The Wheel of Time Is Set in a Post-Apocalyptic Future
One of the more intriguing parts of The Wheel of Time's deep lore is that the story technically takes place in our future, technically making the story a post-apocalyptic tale. In the opening scene of Amazon Prime's The Wheel of Time series, viewers see the ruins of skyscrapers covered in fauna, long since abandoned by man. These skyscrapers set the tone for the entire series, giving a very concrete example that the Wheel of Time is set in the far-flung future of our world. While these references are relatively far and few in between in the show, they do provide a bit of context for the occasional reference to real world legends and historical figures that pop up in the show.
The key to understanding the past of The Wheel of Time is in the show's opening monologue, which was taken from the first paragraph of the series' first book "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend," Rosamund Pike's Moiraine says in the monologue. "Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again." Basically, the Wheel of Time refers to a cyclical pattern of Ages. Each Age incorporates people and legends from past Ages, meaning that fans may recognize pieces of the "Pattern" within the lore of the series.
We've seen a few other subtle references to real world legends in the show so far. The previous Dragon, Lews Therin Telamon, is a reference to Lucifer and there are several parallels with the Breaking of the World to Lucifer's fall from grace. The "Final Battle" referenced several times is also known as "Tarmon Gai'don" which sounds an awful like the cataclysmic phrase Armageddon. Even some of the core characters are named after mythical or legendary characters from the real world – Egwene is a reference to Gwynevere of Arthurian legend, Perrin is a reference to the Slavic god Perun, and Nynaeve is a reference to Nyneve, the Lady of the Lake from Arthur myths.
While The Wheel of Time is technically a post-apocalyptic story, don't expect "real world" technology to play much of a role in the series. It's commonly believe that our world took place in the First Age, while the series takes place in the Third Age. There's been at least two world-ending cataclysms since then, so any reference to our age will be pretty rare.
The Wheel of Time is available now on Amazon Prime. New episodes air every Friday.