Fan-Edit Of Notoriously Bad Wheel of Time Adaptation “The Winter Dragon” Almost Saves It
Fans of the epic Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan have been waiting for years for an adaptation. Before Amazon picked up the rights to the Wheel of Time series, the option was held by Red Eagle Entertainment. The option was set to expire in 2017. This would have allowed the rights to revert back to author Robert Jordan’s estate. However – in a desperate bid to hold onto the rights – Red Eagle secretly filmed a hasty ‘pilot’ for a Wheel of Time show. Winter Dragon was an adaptation of the prologue of Eye of the World. Red Eagle paid to have it air in the middle of the night on FXX. It featured Billy Zane as the Forsaken Ishamael, and Max Ryan as Lews Therin. And it was bad. Unspeakably bad. Wheel of Time fans everywhere watched it, and wept in despair.
Now dedicated Wheel of Time fans have made a fan-edit of the terrible Winter Dragon episode. And shockingly, it turns this joke of an “adaptation” into something semi-decent.
Cover of Eye of the World | Image via Tor Books
A Fan-Edit Makes Winter Dragon Watchable
The edit comes from from fan site The Dusty Wheel. It cuts down the 20 minute ‘episode’ into an 8 minute short film. Much of the horrible CGI, weird slow-motion sequences, and terrible dialogue has been entirely eliminated. It does still consist of Billy Zane monologuing endlessly in a weirdly flippant manner. But this time it makes slightly more sense if you have a knowledge of the Wheel of Time universe.
Surprisingly, this fan-edit almost makes a coherent adaptation of the prologue from the first book The Eye of The World. Given that we are unlikely to see this prologue onscreen in the first episode of Amazon’s Wheel of Time series, this fan-edit of Winter Dragon could almost serve as a prelude for the upcoming show.
The events of the prologue and Winter Dragon take place hundreds of years before the events of the Wheel of Time series. The prologue sets up the madness of Lews Therin – known as The Dragon – and the long battle waged between light and darkness. It also introduces the character of Ishamael, and hints at the other Forsaken. The Forsaken were legendary Aes Sedai (both male and female) who swore allegiance to the Dark Lord. The Dark One is referenced in Winter Dragon by the name of Shai’tan. What Winter Dragon does not include is the fiery end of the prologue where Lews Therin blows up his entire castle with the One Power, and creates a volcano that will later be known as Dragonmount.
How Much Of The Prologue Will We See In Amazon’s Wheel of Time Series?
Rosamund Pike | Image via Amazon
According to reports, the first season of Amazon’s Wheel of Time appears to focus heavily on Moiraine (Rosamund Pike). She is the Aes Sedai who seeks out the reincarnation of Lews Therin – The Dragon. This is the main character depicted in Winter Dragon. He was a legendary hero who went mad while attempting to seal The Dark One’s prison. This event led to the male half of the One Power being tainted for future generations.
Episode summaries and casting seem to indicate that Amazon’s Wheel of Time series will begin with the first chapter of Eye of The World. This introduces the cast of young people from Emond’s Field, along with Moiraine and her warder Lan. I feel that it is likely that the prologue will be seen on-screen at some point as a memory or a dream sequence. But it seems unlikely that the prologue will appear at the beginning of the series, since no casting for Lews Therin or any Forsaken have yet been announced.
The Core Cast of Wheel of Time | Image via Amazon Prime
Amazon’s Wheel of Time series recently resumed filming in Prague. Hopefully they are still on course for their promised 2021 premiere date. And we can all remember that no matter what our apprehensions about the Amazon show might be, it is guaranteed to be better than Winter Dragon.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.