With Wheel of Time and Good Omens, Amazon Doubles Down on Fantasy TV

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With <i>Wheel of Time</i> and <i>Good Omens</i>, Amazon Doubles Down on Fantasy TV

With its ambitious adaptation of The Lord of the Rings already in development, Amazon Studios put a giant stake down in the world of fantasy television, but two announcements Tuesday take that commitment even further.

First, the online retailer/streaming giant/film studio greenlit the one-hour action-drama adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. The 14-book fantasy epic was published between 1990 and 2013; Brandon Sanderson finished the series after Jordan died from cardiac amyloidosis in 2007, at the age of 58.

The series takes place in a universe where magic can only be safely wielded by women. When three boys from a small village are all suspected of being a prophesied savior of the world—or destroyer of it—their lives are never the same.

Rafe Judkins, who has written for Chuck, Hemlock Grove and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but may be better known as a contestant on Survivor, will adapt the story and serve as showrunner. The project has been in and out of development since 2000, but looks like it will finally make it onto screen, though no cast details or release date have been revealed.

On Tuesday, Amazon also announced a new overall deal with Neil Gaiman ahead of the British writer’s series adaptation of Good Omens, the 1990 novel he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett. Gaiman had previously signed a multi-year deal with Fremantle, which helped develop his book American Gods for Starz last year, but this new deal seems to overtake that agreement. (Read Paste’s reviews of American Gods Season One here.)

Good Omens stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen, with a cast that also includes John Hamm, Nick Offerman, Michael McKean, Mark Gatiss and Frances McDormand, who provides the voice of God. Hamm has described the six-part series, which will air in 2019, as a comedy about the apocalypse.

Amazon has also already filmed the first season of Carnival Row, a neo-noir fantasy thriller about mythical beasts starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. And the studio has three high-profile projects—The Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian and The Dark Tower—still in development. And that’s on top of several science fiction and superhero projects: The Boys, Lazarus, Galaxy Quest, Darkover, East of West and Consider Phlebas.

As HBO looks to wrap up Game of Thrones and trade in on its success with a prequel, fans and studios alike have been looking for the next great fantasy TV show. Amazon seems to be doing everything it can to make sure they have it.

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