And I’ll tell you why . . . it’s not for the reasons you’d think after reading this article from Bounding Into Comics:
Amazon’s upcoming Wheel of Time series will race swap Egwene, Perrin, and Nynaeve.
Wheel of Time showrunner Rafe Judkins confirmed casting announcements for the upcoming Amazon adaptation. They cast Marcus Rutherford as Perrin Aybara, Zoë Robins as Nynaeve, and Madeleine Madden as Egwene Al’Vere. They also cast Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor, and Barney Harris as Mat Cauthon.
The casting news comes after Rafe Judkins revealed his ideas of how the show was going to handle casting. Judkins posted a script grab that read:
“As much as possible, our cast should look like America will in a few hundred years — a beautiful mix of white, brown, black and everything in between.”
Okay, so race-swapping is the “in” thing these days. Read that quote from Judkins again and remember the world of The Wheel of Time is not America.
You should be. This Judkins dork is trying to impose Current Year mores and norms on an adaptation of a fantasy series. What the absolute hell does what Judkins thinks America in “a few hundred years” (if it’s still around) will look like?
This ramming of modern political considerations, sans lube, right up The Wheel of Time‘s metaphorical keister, is a huge and painful red flag.
This show will be social-justice infused to the hilt of its Power-infused, heron-marked blade. And it’s not these actors’ fault. It’s this Judkins moron’s.
These casting decisions also appear to go against the vision of Wheel of Time creator and author Robert Jordan.
Back in 2014, notes from the Robert Jordan Collection at the College of Charleston revealed the actors he modeled his characters after.
Egwene was described as Audrey Hepburn at age 18. Nynaeve was described as a young Jacqueline Bisset and Perrin Aybara was a young Val Kilmer.
This is the key: it goes against Wheel of Time Robert Jordan’s vision.
For those who aren’t familiar with the books, each nation is a rough amalgamation of various real-world cultures. The Two Rivers, from where the series’s main characters hail, is a small, backwater region of the nation of Andor, which is supposed to be England. Not a lot of Africans in medieval England.
If they’re getting this basic fact wrong, I shudder at how they’re going to mess up the rest of the tale. One can only imagine the further changes.
And this isn’t a race thing, though I laugh at things like that recent BBC adaptation of The Iliad with a black Achilles and other characters (Greek-washing?). Seriously, it’s way too much to suspend my disbelief when there are non-Greek-looking individuals in Classical Greek epics.
It’s like when you see rainbow-flag draped churches with female pastors that don’t really believe the Resurrection is a historical fact. What else are they deciding to eschew?
There are black nations in Wheel of Time like the Sea Folk. Will we see white Sea Folk? No, but more likely we’ll see black and Asian and whatever members of the talk, fair-skinned, red-haired, and blue-eyed Aiel tribe.
Tarabon and Arad Doman are Persian and Arab-inspired. Shara is black. Saldaea and Arafel are sort-of central Asian. Lots of cool characters come from there!
Semirhage, one of the most powerful of the evil Forsaken, is black. Will we see a white actress play her?
Of course not. Because that would be silly and against Robert Jordan’s vision for that character.
And yet, that vision is violated willy nilly in something as basic as casting. Not like any of the other actors chosen, save for Rosamund Pike, look particularly good either.
Cautiously pessimistic about this TV series? Nah fam, I’m straight-up cynical.
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