The Wheel of Time season 2 is in development. Filming is well underway on the next entry in Prime Video’s big-budget fantasy series, so we hope it’ll arrive sooner rather than later. But, as you’ll find out below, it may not be released for some time yet.
The show’s first season was well received by fans and critics alike (us included), so Amazon’s gamble on adapting Robert Jordan’s beloved novels has paid off. But, as HBO’s Game of Thrones showed, a popular TV series’ fortunes can change quickly if viewers disagree with the direction it’s taking. In our view, The Wheel of Time season 2 needs to follow its predecessor’s example and stick as closely as possible to the story told in the books.
So what can Jordan’s novels tell us about The Wheel of Time season 2’s plot? Which characters will appear? And when might the show’s second season launch on Prime Video?
Below, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more concerning The Wheel of Time season 2. Spoilers follow for season 1 and Robert Jordan’s books, so turn back now if you’d prefer not to know anything ahead of time.
The Wheel of Time season release date
The Wheel of Time season release date: 2023?
Despite the ongoing pandemic, The Wheel of Time season 2’s production has been proactive compared to similar series, such as Netflix’s The Witcher.
The show was given an early season 2 renewal by Amazon Studios in May 2021 – the same month that season 1’s principal photography ended. With the cast and crew already on location in Prague, it seems that the decision was taken to begin filming season 2 in earnest. After a short pre-production period, filming restarted on July 19:
And the wheel keeps weaving… Filming for Season 2 of our series kicks off today! #TheWheelofTime pic.twitter.com/Dpj26qabMWJuly 19, 2021
According to The Prague Reporter, season 2 is scheduled to finish shooting in February 2022. That date, however, may be subject to change if the Covid-19 pandemic impacts development.
Should filming on The Wheel of Time season 2 conclude next month, you may be wondering why we don’t expect it to return until 2023. There’s one major reason: Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel TV series, which is due to launch on Prime Video on September 2, 2022.
It’s in Amazon’s best interests that its Lord of the Rings adaptation and The Wheel of Time season 2 don’t compete for viewers. And that’s a stance that Amazon Studios’ Head of Global TV Vernon Sanders agrees with, telling TVLine: “We are going to be really thoughtful about how we release these shows. In our minds, they are very different shows, but we are cognizant of our genre fans.”
Given that Amazon will want its Lord of the Rings TV adaptation to garner as much attention as possible, don’t be surprised if The Wheel of Time season 2 is held back until early 2023.
The Wheel of Time season 2 cast
The Wheel of Time season 2 cast: who is returning?
We expect the majority of season 1’s cast to return, although there is one notable exception:
- Rosamund Pike as Moiraine Damodred
- Daniel Henney as Lan Mandragoran
- Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor
- Zoë Robins as Nynaeve al’Meara
- Madeleine Madden as Egwene al’Vere
- Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara
- Dónal Finn as Mat Cauthon
- Fares Fares as The Dark One
- Johann Myers as Padan Fain
The biggest season 2 casting news concerns the character of Mat Cauthon. Barney Harris won’t be reprising his role next time out, with The Witcher and Cursed actor Dónal Finn taking over as Mat.
Back in September, we covered reports that Harris was no longer part of The Wheel of Time’s cast. No reason was given for his departure, and showrunner Rafe Judkins declined to comment on the situation when asked by Deadline. Meanwhile, Harris deleted his social media accounts in late 2021, though it’s unclear why he did so.
Mat’s recasting aside, The Wheel of Time’s other major players are all returning. That includes the story’s major antagonist The Dark One, who was portrayed by Fares Fares (Westworld, Chernobyl) in season 1’s final episode.
As for who else could return, this is harder to predict. We had suspected that characters including Sophie Okenedo’s Siuan Sanche, Kate Fleetword’s Liandrin, and Kae Alexander’s Min Farshaw would reprise their roles in season 2. The first season’s plot, however, was pulled from multiple books in Jordan’s series. Meanwhile, Judkins took some creative liberties in the show that led to its plot diverging from the story in the novels.
It’s unclear if The Wheel of Time season 2’s plot will differ from its source material. If it does, we may not see Siuan, Liandrin or Min return, even though they have roles in the series’ second and third books, aka The Great Hunt and The Dragon Reborn.
What we do know is that new characters will be introduced in season 2 – and we already know who one of those individuals will be:
Ceara Coveney has been revealed as our Elayne Trakand! What characters do you think Natasha O’Keeffe and Meera Syal are playing? (Hint: Rafe said they were “two of the most important characters”) #TheWheelofTime pic.twitter.com/zJgtVci3HhOctober 8, 2021
As the above tweet reveals, Ceara Coveney – in her first major acting role – will portray a hugely significant character in Elayne Trakand. In the novels, Elayne is not only Queen of Andor and Cairhien, but she’s also one of the most powerful Aes Sedai to emerge during The Wheel of Time’s expansive story. Expect her to play a major role in proceedings in season 2.
Meanwhile, Natasha O’Keeffe (Misfits, Filth) and Meera Syal (Paddington 2, Doctor Who) have been cast in undisclosed roles. Rafe Judkins has teased that they’ll portray “two of the most important characters” in The Wheel of Time, so place your bets now on who they’ll be cast as.
The Wheel of Time season 2 plot
The Wheel of Time season 2 plot: what’s the story about?
Spoilers follow for The Wheel of Time season 1 finale.
There are lots of plot threads that need to be picked up or resolved in season 2.
Firstly, season 2 needs to reunite us with Rand – aka the Dragon Reborn – who, after temporarily defeating The Dark One, decides to continue his journey alone. The Dragon Reborn is a prophesied, all-powerful channeler of the One Power fated to save or destroy the world, so Rand considers himself to be a danger to Moiraine, Lan and his friends. He asks Moiraine to tell his friends that he perished in battle against The Dark One so they don’t come looking for him before departing alone.
Josha Stradowski, who plays Rand, says the character’s season 2 arc will be built around redefining his identity, telling The Wrap: “Becoming the Dragon Reborn means that you’re the only person in the whole world who can save or destroy it and that responsibility is insane. I think Rand has to go his own way to do what he needs to do. And it’s just the start of his transformation to knowing that he is the Dragon Reborn; now it’s actually about becoming the Dragon Reborn. How do you do that? Who can help you with that? It’s the start of a very heavy, dark, dramatic journey.”
As for Moiraine, The Dark One destroys her connection to the Source, which is where Aes Sedai draw the One Power from. Unable to channel her powers anymore, the dynamic in Moiraine and Lan’s relationship is sure to shift in season 2. As the two hardly feature in The Wheel of Time’s second book, Judkins told CBR.com that their upcoming arcs will comprise wholly original content created specifically for the TV adaptation.
“[They] have almost nothing to do in book two but are number one and two on the call sheet,” Judkins explained. “You can’t sideline Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney in a season of television. So we looked at the chapter [in book two] that they have, and it really is so much about their relationship. We asked ‘What’s the core that exists between the two of them when you really dive in?’ That was the biggest story we had to figure out how to tell.”
Rewatching Season 1 to see some of our favorite moments. What were yours? #TheWheelOfTime pic.twitter.com/VNRmPjGfGJDecember 30, 2021
Viewers will be pleased to learn that a fan favorite didn’t die in the season 1 finale either. The Ogier known as Loial (Hammed Animashaun) seemingly perished at Padan Fain’s hands, but Judkins revealed that he survived to Entertainment Weekly (EW). “Loial is not dead. He’s alive and well and shooting in Prague. I wanted people to be a little on their toes, because real deaths are coming for characters that don’t die in the books. It’s coming, and I want people to emotionally prepare themselves.”
The season 1 finale also teased the arrival of the Seanchan – a villainous, seafaring empire that has ambitions on conquering The Wheel of Time’s main continent. Asked by Collider how they’ll make a splash (pun intended) in season 2, Judkins said: “Everything’s following this traditional fantasy format coming out of the first book. In the second book, the Seanchan come out of nowhere and slap our characters, so we really wanted to have them function the same way in the show. We get this nod to them at the end of season 1 but, in season 2, the Seanchan arrive and they affect the story.”
There are many other branching narratives and subplots that the show’s second season will need to circle back to. Judkins confirmed to Nerdist that “we will certainly see” more of the backstory of Lews Therin, aka the first Dragon, as season 2 and the overall series progresses. Judkins also teased the potential introduction of Gawyn and Faile, who are important characters in Egwene and Perrin’s story arcs, and the possibility of Rand and Min interacting more down the road (per CBR). As for Mat, Judkins revealed that he was heading for the White Tower – the Aes Sedai’s stronghold – and not Shadar Logoth in the season 1 finale.
We’re also expecting to learn more about Perrin’s wolfbrother powers and the love triangle between Moiraine, Lan and Nynaeve. We hope that our heroes will get the Horn of Valere – a key item in the final battle with The Dark One – back after Padan Fain stole it in the season 1 finale as well.
Speaking about season 2’s overall theme, Judkins told EW that the show’s next entry will “peel back the surface and try to understand what balance between dark and light they’re trying to find within themselves.” So we should settle in for more internal character battles, as well as those fights that are bound to be part of season 2’s makeup.
Much like the first season, The Wheel of Time’s next entry will also cover plot elements from multiple novels, Judkins telling EW: “[Audiences] will see that some characters are diving more into their book two story in season 2, and some of them are diving more into their book three story. We have a big round-up point at the end of season 2 that reconnects everything and pushes us off in a new direction where we’ve completed all the stories we need to get through.”
The Wheel of Time season 2 trailer
The Wheel of Time season 2 trailer: is there one?
No, and there won’t be for a while yet. We’ll update this section once one is released.
The Wheel of Time season 2: the show’s future
The Wheel of Time season 2: does it deserve another outing?
Yes. The Wheel of Time has an 82% ‘certified fresh’ rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. Meanwhile, it became Prime Video’s most-watched original series since 2020’s R-rated drama series Hunters, with Variety reporting that it amassed 1.16 billion minutes viewed in its first week. Clearly, there’s an appetite for live-action fantasy fare on Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon hedged its bets by renewing The Wheel of Time long before season 1 aired. There was the possibility that it may not have resonated with audiences, which would’ve been a bitter blow to Amazon Studios, given that season 1 reportedly cost $80 million (per GQ).
The Wheel of Time season 1 is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Jordan’s sweeping tale. In total, The Wheel of Time book series contains 17 novels – 14 of which tell the story of Moiraine and company – so there’s plenty of plot left to cover.
It would’ve been a shame if Amazon’s TV adaptation ended prematurely due to audience indifference, but that early season 2 renewal shows that Amazon has faith in The Wheel of Time. Providing the show can continue to deliver an action-packed, poignant and dramatic story, there’s no reason why more seasons won’t be in the offing.