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Universal Buys Wheel Of Time

May make the late Robert Jordan's epic

There are 11 doorstop-sized books and a prequel in the series so far. There are 1500 named characters, at least 35 of whom are important enough to get regular POV segments. There's magic - BIG, earth-cracking magic - and every environment from tundra to desert. There are monsters and strange beings and lots of women in low-cut dresses. Frankly, no sane studio would even dream of tackling Robert Jordan's fantastic but stupidly long *The Wheel of Time series.

But rejoice, fantasy fans, for Universal is clearly not sane (in a good way)! They have optioned the books, previously with NBC for a mini-series in 2000 and then bought by Red Eagle Entertainment in 2004. In both the previous case and this one, the plan is to work on the (emminently adaptable) first book, wherein a farm boy and his friends are whisked off on a mysterious quest by a witch and a warrior (essentially), and chased by trolls and demons. The headaches will start when they look at the rest of the series. "Well, those Harry Potter films were two and a half hours long, so by our calculations each film in this one should last till, oooh, Thursday".

Jordan himself very sadly died last year, aged just 58, so the twelfth and reputedly final book** in the series is being completed by Brandon Sanderson from Jordan's notes and tapes. In the meantime, fingers crossed that Universal does something with this, but don't be too surprised if the executive in charge gets around to reading the second book and realises it's probably impossible. Still, you gotta love them for giving themselves a challenge.

*That's "point of view", just in case you're reading this a bit early in the morning.

* If he can tie everything up properly in one book, colour us amazed. To do so, he'd have to completely* abandon the rather laconic pace with with Jordan proceeded for at least the last, oooh, six books.

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