The vast and intricate universe of Wheel of Time has captivated audiences, and the genius behind its visual representation is Production Designer Ondrej Nekvasil. In a recent interview, Nekvasil shed light on the meticulous process of designing the show’s diverse locations and ensuring they resonate with the essence of the original books. He also discussed the challenges and joys of blending various cultural influences to create a cohesive world.
Drawing Inspiration from the Source
Diving deep into the source material was pivotal for Nekvasil in designing the show’s diverse locations. He emphasized the importance of referencing the original books.
“So we always started back in the books, and we did a search for every single mentioning of that space in the original books, even if it was just one sentence or a small chapter that had anything about the description of that place, that was the start.”
Merging Cultures in Design
The multicultural cast of Wheel of Time played a significant role in influencing the design of the show’s settings. Nekvasil elaborated on this unique challenge.
“Our cast is multi-ethnic, and it’s coming from one village. So we are saying, okay, this village couldn’t look like an Alpine village or some village in European mountains or in China, but it has a kind of flavor and details which are a mixture of all of these villages which we researched.”
A Seamless Blend of Design and Special Effects
The collaboration between the design and special effects teams is crucial in bringing the world of Wheel of Time to life. Using the example of a palanquin from the second episode, Nekvasil detailed the intricate process of deciding what elements would be built and what would be achieved through special effects.
“You saw some episodes of the second season, you did? Okay, so for example, at the end of episode two, there’s a palanquin, and this lady Surath coming into the Ayyad* mill village, and that palanquin was actually designed in our department… And after we did the first model of it, and we went to Andre, to the SFX team, and discussed, okay, how we will move that thing, how we will be able to move it and turn it on because the thing which was requested by the director that actually is coming and standing.”
Ondrej Nekvasil’s insights provide a fascinating glimpse into the intricate world-building of Wheel of Time. His dedication to staying true to the source material while innovatively blending diverse cultural elements showcases the depth and complexity of the show’s design process. As the series continues to enchant viewers, the behind-the-scenes dedication of professionals like Nekvasil ensures its world remains as immersive and captivating as ever.
Wheel of Time Season 2 is now streaming exclusively on Prime Video with new episodes every Friday.
About Wheel of Time
Release: Season 2 Premiere September 1, 2023
Developer: Rafe Judkins
Executive Producers: Rafe Judkins, Larry Mondragon, Rick Selvage, Ted Field, Mike Weber, Darren Lemke, Marigo Kehoe, Justine Juel Gillmer, Sanaa Hamri, Amanda Kate Shuman
Production: Amazon Studios, Sony Pictures Television
Distribution: Prime Video
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Daniel Henney, Josha Stradowski, Zoë Robins, Madeleine Madden, Marcus Rutherford, Dónal Finn, Ceara Coveney
Based on the best-selling Robert Jordan fantasy series The Wheel of Time, a humble farm boy, Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski, Gran Turismo), learns he is The Dragon Reborn—a dangerous figure from history destined to save the world … or break it. Desperate to protect him from the Dark One, an army of powerful sorceresses must reckon with his burgeoning power and encroaching madness.
The Wheel of Time turns, and the Last Battle approaches. Though Rand thought he destroyed the Dark One, evil is not gone from the world. In Season Two, threats new and very old seek out the young friends from the Two Rivers, now scattered over the world. The woman who found and guided them is now powerless to help, and so they must find other sources of strength. In each other, or themselves. In the Light … or the Dark.
Are you as enchanted by the world-building in Wheel of Time as we are? How do you feel about the show’s representation of diverse locations and cultures? Were there any design elements that particularly stood out to you? Dive deep into the intricate universe of Wheel of Time and share your thoughts with us on social media!