Red Eagle Entertainment and The Wheel of Time

Warning the following post contains Trolloc humor, some facts, speculation and conjecture. Common sense should tell you which is which!

Some anonymous people....lets call them ummmm Rick(after the Walking Dead character as he came off as gun ho and not to smart) and Larry(after Larry David the comedian, as he made Narg laugh) left some comments on Narg's last post about not knowing why the Wheel of Time Community and Harriet have such a problem with Red Eagle Entertainment(REE). Narg has decided to try to enlighten them and any newer fans who don't know the history as to why.

The Timeline

MARCH 12, 2004

Press release:

Red Eagle Entertainment™ LLC has acquired the exclusive, worldwide production and distribution rights to Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World™, the first novel in his best-selling The Wheel of Time™ series.  In addition to licensing the property for film and television production, Red Eagle Entertainment will manage a comprehensive ancillary portfolio that will include the development of related video games, toys and other consumer products and services. The announcement was made today by Rick Selvage, chairman and president, Red Eagle Entertainment. Red Eagle Entertainment is in discussion with potential production partners to develop a motion picture based upon The Eye of the World. [Click Here For Full Version]

Wheel of Time Community go "Sweet as bro"

No new news for a year until...

MARCH 07, 2005

Press release: 
Red Eagle Entertainment joins with popular comic book studio to bring Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time™ prequel to comics and graphic novels [Click Here For Full Version]

Fans go "not movie news but what the heck ""Woohoo!"

July 14, 2005

Press release:
Red Eagle Entertainment, LLC™ announced today the general availability of a new comic book series based upon internationally and critically acclaimed author Robert Jordan’s New Spring: The Novel, the prequel to his bestselling epic series The Wheel of Time.™

Red Eagle Entertainment also announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc., the largest distributor of comic books to the retail market in North America. Diamond Comic Distributors will make the New Spring comic series available at comic book retailers throughout the United States and Canada.

Today’s announcements were made at the 2005 Comic-Con International convention in San Diego, California, where Robert Jordan is being featured as a guest of honor.

Red Eagle Entertainment intends to release a graphic novel based upon the New Spring prequel in the first quarter of 2006. Red Eagle Entertainment is also developing a live-action feature film based upon The Eye of the World, the first full-length novel in Jordan’s The Wheel of Time saga.
[Click Here For Full Version]

Sweet A new Wheel of Time product to devour and there's a film in development!
Issue 1 sells out and Issue 2 of the comic gets released on September 7, 2005. All is well??

JUNE 2, 2006
Media release:
Red Eagle to discontinue publication of NEW SPRING
Dear Fans of the New Spring Comic:

We hope that you have enjoyed our past issues of Robert Jordan's New Spring
comic series. However, we have some important news to share with you
concerning the future availability of this publication. As you may know, Red
Eagle Entertainment is the publisher of New Spring, and is responsible for the
printing and distribution of each issue.

The actual production of the New Spring comic series has been overseen by
Dabel Brothers Production (DB Pro), who is responsible for the preparation of
each issue, along with a team of independent artists, writers and colorists that
they hire, supervise and manage.

From the beginning, New Spring has been beset by a series of production
setbacks. Despite repeated efforts by DB Pro to manage these problems, the
production delays have continued unabated and Red Eagle did not receive Issue
No. 6 when due. Moreover, all availability targets for the remaining issues in the
New Spring series have been missed. In addition, there have been major
changes in the creative team over the past months, causing increased effort to
maintain a consistent and quality look for the series.

As the publisher of New Spring, we sincerely apologize for all of these past
delays. Red Eagle has been acutely sensitive to all of the concerns voiced by
our direct subscribers, as well as by our retail customers, local comic shops and
Diamond Comics, our U.S. distributor for New Spring.

We agree that these accumulated delays have become unacceptable. However,
our contract for the publication of New Spring does not give Red Eagle the right
to complete the New Spring series on its own or in tandem with another
production partner. Moreover, our repeated efforts to reach a meaningful
solution with DB Pro have been unsuccessful, as have our discussions with a
representative of Robert Jordan.

With no reasonable alternative available, and after considerable reflection, Red
Eagle is reluctantly announcing it will cease the publication of New Spring. While
the cancellation of this comic series is a major disappointment for Red Eagle, our
real concern is for the many fans around the world that will be deprived of the
experience of reading the final installments of the New Spring story.

We truly regret that we are unable to finish the New Spring comic series.
Although future events are outside of our control, we remain open to any change
in circumstances that may one day permit Red Eagle to complete the New Spring
comic at the standards of quality and punctuality that fans of the series deserve.

We thank you for your understanding.
Red Eagle Entertainment

Ok, so they got 5 issues out before the publisher went all dodgy on them. Shit happens, can't really blame them can we??

JUNE 15, 2006

Press release:
Red Eagle Entertainment, LLC and Alias Enterprises, LLC announced today that they have entered into a far-reaching business relationship to develop, produce and publish new comic books and graphic novels for global markets based on Red Eagle-managed properties and brands. In addition, Red Eagle will have a “first-look” right to develop motion pictures, television programming, video games, and other ancillary products that are based upon Alias comics, graphic novels and original story concepts. Red Eagle further announced that Mike Miller, the Executive Director of Alias Enterprises and original artist on Red Eagle’s NEW SPRING comic publication, will bring his artistic skills and art direction to future Red Eagle projects, including unannounced projects based upon other works in Robert Jordan’s epic series THE WHEEL OF TIME.

Red Eagle Entertainment is also developing a live-action feature film based upon THE EYE OF THE WORLD, the first full-length novel in THE WHEEL OF TIME series.[Click Here For Full Version]

Still developing that Wheel of Time film eh?

Oh look just days after stranding readers on Issue 5, REE announce "new" comics with a new publisher. I'm sure the New Spring readers are overjoyed!

Sometime after that the Red Eagle Entertainment website becomes a holding page.

The next bit of news we get is just over year later from Robert Jordan himself.

AUGUST 22, 2007
I hear things now and then floating out in the air. For instance, I hear that word was floating about ComicsCon in San Diego that I am displeased with Red Eagle. Too true. Too very true. In a few more months that last contract they have with anyone on God's green earth that so much as mentions my name will come to an end and we can see what happens after that. You see, among other things they forgot an old dictum of LBJ back when he was just a Congressman from Texas, when he famously, or infamously, said "Don't spit in the soup, boys. We all have to eat." Worse, Red Eagle though they could tell me they spit in the soup, or pee in it, if they wanted to and there wasn't anything I could do to stop them. You can't apologize your way out of that with me, not that they tried. There isn't enough money in the world to buy your way out of it with me. Not that they tried that either. So they get no further help from me. Once they are completely out of the picture, we'll see what happens.
Ok, so RJ is pissed at REE and wants them gone. REE tells RJ to go fuck himself! (paraphrasing).

Before this point the only real sins REE had committed were building up expectations of a movie(and not delivering) and not finishing the New Spring comics(public perception). Narg can't say he was overly active in the WoT community during this period, but from Nargs memory people were already taking a dim view of them and RJ's comments turned that into open dislike/hatred.

Narg has no intimate knowledge about what led to the falling out between the two parties, but Narg has read that RJ wanted them to pursue a TV adaptation and REE didn't want to budge on their Movie ambitions. Throw into the mix the failure of the New Spring comic and you could see why he might not be to happy with them and while they could legally "spit and pee" in his soup, telling him so probably wasn't the best option especially when he was very unwell.

Was RJ right to blame REE for the comic's failure?(assuming he did) Based on the following email snippet posted to Dragonmount perhaps not:
The Dabels used to be a lot less flaky and a lot more honest. But they’ve gotten really bad over the years, and I’d say that they’re at the shyster level now. They had Robert Jordan snowballed because they convinced him that Red Eagle Entertainment was the bad guy. (I think Red Eagle is just as bad as the Dabels, but that’s another story for another time.)
It could just be a disgruntled ex employee of Dabel Brothers making stuff up but as Tor ran into the same problems with them 3 years later when they used them to produce "The Eye of the World" comics, it's probably safe to say the Dabels were more at fault than REE.

Still, you don't tell a sick man you'll pee in his soup!

Just under month later RJ passes away.

To their credit REE change their holding page to include a tribute to RJ.

Unfortunately things didn't pan out like RJ wanted. REE managed to retain the TV/film rights by doing a deal with Universal or so Narg always believed. Narg not always right.

AUGUST 12, 2008

Variety article:
Studio nabs film rights to Robert Jordan book

Universal Pictures has acquired film rights to the late Robert Jordan’s bestselling “The Wheel of Time” novel series in a seven-figure deal.

Adaptations of the fantasy tomes will begin with the first book in the cycle, “The Eye of the World.”

Rick Selvage and Larry Mondragon will produce for Red Eagle Entertainment.[Click Here For Full Version]

Sounds familiar eh? While this Universal deal was done in August REE states in an interview that they actually excised the rights back in February of 2008:
Red Eagle Entertainment optioned the WHEEL OF TIME property through a subsidiary about five years ago.  Simply put, an option is the right to acquire something at a later time and at terms and conditions that have been agreed upon in advance.  In our case, the option gave us the ability to purchase rights to develop, produce and distribute films and television programming based upon the WHEEL OF TIME, and also to license the themes and characters of the story for various applications such as video games and consumer products.  We exercised our option and purchased these WHEEL OF TIME rights in February of 2008.  And as you know, we are beginning with the adaption of “The Eye of the World”, which we intend to develop as a big-budget, live-action film for a theatrical release to a global audience.
So the excise of the options is what allowed them to retain the rights, which clearly RJ didn't want to happen. So legally they did nothing wrong but going against the wishes of a much loved author that just passed doesn't help your image with a fan base that already hates you.

Harriet said the following about the Universal deal at JordanCon in 2012:
The year after my husband's death, I signed a big, fat contract with Universal giving them the movie rights. They have the rights by contract to make a miniseries or movies of the Wheel of Time books, and they have seven years to get the first movie into theaters. And I've forgotten what the timing is on the miniseries.
Everyone seems to have signed on with Universal, but from comments Harriet made in addition to the above it seems she wasn't overjoyed by the fact.

Next up Red Eagle Games! Surely they won't raise expectations and promise the world again?!?

NOVEMBER 12, 2008
Red Eagle to make multiple films and games based on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books.
Selvage said in an interview that the game company will make a series of games that will be co-launched with the movies. In addition, Red Eagle Games will make a massively multiplayer online game based on the Wheel of Time universe.

“We’ve got a huge running start with this property,” Selvage said. “We expect to have a game based on every movie, and we expect no less than three movies, though that depends on how well each does.”[Click Here For Full Version]

Yep, looks like they've learnt not to raise expectations....NOT!

JANUARY 15, 2009

Press release:
Red Eagle Games Signs Worldwide Distribution Deal With EA Partners
Red Eagle Games will develop and publish a line of stand-alone games on all major videogame platforms, including consoles, personal computers, handheld systems and wireless devices. The games will be distributed by EA. In addition, Red Eagle will launch and operate a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that encompasses the themes, characters and world of The Wheel of Time, which will be distributed at retail by EA.[Click Here For Full Version]

EA is on board! Something must be going to happen! 

AUGUST 4, 2009

Press release:
Hollywood Veteran Screenwriter Chris Morgan Joins Red Eagle Games as Story Director for Games Based on The Wheel of Time Series
“As a massive fan of The Wheel of Time series, and a lifelong gamer, I jumped at the chance to be part of the Red Eagle Games team,” Morgan said. “The world that Robert Jordan created is so rich, the characters and storylines so varied and inventive, that I feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s really a dream opportunity for me.”[Click Here For Full Version]

Sound great things are moving along!

FEBRUARY 12, 2010
Obsidian riding Wheel of Time
Red Eagle continued its aid-seeking efforts today, announcing that it had solicited Obsidian Entertainment's role-playing game expertise to help develop The Wheel of Time games. As part of the partnership, Obsidian will work with Red Eagle's in-house development team to build out the games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.[Click Here For Full Version]

Time to get exited again!

2 years later....

AUGUST 14, 2012

Press release:
Red Eagle Games and Jet Set Games today announced they are collaborating on the development of a mobile game for smartphones and tablets based on Robert Jordan's best-selling fantasy series, The Wheel of Time.

Titled First Banner of the Rising Sun, the game will be a tactical RPG designed to run on smartphones and tablet computers using Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system software. Exploring the back stories of the published novels, the game will chronicle the desperate days of the Aiel War, when a ragtag unit of old soldiers and stable boys was pressed into action to defend the people of Cairhein from the onslaught of a savage invading army. Players will take command of these soldiers and lead them into battle against an army comprised of the greatest warriors in the world.[Click Here For Full Version]

So after waiting two years since the last announcement and four years since the first, REE make a new deal on a completely different game and no mention of games previously in "development".

Gosh haven't seen that before.

Even better, they wanted the fans to pay for its development via a Kickstarter Campaign! That went over like a lead balloon and they only raised $2,984 of a $450,000 target. 

The Red Eagle Games website stays up but with no new updates until it finally joins the REE site in being "Under Construction" in 2015. 

During this "Game" phase REE went through they continued to say they were developing the movie/s and they tried to rehabilitate themselves in the first two years by going to JordanCon, posting on message boards and doing the odd interview. After 2010 they pretty much went quiet on it. 

Fast forward to 

FEBRUARY 08, 2015
Wheel of Time TV show pilot?
It is our understanding that The Wheel of Time movie and TV rights are currently owned by Red Eagle Entertainment. REE has had these rights for many years. During that time, they've been involved in several significant efforts to produce a feature film or TV show. We've reported on these efforts in the past, and have supported them at various times. (Full disclosure: I was a consultant for them on some of these efforts.)
We know that Red Eagle's rights expire after 7 years, beginning about a year after RJ died in 2007. Harriet has been very clear about that length of time in the past. (She's called it an "biblical" number of years.) Based on our math, it's our suspicion that the rights are about to expire. Possibly any day. Typically in contracts of this kind, the producers who own the rights need to produce a TV show or movie before the deadline, at which time they receive an extension.  So in order for Red Eagle to keep those rights, and extend the time period they have them, they would have to successfully produce a pilot before that deadline occurs. All they need to do is put out an episode with the name Wheel of Time on it, and use some familiar characters.[Click Here For Full Version]

11 years after they signed that fateful deal with RJ, REE manage to put something on TV! Congrats!

As I'm sure you know it was a steaming pile of Trolloc poop and WoT fandom were overwhelmingly horrified by it. Harriet clearly wasn't to happy either as she released the following statement:
This morning brought startling news. A “pilot” for a Wheel of Time series, the "pilot" being called Winter Dragon, had appeared at 1:30 in the morning, East Coast time, on Fxx TV, a channel somewhere in the 700s (founded to concentrate on comedy, according to the Washington Post).

It was made without my knowledge or cooperation. I never saw the script. No one associated with Bandersnatch Group, the successor-in-interest to James O. Rigney, was aware of this.

Bandersnatch has an existing contract with Universal Pictures that grants television rights to them until this Wednesday, February 11 – at which point these rights revert to Bandersnatch.

I see no mention of Universal in the “pilot”. Nor, I repeat, was Bandersnatch, or Robert Jordan’s estate, informed of this in any way.

I am dumbfounded by this occurrence, and am taking steps to prevent its reoccurrence.
Was Harriet a bit hasty in her response and misspoke? REE seemed to think so, as they Sued her for Slander, Breach of Contract, and a few other things. Based on the evidence presented in the court filing, Narg will concede she made a boo-boo.

Harriet made a mistake and REE being the classy guys they are sue the Widow of the fandoms much beloved author! Once again REE show us how NOT to handle public relations. Yeah yeah, they were just protecting their interest....NO ONE CARES!

In summary:
  • 2004-2008 WoT Film Rights - FAIL
  • 2005-2006 New Spring Comic - FAIL
  • 2006-2007 Maintaining good relations with Author - FAIL
  • 2008-2015 Deal with Universal - SUCCESS but Ultimately a FAIL
  • 2008-2012 Attempts to get a game/s up - FAIL
  • 2015          Winter Dragon - FAIL
  • 2015          Suing Harriet - FAIL
  • 2015-2016 Deal with Radar and Sony - TBD
  • Maintaining and Managing fans expectations - FAIL
  • Keeping good relations with Fandom - FAIL
  • Being douchebags - SUCCESS
There is one thing to thank REE for. In the whole time they've held the rights, there has been no better time than now for a high quality big budget adaptation to happen and suceed. So thank the Light, God, Allah, Narg, Jehovah, whoever that REE were unable to achieve anything meaningful.

Narg not going to link to to the Winter Dragon pilot but if you want to see a fan made film with better production values watch this:

Narg not perfect, so if Narg missed anything or made a factual mistake please let him know and he will correct it. Disagreeing with Narg's opinion, speculation or conjecture is not a factual mistake.

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