Winter Dragon is a 22-minute short television film that aired in 2015 during an infomercial timeslot without prior advertising. It was based on the prologue for The Eye of the World, the first novel in The Wheel of Time book series.
The short film was created so that the production company Red Eagle Entertainment could maintain television and film rights for the series, which were due to revert back to the Robert Jordan estate. This led to a legal discussion that was resolved a year later in 2016. In 2018, Amazon Studios picked up The Wheel of Time television series with Red Eagle Entertainment and most executive producers still attached to the project.
The film is not considered canonical to the television series.
Cast and characters
- Billy Zane as Ishamael aka Elan Morin Tedronai
- Max Ryan as Lews Therin aka Dragon
- Candice Neill as Ilyena
- Peta Johnson as Narrator
Lews and Ilyena's children, actors uncredited:
- Lews Jr.
- Shai'tan, the Dark Lord
- Aes Sedai
- Hundred Companions
- Nine Rods of Dominion
- Lews Therin's home
- Hall of Servants
- Gates of Paaran Disen
- Ring of Tamyrlin
- High Seat
- Lew Therin's attack on his family
- The war with the Shadow
- Lews Therin's attack on the Dark One, and the Dark One's counterstroke that tainted the power
- Breaking of the World
Concepts and powers
- Lightning, wielded by Lews Therin in a flashback
- Healing, by Ishamael
- Resurrection, by Shai'tan
- Singing / the Voice
- The taint on the one power
Act 1: Lews Therin wanders his mansion looking for his wife Ilyena and their children. He tries following their footsteps and their laughter, but is unable to find them. Ishamael appears and Lews Therin greets him as a guest. Ishamael tries to get him to remember, but Lews Therin wanders off. While viewing his reflection, the bright mansion turns dark, and he appears unshaven in tattered clothes. Ishamael confronts him again, but Lews Therin slips back to the bright mansion. The sound of singing rises, and he and his family hurry to join the singing, but Lews Therin loses track of his family again. He returns to the room he just left and finds the floor scattered with dolls. Ishamael approaches Lews Therin and heals him, and the mansion goes dark again.
Act 2: The floor isn't scattered with dolls, but the bodies of the dead, including Ilyena and their children. Lews Therin holds his wife. Ishamael tries to get him to join him and Shai'tan, the Dark Lord. They discuss that the One Power has been tainted, and it will drive insane all men who can channel. Lews Therin now remembers killing his family. To try to get Lews Therin to join him, Ishamael tells him that he can still have a life with Ilyena, who walks out, risen from the dead.
Act 3: Ishamael offers him Ilyena alive in return for Lews Therin serving Shai'tan. Lews Therin denies the offer and walks away from them both. He picks up a blade from the floor and begins ascending the stairs, telling Ishamael that he's going to join his family.
Development and dispute
Red Eagle Entertainment had initially purchased television and film rights for The Wheel of Time in 2004. Rights were due to revert to the Robert Jordan Estate (the Bandersnatch Group) on February 11, 2015. In order to retain rights, Red Eagle Entertainment self-produced the short film and paid to have it broadcast on the FXX Network in the United States during an infomercial timeslot on February 8, 2015.
Red Eagle argued that this constituted getting a TV or film series into production, and thus they should retain the rights. Legal discussions followed. On April 18, 2016, the Robert Jordan Estate issued a statement that legal discussions had resolved and that a television adaptation of The Wheel of Time was being developed with a "major studio".
- A fan asked Rafe Judkins, the showrunner for the Prime Video television series, "Will [Billy Zane] be reprising his role as Ishmael ?", to which Judkins emphatically responded, "NO."
Changes from the book series
- Family - Most of Lews Therin's visions of his family, such as hearing them laughing and seeing them run about and playing a game, were created for the film.
- Children - The names of Lew Therin's children were created for the film. The ages of his children were never stated, but it's implied that they would be adults.
- Dialogue - The dialogue between Lew Therin and Ishamael is notably very similar, with many lines unchanged from the original.
- Ending - The endings are notably different; Lews Therin's end in Winter Dragon suggests he's going to end his life, while the prologue depicts this directly.
"You humbled me in the Hall of Servants. You defeated me at the Gates of Paaran Disen. But I am the greater, now, and I will not let you die without you knowing that. When you die, your last thought will be your complete and utter defeat." - Ishamael
"Consider yourself blessed. At least I am here to end your suffering. Your brothers are not as fortunate." - Ishamael
- at the Internet Movie Database