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Subterranean Press Interview ()
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Gwenda Bond

The mysterious Sandra plays a big part in this final story—did you know from the beginning what her role would turn out to be or was this ending a surprise to you? (Without spoiling anything, of course!)

Brandon Sanderson

With my shorter works like this, I tend to let the story evolve over time more than I do with longer stories. This means more discovery, as I'm not sitting down with a framework—the goal, often, is to practice other skills in my writing. (Things that my novel writing doesn't teach me.) In this case, I had ideas for Sandra, and some of those ended up going all the way through—but some I discarded over time. I'm not one who is "surprised" by my writing, however. I don't generally like that phrasing. Sometimes as you're working on a piece, you discover a thread or theme that intrigues you—so you dig into it further, then develop it. Sometimes this means the final piece of art doesn't match the outline. It's not really a surprise so much as a common side effect of the writing process.

Subterranean Press Interview ()
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Gwenda Bond

Is it really the end? Could you ever potentially come back to Legion?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd like to do more with Legion—though it's likely to be in the form of other media. We have a television show in the works, and I've toyed with doing some original audio stories with Stephen in the lead. (Though the Marvel show Legion probably means I'll need to change the name of mine if we do get the show off the ground.)

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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I liked Snapshot quite a bit. Is there any chance you're gonna do more with that world in the future? Crossing over with Legion, or anything?

Brandon Sanderson

It's possible. They're kind of in the same cycle of me exploring reality and [plots], slightly futuristic. Snapshot, right now, is the best shot that we have as a movie. The screenplay came in, and it's great. It is better than the story is, which is fantastic. It's what you want to have happen with a screenplay, you want to have a collaboration, and someone take and integrate and do a better job. It's the first time I've gotten a screenplay back that has been better than the original... So, we have a really good shot, I think, at that one. The screenwriter knocked it out of the park.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
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I just finished rereading through Legion, and I was curious what led you to write so much about religion and that sort of thing. As a religious person, I really appreciated the fair way that you dealt with it in those books.

Brandon Sanderson

Being religious myself, it fascinates me, and the different ways that people intersect religion. Having one person who had all of these different personas that can all have different, varying levels of interaction with religion and the divine was also really fascinating to me. It offered me an opportunity that I probably couldn't do in any other story.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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I can’t wait for the sequel [to the Legion collection.]. I’m sure you’ll be joining me soon.

Peter Ahlstrom

This is the complete Legion collection and there won't be a sequel.

Brandon is feeling the need to tie up some of his projects to get them off his plate. The third Legion story was always intended to be the conclusion, and it is.

Brandon's Blog 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

This is my third and final essay tying in with the release of my new book, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds. The book has been released for about a week now, and I hope you've all had a chance to check it out. This story is something special to me, particularly the third part—which might be the most personal story I've ever written.

But how did it start? The Legion stories seem, at first glance, very self-referential. They are about a man who hallucinates a wide variety of characters—but unlike many protagonists of his ilk, Stephen knows that his hallucinations aren't real, and doesn't (for most of the stories) resist the fact that he is like this. Instead, he uses this ability to help him, acting like a one-man team of experts.

The parallels are obvious. Stephen is very much like me, in that he imagines a large cast of people who accompany him. It's quite the metaphor for being a writer, though when I was working on the first story, I didn't really see this connection. I just wanted to see if I could change something that is often portrayed in film as a huge liability into (instead) a huge advantage.

The original cast of hallucinations—specifically JC, Ivy, and Tobias—were based on actors. This is rare for me, as I don't often "cast" my characters in stories. But to me, it felt like Stephen would have used people he'd seen in film as a jumping-off point to create these personas, much as many of my characters have their roots in the pop culture I consumed when young. Ivy, then, looks roughly like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tobias like Morgan Freeman, and J.C. like Adam Baldwin—with the name J.C. being a reference to the fact that he's played multiple characters with those initials.

But, like any characters I create, these were just jumping-off points, used to spin me into unique characterizations. JC went into this fun mix of self-aware, playing up his quirks, while Ivy became a representation of the fight within Stephen between cynicism and sincerity.

The more I wrote, the more this became a metaphor for the complex relationship between a writer and the characters in their head. The voices that they know aren't real—but still depend on convincing readers to buy as real people. The stories deal with mental illness, yes, but the further I wrote, the more Stephen became a stand-in for the way our perceptions—and our hopes—shape the world we perceive. And maybe for the crisis that can be caused when we realize there's a misalignment between the two.

Going back to the points I made in the first essay, however, it isn't that I was trying to express anything specific by writing these stories. And yet, by the end of the third one, I had indeed expressed something that was deeply personal—and real in ways that it is still strange to me that a piece of fiction can reach.

But that's the point of stories, or at least one of them. A medium through which we can all connect in ways that we never could solely by explaining ourselves. Because art reaches inside us, and expresses aspects of ourselves that aren't deliberate, there's a truth and genuineness to it. A raw sincerity that isn't always about which part of the three-act structure you're crossing right now, or which part of a character arc this event is fulfilling. Those are important to give us a framework. But it is not itself the art.

The structure is the skeleton, but the art is the eyes. The part you can see into and feel it looking back at you. The part that somehow—despite my best attempts to quantify it—is a soul that lives on its own, and defies explanation.

General Reddit 2020 ()
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The Original (audio book) release date, and an unexpected new story!!!

The Original. Author(s): Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal. Released: Sep 14, 2020

Stephen Leeds: Death & Faxes. Author(s): Brandon Sanderson. Released: Sep 01, 2021

Brandon Sanderson

They are official. We're trying some new things.

The Original, which I wrote with Mary Robinette, was a true collaboration. I pitched an idea and an outline, Mary Robinette did the first draft, I did a pass myself, then she did the final touches. It turned out great.

With Legion, I' wanted to try something different. I've got a partner in Hollywood, and since I've had so much trouble getting a Stephen Leeds television show made, I figured we'd try it as an audiobook series. Basically, we got a writer's room, brainstormed some ideas, and are treating this like a pilot to a "television show" but only audiobook.

This means I'll be overseeing the project like a show runner, but won't be writing the individual "episodes." We're only doing this first one as a try-out to see what fans think of this process.


Does that mean the Legion audio is a reboot or sorts or is it still a continuation from the books?

Brandon Sanderson

More a continuation, not really a reboot, but not happening after the third novella. More like, "From the case files of" sort of thing.


What about the two "Dark One" titles: Dark One: Prophetic Histories and Dark One: Forgotten?

Brandon Sanderson

These are just in the concept stage, but we're getting closer to making them. Dark One is being made into a television show, but I don't have a lot of power over how/when that will happen--so we are doing the graphic novel. Separately from that, we're going to do a couple of audio dramas. One will take my outline and make it into a novel. The other is this wacky idea I had for a "Serial" style podcast, with a journalist tracking a killer, which ties into all of this. Forgotten is that.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Updates on Minor Projects

The Reckoners, Legion

These are both finished, and I don't foresee any future updates anytime soon. Do note, however, that the Reckoners board game has been shipping, and it turned out great. You should soon have a chance to buy copies if you missed the Kickstarter, and I suspect there will be expansions in the future.

Status: Completed

YouTube Livestream 17 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

I am likely done writing Legion novellas. I still hold out hope for a television show; we have the rights to that sold. And there's a decent chance we'll do some audio originals that I'll do with a co-author on those. So if you really like Steven Leeds, I've always imagined Legion as a television show pitch. That is from the very first novella, I am writing in-depth episodes (kind of like the Sherlock episodes of the BBC Sherlock), standalone episodes that build on each other was my pitch to myself.