Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is a highly coveted property when it comes to film and television rights, being one of the most successful literary fantasy series of all time. And after the success of Game of Thrones, it’s no wonder every production company on the planet wants a fantasy series to compete against it. Back in the mid-2000s, Jordan sold the property to Red Eagle, who failed on all accounts to make anything of the product, which you can read more about here. Red Eagle ended up selling the film and TV rights over to Universal in 2008, which allowed them to retain a production credit.
Those rights would have ended this coming Wednesday, February 11th… But behind everyone’s backs a secret pilot episode was filmed, under the title ‘Winter Dragon,’ and was silently aired last night on FXX. This was done with almost no expenses lost to them, and as an attempt to hold the property down, so other companies don’t swoop in for the taking.
Let me forewarn you, it’s one of the worst productions I’ve ever seen, but I’ll link the video below. The events in the pilot stem from the prologue to the first book in the series, The Eye of the World, and is primarily a conversation with the embodiments of good and evil. Ironically enough, I just read this passage not even a week ago and was toting it with friends saying it’s gotten me supremely hyped for the series to follow. Expect a review of Eye of the World soon. The video below does it terrible justice though.
As I mentioned above, nobody was told about this. Here’s a statement from Robert Jordan’s widow, Harriet McDougal:
“This morning brought startling news. A “pilot” for a Wheel of Time series, the “pilot” being called Winter Dragon, had appeared at 1:30 in the morning, East Coast time, on FXX TV, a channel somewhere in the 700s (founded to concentrate on comedy, according to the Washington Post).
It was made without my knowledge or cooperation. I never saw the script. No one associated with Bandersnatch Group, the successor-in-interest to James O. Rigney, was aware of this.
Bandersnatch has an existing contract with Universal Pictures that grants television rights to them until this Wednesday, February 11 – at which point these rights revert to Bandersnatch.
I see no mention of Universal in the “pilot”. Nor, I repeat, was Bandersnatch, or Robert Jordan’s estate, informed of this in any way.
I am dumbfounded by this occurrence, and am taking steps to prevent its reoccurrence.”
Rick Selvage, CEO of Red Eagle Entertainment, claims this isn’t the last we’ll see of the Wheel of Time television series, saying, “we think there’s huge demand for the television series internationally, and we’re looking forward to producing it and getting it out in the marketplace.” Find more on the ridiculous notion here.
But really guys. It’s the worst thing I’ve seen on TV in decades. If you’re a fan of this series, this is especially cringe-worthy. But if you’re new to the series? This won’t make any sense, so don’t bother to watch either way.