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The Wheel of Time Panel at New York Comic-Con 2022

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If you want to know what was said by The Wheel of Time panel at New York Comic-Con 2022, then you’re in the right place. I watched the live interview and will break it down for you here.

The Wheel of Time panel included official appearances from newcomers Dónal Finn and Ceara Coveney. Dónal Finn replaces Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon in Season 2, while Ceara Coveney will play Elayne Trakand, the daughter-heir of Andor. Read what they, Daniel Henney, Madeleine Madden, Marcus Rutherford, and showrunner Rafe Judkins have to say, and watch a Season 2 teaser trailer below.

New York City skyline. Blue text reads, “The Wheel of Time at New York City Comic-Con 2022.”

The Wheel of Time Panel at New York Comic-Con

Rosamund Pike preludes the panel with a video spoof, which you can watch on her Instagram. It’s cleverly done and very funny, so be sure to check it out.

Damian Holbrook, Senior Writer for TV Guide Magazine, moderates the panel and introduces Marcus Rutherford (Perrin Aybara), Madeleine Madden (Egwene al’Vere), Daniel Henney (Lan Mandragoran), and showrunner Rafe Judkins. Teasing us already by delaying the entrances of Dónal Finn and Ceara Coveney.

Damian Holbrook sets up the Season 2 discussion by referring to the end of Season 1.

If you recall, a fleet of ships approached the mainland, and gagged women used the One Power to raise a tsunami. This was watched by a young girl collecting shells on the shore. Book readers will know these new arrivals are called the Seanchan, and Rafe Judkins picks up the lead question.

Rafe Judkins at New York Comic-Con

This panel is being shared (an hour each) by a contingent from The Rings of Power, so I suspect it’s deliberate of Rafe Judkins to express how the Seanchan’s arrival in The Wheel of Time books begins to distinguish it from The Lord of the Rings.

He confirms that Seanchan invaders will bring upheaval to the world of The Wheel of Time and the story we’ve been following. He looks over to acknowledge Marcus Rutherford and Madeleine Madden, telling us that Perrin and Egwene will both be affected by this new force in Season 2. He’s enthusiastic about bringing this dramatic invasion to our screens.

He says the production takes a holistic approach to the 14-book series, so we shouldn’t expect the TV show to follow the books linearly. This isn’t new information, and The Wheel of Time fans are already accustomed to changes (some take it better than others).

Rafe Judkins also talks about the compression of the source material to avoid working his cast into their old age. I don’t like using the word “compressed” to describe the show’s approach. Can we say “condensed” instead? I think he does later.

Season 2 will see us through the main beats of the first three books, and Rafe Judkins describes these as The Wheel of Time’s foundation stones. They set up our characters, their motivations, and the stakes. They allow the readers to understand the world before the individual characters follow their separate arcs through the rest of the lengthy series.

The showrunner has the same intent for The Wheel of Time TV series, and there’s a lot he’ll need to pack in to achieve this.

Damian Holbrook asks the cast members how many Wheel of Time books they’ve read. They are non-committal, but Josha Stradowski (Rand al’Thor) is the only cast member to have completed the series.

The host’s attention then turns to Daniel Henney.

Daniel Henney at New York Comic-Con

Daniel Henney says Lan’s story is clearly affected now that Moiraine is separated from the Source. The bond between the Warder and his Aes Sedai is broken.

This will profoundly affect Lan and leave him with uncharacteristic uncertainty. It will be a “journey season” for Lan, now torn from his connection to the person he has been questing with in search of the Dragon Reborn. Lan is already without family and the nation of which he should be king, so it’s a challenging situation. Of course, Nynaeve might offer the Warder some solace.

Madeleine Madden at New York Comic-Con

Madeleine Madden is asked whether Egwene’s motivations will see her love for Rand drive her to him or if Egwene will focus on her own aspirational journey because of her One Power abilities instead. The actor looks smart in a pale blue suit with flared trousers and tells us, with equal smartness, that “being an independent woman is really the whole damn meal!”

The audience welcomes the remark, and Madeleine Madden says that Egwene will start to dive into her destiny in Season 2. She also harbors the same sense of loss and loneliness most characters share. Loved ones, homes, connections, familiarities – the Dark One is a nasty dude, you know?

Madeleine Madden admits that the coming season was difficult because of the journey Egwene has, alluding to plot points you may or may not be familiar with. After being continually impressed by Madeleine Madden in Season 1, she will nail her performance again in Season 2. Her character’s predicaments should play to the strengths of her acting ability.

Marcus Rutherford at New York Comic-Con

Looking handsome and relaxed, Marcus Rutherford answers how Perrin will deal with his grief and guilt moving forward by explaining the challenges facing him as an actor.

Above all the characters in the books, Perrin’s strengths and weaknesses are delivered by inner monologue. Translating the blacksmith’s complicated relationship with violence and his introverted nature for the screen is something Marcus Rutherford must find in his performance. He refers to the sometimes “animalistic” side of Perrin with a knowing smile.

In Season 1, Marcus Rutherford gives an excellent portrayal of Perrin but needs a complete arc for his character. That will come, and Perrin will have an exciting season we can all look forward to.

An Interlude

The cold open from Episode 7 of The Wheel of Time’s first season is played on the big screen. I assume this diversion is to attract a new audience to the show. The scene was appreciated and is an iconic moment from Season 1, but I wouldn’t choose it to represent the whole.

Before this interlude, Rafe Judkins commits to having characters talk to each other. It is central to his vision, above the dramatic events they face. Season 2 will be more about personal journeys than the group vibe flowing through Season 1.

Ironically, the showcased scene didn’t capture either of those things, but it’s good to know that The Wheel of Time TV series is intentionally driven by its characters.

Rafe Judkins explains the choice of clip away with conviction. It depicts the inciting incident that leads to the story we are watching now.

The cast then reflects fondly on their favorite moments and memories from Season 1. They do like seeing the iconic moments on a big screen, which I can empathize with. It’s great that the show has the budget and the brains to bring a cinematic experience to The Wheel of Time.

Rafe Judkins and the cast also give kudos to the fans for their cosplay at San Diego Comic-Con.

At last, we move on to the fresh faces for Season 2 of The Wheel of Time.

Dónal Finn at New York Comic-Con

A scene from Season 2, featuring Mat Cauthon (now played by Dónal Finn) and Liandrin Guirale (Kate Fleetwood), is played to the audience. Mat is in a furnished cell in the White Tower and may still need Healing from the dagger. The Red Sisters are on his case anyway.

I should add that I haven’t seen the clips shown, as they are not part of the recording I watched.

After the reel, Dónal Finn is introduced to the audience. He looks laid back but has a nervous laugh and a big grin. Instantly likable.

With his lilting Irish accent, Dónal Finn describes Mat’s social nature and how he likes being in the company of others. Dónal says Mat’s time in the White Tower is one of introspection. He is at odds with his behavior towards his friends and harbors a degree of accountability for his actions. He tells us that Mat Cauthon wants to do better, but the panel is reserved about how this plays out in the second season.

There will be more “craic and banter” between Liandrin and Mat during the season, says Dónal, sharing his love for Kate Fleetwood. She’s earned it in my book.

Evident nerves aside, Dónal Finn leaves me tremendously happy about his casting. One of the good people writing for thegreatblight.com went to see Dónal Finn on stage recently. They commended his suitability for this role based on that performance.

Madeleine Madden mentions the diverse people we’ll see introduced next season and nervously squeezes out “Aiel” as she looks for Rafe Judkins’ approval. Cute.

Indeed, it would have been nice to see Ayoola Smart here. She’ll be playing the awesome Aiel, Aviendha, in Season 2. Instead, Madeleine Madden invites us to meet Ceara Coveney, who is to play Elayne Trakand, a character significant to Egwene al’Vere’s journey.

Ceara Coveney at New York Comic-Con

Another scene is played, and this time, it is Ceara Coveney as Elayne when she meets Egwene in her Novice’s room in the White Tower. It sounds as though Elayne has her nose in the air like she does as she passes a comment on Egwene’s accommodation.

We come back to find Ceara Coveney sat on the tall-legged chairs bestowed on The Wheel of Time’s representatives, and her booted feet hang some distance from the stage. The smiling, red-haired actor is delightful as she faces Damian Holbrook expectantly.

Ceara Coveney is asked to introduce her royal character, who is training to become an Aes Sedai. Elayne is out of her comfort zone as a Novice in the White Tower, unaccustomed to mopping floors and doing other chores beneath her royal status.

Ceara Coveney enjoys playing Elayne because of her friendship-making in an unfamiliar environment. Elayne must learn some humility during her stay.

Her character will complement the personalities of Nynaeve and Egwene, and it’s heartening to hear the actor speak to that dynamic. Rafe Judkins clearly has a shine for what Ceara Coveney brings to her role as the Lioness of Andor. She’s going to be good, folks!

The Wheel of Time Season 2 Teaser Trailer

Rafe Judkins suggests that The Wheel of Time’s second season is a way off yet – no release date mentioned today, folks, sorry – so what follows seems to be purposed for the New York Comic-Con and isn’t the official teaser for Season 2 of The Wheel of Time.

Here’s the clip, which was quickly posted to YouTube:

Rafe Judkins unpacks the clip with little more revealed about the show’s next outing. Season 2 of The Wheel of Time will be “people screaming, fighting, crying… and two people talking in a room,” he laughs.

Rafe Judkins assures us that the groundwork of Season 1 now allows his team to bring the epic journeys of Robert Jordan’s characters to life, and he’s excited for people to see it. So am I!

In the above teaser, you’ll see a clip of Egwene al’Vere screaming. Rafe Judkins describes this as capturing a particular story in the season and one of the best stories told in The Wheel of Time book series. I nod to that.

Sadly, Rafe Judkins doesn’t go further on the Forsaken, but his mischievous smile tells us we should be excited about them, too.

Favorite Moments from Season 2 Filming

After a frigid winter filming in Prague, Czech Republic, Daniel Henney enjoyed time on the beach in Morocco, which Rafe Judkins jokes he also liked. Filming in warmer climates was a welcome boost for everyone.

Damian Holbrook asks what the cast is most excited to see in Season 2 of The Wheel of Time.

Daniel Henney is mostly looking forward to seeing Egwene’s journey play out, and he heralds the depths of Madeleine Madden’s acting ability. Further nods of agreement from myself.

Marcus Rutherford is excited about Dónal Finn’s performance in Season 2 – he feels that what Dónal has done with Mat is “incredible,” and Madeleine Madden agrees.

Dónal Finn pays back the compliment with praise for Marcus Rutherford’s performance as Perrin but shouts out Ayoola Smart and Ceara Coveney, too.

For herself, Ceara Coveney is eager for people to see Nynaeve’s storyline. “Beautiful” is her word, adding to the many adjectives used to praise Zoë Robins’ performances in this show. Rafe Judkins quietly comments, “There will be arches in Season Two,” so prepare for some testing times.

The moderator is excited about what Moiraine and Lan get up to in Season 2, as they were the cogs of Season 1. Damian Holbrook then hands over to questions from the audience.

Audience Questions at New York Comic-Con

The first audience member praises how beautifully the show represented queerness in The Wheel of Time. The books were written when such themes were taboo to a considerable extent, so the show has brought a modern soul to its adaptation.

The question, though, is whether this will extend to any gender divides that can be questioned in the books. Specifically, the One Power and its use by men and women has gender division in principle.

Rafe Judkins recalls reading The Lord of the Rings with his father and brother while he found The Wheel of Time with his mother, and they read it together.

He defines The Wheel of Time as more inclusive and representative than other fantasy books prevalent in his youth. There is a place for everyone in The Wheel of Time, and Rafe Judkins can echo that in his production.

Perrin’s Grief

Joe from Talk’aran’rhiod: The Wheel of Time Showcast was next up with two questions (nice plug, Joe!). First, he wants to know if Perrin will be able to overcome his grief if he is to find another love interest in the show. The second was for any sign of the Season 2 release date.

Unfortunately, Joe didn’t entice any specific spoilers from Marcus Rutherford. Marcus says the pain of losing his wife is still deep in Perrin during Season 2, but we may see him speak more about his feelings. Perrin may adopt some “canine” friends too.

Alas, for book readers, there’s a clear indication that we will miss a character introduced to readers in the third book, The Dragon Reborn.

This is confirmed when Rafe Judkins goes on a tangent to talk about the writers’ room for Season 3. A specific woman has been discussed there, he winks, that Marcus doesn’t even know about.

Joe sits down with the “release” question unanswered.

Rand and Egwene’s Relationship

The next question asks about the uniqueness of Rand and Egwene’s relationship in the books.

Madeleine Madden talks about the two being anchors for each other. Their romantic/platonic relationship also means they bear some accountability for each other. She talks sweetly about this first love and how we find a home in people, not just places.

I feel she doesn’t want to say too much or doesn’t have more answers to give just yet. Sarah Nakamura (chief book consultant for the show) gets a worthy mention from the questioner.

Brandon Sanderson and Adaptation

The next question is about Brandon Sanderson’s involvement in the show. The woman asks whether Rafe Judkins has spoken with Brandon Sanderson much. Rafe Judkins quickly acknowledges Brandon Sanderson’s expertise, and Daniel Henney confirms his presence on set for Episode 2 of the first season.

The question’s primary purpose is what motivates changes from the source material in this adaptation. The woman asking has her own misgivings, but she plays it politely. Rafe Judkins pays tribute to his experienced team and asserts that they want to bring the heart and spine of the books to the screen.

Of course, adapting fourteen books is as tricky as it sounds. Condensing material and following emotion is what drives the writing team.

Daniel Henney’s Mixed Fortune

The final questioner jokes about Daniel Henney’s habit of dying in acting roles. He’s killed in television, film, and animation!

On his status as a sex symbol, Daniel Henney is humble but thinks Asian men have been desexualized in the past, so it’s nice to hear. He’s grateful for compliments about his performance as Lan.

The Wheel of Time Panel at New York Comic-Con Concludes

Damian Holbrook closes the panel to make way for The Rings of Power team. I’m going to give way now, too, parting with thanks to Popverse, where I watched the recording of The Wheel of Time panel at New York Comic-Con 2022.

The panel was nervous but willing, and the only downbeat is that we still don’t know when Season 2 will be released. I suspect we are looking at the second or third quarters of 2023.

Still, the flicker-flicker recap of Season 1 in the teaser shows that The Wheel of Time TV series still enjoys nodding to book fans. I think Madeleine Madden will continue to “wow” me when the shows come back and that I may soften towards Elayne Trakand because of Ceara Coveney. I can’t wait!

Let me know what you think in the comments, and I’ll be sure to respond.

Watch The Wheel of Time and The Rings of Power

If you haven’t already, you can breeze through the first seasons of The Wheel of Time and The Rings of Power with a Prime Video free trial. You can get them streaming now if you sign up through one of the links below:

Watch The Wheel of Time on Prime Video Now!

Choose your country, and enjoy a free Prime Video trial!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I hope you enjoyed my coverage and learned something new, but that’s all I have for now. Until next time, may the Light shine on you, my friends!

Russell

Link to “The Wheel of Time Panel at CCXP 2022, São Paulo, Brazil” post. São Paulo skyline.
TAP FOR DETAILS FROM CCXP 2022, SÃO PAULO
Link to the “Rafe Judkins on Twitter - July 2022” post. The old Twitter logo (a white bird) on a light blue background.
TAP FOR DETAILS FROM RAFE JUDKINS’ TWITTER Q&A
Link to The Wheel of Time Season 2 hub page. A golden-eyed wolf staring forward on a solid black background.
TAP FOR MY SEASON 2 HUB PAGE

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