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Behind The Scenes Footage Of The Wheel Of Time's Epic Fight Scenes - Exclusive

Contains spoilers for "The Wheel of Time" Season 2

Most massive cinematic universes come with their fair share of action and adventure. At times, this is created using green screens and computer effects. However, there are some studios that insist on doing as much as they can the old-fashioned way. Amazon Studios is one of those. They've poured serious cash into several of their biggest productions — a portion of which is clearly being applied to the creation of real, in-the-flesh effects. 

For instance, in 2022, the studio's "The Rings of Power" series made a splash by releasing a title reveal trailer that captured real molten metal, fog, and water using clever camera shots. These were so subtle they likely tricked many into thinking the sequence was entirely computer-generated. 

Amazon Prime's "The Wheel of Time" series has a similar commitment to real sets and effects. In a recent behind-the-scenes experience, Looper was invited to Jordan Studios, where we got an up-close and personal look at the multi-story sets, elaborate costumes, and stunts — lots of stunts. Along with seeing the stunt sets themselves, Stunt Co-ordinator Jan Petrina and his skilled team of stunt artists recreated several scenes from Season 2. These were performed in their raw form — that is before they were gussied up and taught to the official cast members to act out in front of a rolling camera. Below are three of those moments for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

A fade fight

One of the stand-out elements of "Wheel of Time" is the sword fights. Robert Jordan, author of the beloved series of novels the show is based on, went to great pains to develop his main characters' battlefield prowess. Rand (Josha Stradowski), for instance, becomes notoriously good with a blade over time, and there are extended sequences in the books where Jordan explains the various moves he and others use to fight their opponents.

During our set visit, we saw a unique sword fight recreated — one between Rand's sparring teacher, Lan (Daniel Henney), and several fades. In the final footage early in Season 2, several of the faceless Shadowspawn attack the powerless Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) at night in a circle of rocks. They gash her stomach and close in as she lies helpless on the ground. Before they can strike a killing blow, though, Lan comes leaping to the rescue. The Warder fights off all of the fades (with a little Aes Sedai help) in an epic sword duel that is reminiscent of nothing so much as Aragorn's iconic battle with the Ringwraiths on Weathertop in "The Fellowship of the Ring." 

While the fight is fun in its final form, the uncut, raw version with Jan Petrina's crew is just as exciting. The fact that it plays out in one fell swoop, without any cuts, makes it that much better. Check it out above.

Aiel in action

The Aiel are an important part of the "Wheel of Time" story, and they'll be entering Amazon Studios' adapted tale this season. However, we've already had a glimpse of an Aiel in action in Season 1. In the epic opening sequence of Episode 7, we saw Rand al'Thor's mother, Tigraine (Magdalena Sittova), battle off an army of attackers while pregnant. She is one of the Aiel, a red-haired race of super-warriors who live out in the desert, Dune style, and her fight introduced a new kind of sparring to the cinematic "The Wheel of Time" universe.

In that Season 1 scene, Tigraine makes short work of her heavily armored assailants — and we saw a similar demonstration provided at Jordan Studios. Jan Petrina's crew re-enacted a fight in which a cross-bow-wielding red-haired warrior takes out an enemy on a high terrace, sending them flying through the air to their (softly cushioned) doom. She then proceeds to use nothing more than a pair of daggers to take on three more opponents with swords. After dispatching two of them, she runs at, leg-wraps, and body-slams the last one to the ground. It's an exciting fight and one that hints at lots of bigger, badder stunts to come in this quickly growing world.

Loial gets rowdy

By Season 2 of "The Wheel of Time," the leading characters have split up, and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) and Loial (Hammed Animashaun) find themselves traveling together with a troop of Shienarans. Eventually, the group is ambushed in their sleep by Seanchan warriors and they are either killed or captured — but not before putting up a fight. 

One character who gets surprisingly hands-on with the violence is Loial. As an Ogier, Loial is a naturally peaceful individual. He's old (compared to humans) and has had many decades to practice his slow-simmering, peaceful approach to life. However, during the ambush, Loial is attacked by several opponents at once, and he opts to defend himself. He throws several soldiers in different directions in a well-choreographed scene — one that Jan Petrina and his stunt folk recreated in the second half of the video above. 

In it, one person stands in for Loial while several others, some of whom are harnessed, attack him and are thrown in all directions. Petrina can be heard narrating the sequence before and after the event, too, explaining the variation in different jumps and hurls that are possible with the equipment.

Wheel of Time is putting in the effort when it comes to stunts

"The Wheel of Time" isn't skimping when it comes to stunt work. While on set, Jan Petrina told us that most of the actors on the show do their own stunts, at least to a degree. Whenever it's possible for them to safely learn how to act out a sword duel or throw a person through a wall, they're with Petrina and his crew.

Sometimes they have minimal time to practice. In those cases, the stunt group will film sequences and send them to the actors to practice ahead of time. However, often they spend weeks leading up to a shoot going over moves together. As they learn their moves, they progress into practicing with armor and more restrictive clothing before taking the final product in front of a camera to capture it in all of its glory. It's an intensive process and one that doesn't come together overnight, nor without tremendous skill, effort, and professionalism. The tragic part of it all is that if Petrina and company have done their job right, no one even thinks about them while they're watching the show.

There's plenty of fighting to come in The Wheel of Time

Season 1 of "The Wheel of Time" was filled with plenty of fighting already. There was the wild raid in the Two Rivers, duels with darkfriends and fades, and a massive battle with Trollocs. Even a fight with a Forsaken was tossed in for good measure to wrap things up for the season. Season 2 is already significantly busier and bloodier than its predecessor — and things are still just getting started.

Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time" books spend thousands of pages building up to a fevered pitch, and there's no doubt that the show is headed in the same direction. As the action intensifies, there's bound to be many more stunts to come, whether it's in the form of a duel, a battle, or an individual being blown to smithereens by the One Power. Whatever the action may be, Petrina and his team have created an excellent system to develop choreographed scenes, practice them safely, and ultimately execute them to perfection.