered.
In an unnamed world, the Wheel of Time, forged by the Creator at the beginning of the universe and driven by the One Power, pre-determines everything that happens. The only ones able to control the One Power are the Aes Sedai, a powerful group of women who live by a strict moral code to never misuse their power.
When “The Wheel of Time” starts, one of the Aes Sedai, Moiraine Damodred, is on a quest to find a young man who may be the reincarnation of the Dragon who will either destroy or save the world.
“Characters come into your life for a reason at certain points. The elemental force of this woman was very important to me, the way that we connect with The One power. You’re able to draw on the power of the universe,” Rosamund Pike, who plays Moiraine, told the Daily News.
“To play a character who keeps you guessing, you never quite know where you stand with her. I think I am drawn to those characters, I will admit it.”
Despite the elaborate backstory and world-building, the cast insists that newcomers can jump right into the series.
“Our characters are at the center of the world, but when we find (them), they’re just living life happily in the Two Rivers and are then thrust into this extreme adventure that none of them are prepared for,” said Madeleine Madden, who plays Egwene al’Vere, a prospective Aes Sedai. “For them, there wasn’t any preparation for the life they were about to lead.”
At the core of “The Wheel of Time” is destiny. Are Rand (Josha Stradowski), Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) or Mat (Barney Harris) fated to change the course of history? Are Nynaeve (Zoe Robins) and Egwene (Madeleine) foretold to yield the Wheel’s power? Can Moiraine lead them to their fates?
“It’s a huge pressure. It has such a big effect on their identity,” Stradowski told The News.
“They can never go back to the life that they had in the Two Rivers. From that moment on, they take on this duty, this responsibility, to go on this mission that they never signed up for, but there’s no way out of it.”
Even those who think they are acting of their own free will likely are not, Pike said. In a world controlled by the fates, everything is scripted. The five young ones had their lives turned upside down.
“It’s very daunting for them and they question themselves but there’s a shared character trait in all of them that they’re fighters,” Rutherford said. “They’re going to persist.”