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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

The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

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.)

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.

Skyward San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

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 [PENDING REVIEW]

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.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Any updates on movies?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So... Hollywood is Hollywood, right? We've sold Mistborn three times now to three different groups. We've sold Legion twice.

So here's how we stand right now: the Steelheart books are still owned by Fox. Sean Levy's company, he did the Night at the Museum films, but their option lapses in July, on July 1st. They've renewed the option multiple times, to the fact that this is their last option month, and we haven't seen a screenplay. Which is not a good sign. So, I would not hold my breath that, in a month, they're going to greenlight a movie. They had a screenplay, they discarded a screenplay, they have not commissioned another screenplay. They have one month left. They could just come out and be like, "Here's a bunch of money, Brandon!" They're not gonna do that. It'll lapse in a month, most likely.

Legion has been recently purchased a couple of weeks ago. Couple months ago, actually, but by a place called Cineflix, in Canada. Legion was really hot for a while. Then Marvel made a TV show called Legion, and all the interest dried up. And then the Marvel show just kind of went away; I don't think they're doing it any more. And now suddenly everyone wants to buy Legion again... If they make a TV show, they would change the name. The Legion collection is coming out in the fall, and we still have Legion on the title, but it's called The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds as a subtitle.

Snapshot, my novella, came out last year, it's optioned by MGM. They have put a screenwriter on it who is doing a really good job. I'm very impressed with the work the screenwriter's doing. I'm very optimistic about that project. It's looking really good.

The Cosmere is optioned by a group called DMG. They are a primarily Chinese company who-- What they do is, they finance American movies in exchange for getting the Chinese rights. So, they did this on Iron Man 3, and a couple of other films. And they have the rights until next spring. I really like DMG, it's why I sold them the Cosmere. They have been going through some changes lately, the studio exec that was on it has left the company and started a new company. And that's always a little bit of a setback. They have a screenplay for Stormlight. It came out at 250 pages, which is a 3-hour movie. Which they're like "Eh, this is too long." And it still cut out a ton, so they're now looking at television. They wanted to try the thing first, but the fact that everyone's gobbling up the television rights for fantasy properties now makes them say "Ooh, maybe we should actually do a television show on this." So, really, it's gonna depend on, how does the Wheel of Time show go? How does the Witcher show go? How does the new Lord of the Rings show go? And things like that will have a big influence. Amazon's doing a prequel Lord of the Rings series about Aragorn as a ranger. The Witcher is on Netflix. It's been greenlit for about a year, so it's actually moving. And then the Wheel of Time show, just got announced, didn't it? Who has that? I don't know if I can tell you, I don't know if it's been announced. The television show has been announced, I don't know if they've announced who's doing it yet. But somebody is doing a Wheel of Time television show. It's not been greenlit, but it's had a lot of good rumblings. It looks good. I can't say who it is, unless it's been announced, but I've done calls with their showrunner, who I like. They seem to be treating the property with respect. I think there's a decent chance you'll get a good Wheel of Time show now. Decent-- in Hollywood, decent's still a 10% chance, right? But that's higher of a chance than any of my things look like right now, except potentially Snapshot, which I wouldn't give as high percentage, even, because it's not as far along. But I'm very impressed by how it's going.

So, there you go...

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 2018 ()
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FriarTuckeredOut

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.