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NYCC Interview: Executive Producer Marigo Kehoe Talks ‘Wheel of Time’

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As the echoes of “What Was Meant to Be,” The Wheel of Time season 2 finale, continue to reverberate in our minds, we eagerly anticipate the next chapter in this epic fantasy. In October, we were lucky enough to sit with WoT executive producer Marigo Kehoe in a New York City Comic Con roundtable interview. 

Our NYCC roundtable chat with Kehoe delved into the heart of Mat’s storyline and those exciting moments from 2×08 with the Heroes of the Horn. She openly discussed their challenges during filming The Wheel of Time, including lost costumes and the unpredictable nature of a global pandemic and war. Kehoe also shared her excitement upon receiving the third-season renewal from Prime Video and elaborated on their approach to adapting Robert Jordan’s beloved stories.

The interview with Executive Producer Marigo Kehoe about The Wheel of Time

[Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. There are mild The Wheel of Time Spoilers ahead.]

Ayla Ruby: “Can you tell us anything about Mat going forward? And obviously, he’s got this Hero of the Horn thing going on and it’s a little bit different than the books. Anything you can share?”

Marigo Kehoe: “You’re going to ask me season three questions. I’m going to defer and say no, which I’ve done on every other table.”

Ayla Ruby: “Okay. That’s fair. That’s totally fair.”

Marigo Kehoe: “It’s really exciting what’s coming up. And as everybody knows, we’re still filming, so… And it’s amazing. And Mat’s storyline’s great, but I’m not going tell you what happens. I’m sorry. Think I’d get killed by Rafe Judkins.”

Ayla Ruby: “Nope. I get it.”

Marigo Kehoe: “But anyway. Yep.”

The Wheel of Time Season 2
Dónal Finn as Mat Cauthon in The Wheel of Time (Prime Video)

On getting the renewal for a season 3 from Amazon Prime Video

Interviewer: “It must be amazing for the whole producing team to get that vote of confidence from Amazon. You were renewed to season two before season one even premieres, and season three before season two. Does that relieve some of the pressure? Because when you’re dealing with these books that have this huge fan base that are very passionate about it, you’re scared of how the fans are going to react, but also you get this vote of confidence from Amazon. So how does it feel as a producer?”

Marigo Kehoe: “Well, I think it makes our lives easier. We know that we’re getting another season. We can plan because the show is huge, and it’s a huge cast and a huge number of crew. I think we’ve got 600 people on the ground and then 100s of cast as well, some day players, but it’s a lot of people. And if we know and we can plan, and because the scale is so big as well.”

Interviewer: “Yeah. Just gets bigger.”

Marigo Kehoe: “I mean, it’s choosing where we’re going in the world to shoot Cairhien, where we’re going to shoot Falme, where we’re going shoot all those, different world. Remember just thinking about season two. And if we have enough time to plan it, then we can make the world better in every shape and form. And also, you’ve just talked to visual effects, haven’t you?”

Ayla Ruby: “Yes.”

Marigo Kehoe:
“I mean, we can plan with them early on which location we’re going to go to and how we could connect the world that we go to and make it feel real. There’s so much organization and planning that goes into it. The earlier we know, the better.”

On the biggest challenges for The Wheel of Time

Interviewer: “In your position with the show, what was the biggest challenge you’ve had to date, and how did you overcome it?”

Marigo Kehoe: “Biggest challenge. I think sheer scale. So every season we get a different set of issues that we have to do. So I remember season one, doing the Trolloc battle in Two Rivers and actually walking into the Two Rivers for the first time. And the scale of it, it’s enormous and it’s a real village. And the Trollocs, building the Trollocs, and… I mean, you could go on and on and on. It’s just the volume of cast. We have to make everything because it’s a fantasy world. So every prop, every costume, everything is made. It’s not like we can go into the local shop and buy it. We have to… And then we’ve got to drop little Easter eggs in for the fans. So there’s all of that stuff that we have to think about.
And obviously, we try and listen to the fans. If there’s something that we’ve missed, I think it’s quite important that we address it in another season if we’ve missed it in a previous season. So we’ve always tried to correct. There’s always a problem. There’s always something that you have to think about, which is what kept me on the show all this time apart from the lovely people, because the people are fabulous.”

The Wheel of Time Season 2
Jay Duffy as Dain Bornhald in The Wheel of Time (Prime Video)

On bringing everything filmed in Morocco to screen 

Ayla Ruby: “Has there been something in season two that you were really proud to bring to screen, that you were really excited that you pulled it off, that was just a personal best, a happy feeling?”

Marigo Kehoe: “I think the stuff in Morocco was… I mean, that was hugely challenging and I can’t tell you. Filming that in a desert storm with all the crew. We all had masks on. Our poor actors for kind of… The wind and the heat. And the Tower sequence in episode eight, because that’s built. That’s a built tower and the rest of it is visual effects. And just building that on this top of this beautiful, on this beautiful place in Ouarzazate, in the center of Morocco and filming in Dakhla in the western Sahara where nobody had filmed before, so where the dune, the white sand dune is, where they come out. And then the beach where Moiraine does her channeling, that was all in Dakhla in the Western Sahara and it’s in the middle of nowhere, but we pulled it off.”

“It’s one of those things, you have the right team of people around you and you can do anything, including getting costumes that got lost on the way from Essaouira to Dakhla. We got them. They always get there in the end, but there’s always something that you have to deal with. But they got there. They got there.”

On how The Wheel of Time approaches adapting the Robert Jordan books

Interviewer: “Did you approach the material looking at the books as a whole? Or, okay, segmenting, like, ‘Okay. We’re going to look at putting these three books out and then now we’re going to look at the next-‘”

Marigo Kehoe: “I’m going to ask you the same question I asked somebody asked me before. It’s really a Rafe question because I’m a non-writing EP. So I come into it quite late in terms of I’ll talk to Rafe about what he’s thinking and what the writing team is thinking. It’s much more a question for the writing producers than for me in terms of how they adapt. And then obviously I’ve read… I’ve read up book four at the moment, but it’s difficult because I’m always trying to read the scripts and interpret that as well. So I’m kind of trying to do both while we go along and see what he’s trying to do to get it into the eight episodes per season. So he very much… And the writing team, Justine [Juel Gillmer] and all the writers, they very much make the decisions about what’s in and…”

Book Review: The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

The Eye of the World Banner

On her favorite character and who she would play

Interviewer: “Okay. Well, then, let me ask you this for fun. Who’s your favorite character? If you were an actor, who’s the character that you would want to play about?”

Marigo Kehoe: “Somebody asked me that in the summer and I said, Lanfear. And they looked really shocked. But actually, I’m watching Natasha O’Keeffe having such fun playing Lanfear that I’m sort of… I really quite like to be a Forsaken if I was an actor. It’s just they’re having such fun playing bad guys and also I think because they are a mixture of good and evil. You can see… It’s the whole Wheel of Time, isn’t it? We’ve all got good and evil in us and shades of gray. And I look at the way she’s portraying her and she’s kind of wonderful. I mean, she’s evil personified, but she’s having such fun playing her that the enthusiasm. And Fares Fares had a lovely time playing Ishamael. You just think… Of the main characters, I think probably… I think Nynaeve. I think she’s… Nynaeve or Egwene probably. I’m far too old to play either of them, but…”

On if they anticipated the fan reaction to Lanfear

Ayla Ruby: “It’s funny you said Lanfear because there’s such a passion for that character with the fans. Did you guys anticipate that that people would be-”

Marigo Kehoe: “Yes.”

Ayla Ruby: “You knew?”

Marigo Kehoe: “Yeah, yeah. Yeah. We knew. We knew. And Natasha’s just playing her so brilliantly. I hope you agree. I mean, I just think… And she’s having such a ball playing her, that the enthusiasm is… I just love the way she kind of… It’s kind of she… Which, again, we talked with visual effects earnestly about how she uses the One Power. And she’s so wonderfully dismissive and it’s great.”

The Wheel of Time Season 2
Natasha O’Keeffe (Lanfear), Josha Stradowski (Rand), Rosamund Pike (Moiraine), Daniel Henney (Lan) in The Wheel of Time. (Prime Video)

On where her creative fingerprints are for the show

Interviewer: “Bringing something like this is such a collaborative effort. So many people in different departments are doing their part. I feel like everyone can maybe from their perspective see where their fingerprints are from the show, from maybe it’s something difficult for us to see. What are you proud of? Where are your fingerprints that you can kind of point to?”

Marigo Kehoe: “As Rafe [Judkins] will tell you, I’ve got multiple hats, so I’m right from the beginning right the way through until we deliver. So I think I’m just proud of being there for every team member. So I’m the person everybody comes to and says, ‘And what about? Can you sort? Can you… What do you think?’ So I think I’m just proud of being an EP on this show and producing something that I think’s extraordinary. And under incredibly difficult circumstances, through COVID, through Ukraine war, through another bout of COVID, writer’s strike. And we’re still here. We’re still going. And the team is still… So I’m very proud of running a very happy team as well.”

On the scope of the show as we approach season 3 of The Wheel of Time

Interviewer: “You mentioned the scope of the show. Season one was already huge. I watched it and I’m like, ‘There’s no way it’s going to get bigger.’ But then it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And I imagine season three is going to be even bigger. Do you put your producing hat on when you get the scripts and you’re like, ‘Oh, how the F are we going to do this?'”

Marigo Kehoe: “Oh, yeah. Yeah. I always look at the scripts and think, “Rafe. Really?” But what’s wonderful is such you get all the people that we work with and they’re all so creative and we all put our hats on and look at it and think, ‘How are we going to do this?’ And somehow or other, we get through it. It’s extraordinary. I mean, literally when you first read it, you think, ‘Really? That happens? And where are we going in the world to shoot that?’ And then it just happens. We make it happen. And I’m proud that so many of the crew have stayed on it the whole way through, again, because it’s a really happy show. It doesn’t happen often.”

Ayla Ruby: “That seems to be an overwhelming theme between all of the tables that the group is wonderful.”

Marigo Kehoe: “Yeah. It really is. Really is. I mean, I work with Andy [Scrase] and Brian [Shows] in post, but they’re just one bit of my job, if you see what I mean, and we have such fun. They’re really fun people and very clever. So hats off.”

On dealing with things out of their control 

Interviewer: “You mentioned COVID and now the strike, the Ukrainian war. Obviously, when you’re dealing with this intense material, you want to start the production and go through all the way because you don’t want to stop. And then you’re dealing with all of this. How do you get through this? How do you…”

Marigo Kehoe: “You laugh a lot. You laugh a lot. You get your practical hat on and you have to fight another day. I mean, it doesn’t matter what production you’re doing. Things happen and you have to adapt and you have to swivel and you pivot and you work out how you’re going to get through. And if you’ve got a really good supportive team of people… We always do. It’s amazing how an amazing group of people can get you through anything. Anything. And you have to have the right mindset. We’re all a bit crazy. So we have to kind of… It’s very long hours and very antisocial. And my husband obviously looks at me sometimes, says, ‘Where in the world are you now?’ ‘Oh, New York Comic Con,’ right now, having never been before. So I’m quite excited.”

Interviewer: “And have you seen anything since you’ve been here?”

Marigo Kehoe: “Not yet. So hopefully after the panel, we’ll get the chance to. My son’s here. So I’m going to go and… He lives in New York, so…”

Interviewer: “Oh, okay. Got to walk around a bit.”

Marigo Kehoe: “Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.”

On who Kehoe can talk to about the show

Interviewer: “To ask about that then, when you’re dealing with something that is embroiled in secrets, you can’t spoil anything, do you have someone you can confide in, like your husband, your son? Do you have that one person?”

Marigo Kehoe: “No. Not really. I sort of talk to my team. I mean, I’ve got a huge team of people that I work with and we all know what’s going on. And my husband has his own life and my kids have their own lives and they don’t really want to know what I’m doing. ‘Oh, you’re doing another season of Wheel of Time.’ That’s about all they say and, ‘Where in the world are you going this time?’ So yeah, that’s about as far as we go. So they know where location-wise I’m going because obviously, they see me get on a plane to go season three, which I can’t talk about, but yeah.”

Where to watch The Wheel of Time

The Wheel of Time Seasons 1 and 2 are now available to stream on Prime Video. Check them out while you wait for Season 3. 

Are you excited for the next season of Prime Video’s The Wheel of Time series ? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!

For all our past NYCC coverage, including more interviews coming this week, check out the NYCC tag

Interview: Andy Scrase Talks VFX in The Wheel of Time

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Interview: Brian Show Talks The Wheel of Time

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Book Review: The Wheel of Time: The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

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Ayla Ruby

I am a writer and interviewer based somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant. I love all things nerdy - but Star Trek and Spiderman have special places in my heart. Find me at @TulinWrites on Twitter. And visit my other website for more reviews and interviews:

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