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Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioners (Paraphrased)

*Exact transcription impossible as everyone is talking over each other* Basically a couple of fans were talking with Brandon about making Legion into a TV series; one person thought that in the pilot, the aspects need to be actors, while the other thought that (for the pilot only) they should not be seen, so Stephen looks like a wacky eccentric talking to himself about solving mysteries, and then the episodes would reveal the individuality of the aspects.

Brandon Sanderson

*paraphrase* Brandon agreed that the second approach would be very clever, but that it would be very hard to convince (someone - not sure if it was himself, or the aspects, or who!) to do that, because he has them all cast in his head.

*verbatim* Normally I don't cast actors in the roles in my books, they're just who they are, but each of the aspects is an actor to me. If you look really closely, you might be able to guess who they are, because they're all famous actors.

We sold it to Lionsgate, and they never made it, and the option lapsed. We've sold it to somebody else now, but we’ll see if it ever gets made.

 

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

Have you been approached by anybody about making a movie?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, "making a movie," okay, okay. *sighs* *crowd laughs* So, Holywood. Holywood! Holywood is this-- they do this thing where they option books, right? And this-- most of the deals you see, they get signed, are what we call an option. They come in, they say, "We think we might be able to get a movie made, but we don't know for sure. So we're going to rent the rights from you." Against-- Like leasing. Renting to own. Where we pay you a certain amount every year that's against a big payout, and if we ever decide to make a big payout we buy the rights outright. But until then we can rent them for like five years and pay you every year or eighteen months. These are very common in Holywood. They happen a lot. And it's-- now that I've become involved in this it's kind of interesting to me that, like, when something gets optioned it's like, "Huge news! Oh, it's gonna get made!" But one in thirty of these get made <by general>. And most of the deals you're hearing about are those. As well you'll probably hear about this deal, you'll be like, "Oh, somebody's going to make this film." And then five years later you're like, "Whatever happened to that?" Well, it was just an option deal. And I've had like ten things get optioned. Like I've sold things over and over again and stuff like that. And so yes, people have my works optioned. Nothing I've done has ever gone past screenplay except for Alcatraz, at DreamWorks Animation which went to storyboard before then they decided to kill it. So, yeah obviously you didn't get that movie. That was years ago. They made the Croods instead. *crowd laughs* No, really, I-- those were the two competing projects. So I got-- So nothing has gone past screenplay-- I have gotten a screenplay a couple times before, but the step after that is like to get a director attached, and then like, you know, then get a greenlight, or get actors attached. The greenlight is the hard thing. The only thing I know of that got greenlit recently is The Sword of Shannara, which is coming out in January I think. Everything else I know is just an option. And so, yeah. But Steelheart's at Shawn Levy's company, who did the Night at the Museum films. Emperor's Soul is at DMG who were producers on two of the Iron Man films. The rest of the Cosmere is optioned by somebody else, but they haven't announced it yet, so I can't talk about it. They're very specific about stuff like that. Legion's been optioned twice, and both people have not been able to get that made as a television show. I mean, everything's been optioned.

MisCon 2018 ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

Any updates on movies?

Brandon Sanderson

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...

JordanCon 2018 ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Do you have any updates on games or movies or shows?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, let's go down the big run-down.

We've been having moderate luck with board games, people are actually producing the things that they sign up to do. So, we should be having another board game before too long. We have the House War game, and we have the Reckoners game coming out, and there might be another one to announce eventually. We've been having a lot more luck there than we have other places. Video games, nada. There's just nothing. I would love to do a video game, but-- yeah. I don't know what's going on over there. We sold the Mistborn rights, they were really nice, and then they didn't do anything for, like, five years, and eventually, they're like, "We can't make this."

So, Hollywood. Steelheart series is owned by Fox, with 21 Laps producing, that's Shawn Levy's company, he made the Night at the Museum films. They still own that, they are on their second renewal of the options, so they've had it for a number of years. I have not heard anything from them since last July, when they called and said they wanted to keep it still and wrote us a check. I don't know what's going on there.

Snapshot is owned by MGM. Snapshot is a novella I wrote about a year ago, it's kind of Phillip K. Dick-ish, with a little bit of Se7en, the serial killer show. It's different. MGM bought that, they have assigned a screenwriter. The screenwriter said his goal would be early this year, in his schedule, to work on it. And they've been fairly good at staying in contact with us every couple of months. We haven't heard from them since, about, December, when they said that there would be there, so we probably need an update there. But things seem to be moving just fine there.

DMG has the Cosmere. They bought it up in pieces, and eventually just bought the rest of it from me. They have been really good to work with. DMG has always involved me in everything. They have shown me every screenplay and script they have come up with, and they made the VR experience as a tool to try to explain the Stormlight to studio execs who don't read books. Which you can get on VR systems, if you want. It's kind of trippy, with you down in the chasms in the Shattered Plains. But that was primarily so we can go to studio execs and be like "It's like this!" But they have been really good to work with. Right now, latest news is they're worried Stormlight is going to be too hard to do as a film series. Surprising! So, latest discussions with them-- Though, we did get a screenplay from them that came in at 250 pages. Which, if you don't know screenplay format, one page equals one minute, so 250 pages is 4+ hours. And it still cut out a lot, so they're like, "Well..." So, I don't know where that will go but that is where we're looking right now. Mistborn, they're still looking at for a feature. They have a screenplay that they are trying to get studios to partner with them, and things like that. They're doing the whole Hollywood runaround. So, who knows.

Most likely, the best thing that could happen for Stormlight would be for Wheel of Time to get made and do really well, and then everyone will be like "Wow, we want more epic fantasy. It's not just Game of Thrones, it's lots of stuff!" Hopefully, that'll go places, but I don't know any more than you guys really know about that. I can't say specifics. I did do a phone call with one of the people involved, they reached out and said "Hey!" but it's just "Hey, we're the TV people, hi!" So, we will wait eagerly for updates on that.

We haven't announced a deal, but we've signed contracts on Legion for another television show. Legion, this will be our third or fourth option on that. If you don't know how Hollywood works, they option things, which means they rent the rights, and they get them for three to four years depending, with payments every year or eighteen months. And during that time, they try to get it in development, try to get everyone excited about it, try to get it to a screenplay, and stuff like that. And at the end of those years, they either pay you the rest of the money, if they have the option-- it's like a rental that applies, it's like rent-to-own. The big price, that they pay a little of that price. Or they just decide to let the option lapse, and then it goes to someone else. So, that has happened at least several times. Nobody wanted it for a while, when the Marvel show was happening, and suddenly, they want it again.

So, there's your rundown. A whole lot of "Well, this looks promising, I think," which is how it's always kind of gone. Hopefully, Wheel of Time or Name of the Wind will come out and do really well, and that will spark everybody wanting to make very expensive fantasy properties and very expensive television shows. Because The Stormlight Archive will not be cheap. It will be really, really not cheap. So, if you have an aunt or an uncle who happens to runs Netflix Originals division, tell them they need a billion dollars. They've got it, right? They have to spend it, or they'll have to pay taxes on it, so might as well do Stormlight.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#5 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates

Other Properties

Legion and Dark One are currently in negotiations. The rest of the Cosmere is covered by the DMG deal, as we want one company working on that at a time. We have a small deal for Defending Elysium that has it under option with a screenwriter, and the first draft screenplay is good. That leaves AlcatrazThe Rithmatist, and a couple of shorts (DreamerPerfect StateFirstborn) with no options right now.

JordanCon 2014 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

How much more do you want to write about Stephen Leeds?

Brandon Sanderson

How much more do I want to write about Stephen Leeds, from Legion? I want to write a decent amount more. I have finished Legion 2, which you may have noticed, which is called Legion: Skin Deep. I had a really great name for a title, but I don't know if I can use it because Skin Deep is a reference to beauty, right? But I thought a great title would be Legion: Lies of the Beholder. I like the pun on that but that is also "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" so I can't make them all puns off of beauty. The original concept with Legion was to do a short that would--I imagine being a television show, it's how I imagined it and I wanted to do future episodes, so to speak. I particularly love the episode format they are doing for Sherlock on the BBC, if you guys have seen that, where your season is three hour-and-a-half long mini movies basically. And I love that format for a television show, I wish we could get more television shows doing that. I would rather sink my teeth into an hour-and-a-half long episode that has character growth, real growth and development, progress and the next one doesn't just hit the reset button and say, another adventure. It is progressing the characters further. I'd rather get three of those in a season than a twenty-two episode where of those episodes eighteen are just yet another adventure with no progress. And so--anyway that's how I imagine that.

Questioner

When Legion came out there was talk Hollywood was already interested.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, we sold the rights and then they let them lapse. They kept the rights for two years and they let them lapse.

State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Tertiary Projects

Legion

The new Marvel television show is unrelated, but it being out killed our chances of a television show based on these books. I do want to do a third story, but might save it for another short story collection (with all of the non-cosmere works like this, Perfect State, etc.)

I really wanted Legion to be a television show, even before I started writing the first story. So we might rebrand them, calling them simply Leeds, and try another run through Hollywood with the new titles. If so, another novella would certainly help us get attention there. We'll see.

Status: Probably not this year, but still on my radar.

FanX 2018 ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

Is there any possibility of a Legion television show?

Brandon Sanderson

There is, we have sold the rights to a company called Cinaflex in Canada, they are trying to develop one right now. Hopefully, it turns out alright. We probably have to change the title because there is a Marvel Legion series, we would probably just call it Leeds.

Questioner

That would be awesome. What about Snapshot?

Brandon Sanderson

Snapshot's at MGM, they have a really sharp screenplay that I love. Best screenplay based on my work that anyone's ever turned in. I'm really, really excited and hopeful for that one but there is no greenlight yet so who knows.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates

Stephen Leeds/Legion

The Stephen Leeds stories have recently been optioned for a television series by a new production company. This is the property's third time being picked up for an option, so I'm hopeful we'll make it work this time. I don't believe the company has been announced officially yet, so we'll hold off on mentioning them for now. But we're probably in the middle of Step Two for this one.

Skyward Chicago signing ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Where are Brandon Sanderson properties as far as other media are concerned? So let's run down them.

Fox has The Reckoners. I don't know how being bought by Disney affects that at all. But they have been very enthusiastic about The Reckoners for many years, and I hope that they will continue to be.

MGM has Snapshot, which is lesser-known, it's like a cross between The Matrix and Se7en. It's very different for me. They are very far along, they have a really excellent screenplay, and that one, I wouldn't be surprised if that's the first one that gets made. Which would be kind of odd if the first Brandon Sanderson property is a serial killer thriller.

Speaking of thrillers, Legion is owned by a group, they just bought it this summer, and last I heard they were working on showrunners and had somebody interested, so that is in a good place also. We probably have to change the name, now that Marvel has a Legion show.

The Cosmere is owned by DMG Entertainment, whom I love. They have been great to work with. The Cosmere is very difficult to adapt. They have been good partners in trying to find the right way to adapt that. Nothing is off the table. I still think it's most likely that we would see Stormlight as a television show, Mistborn as a movie, but these things are still in the foundational stages, just of getting screenplays that we like and things like that.

I think that is everything right now. I'll do a bigger thing on my blog in December where I catch anyone up.

Any more board games? There was a Stormlight board game, and we have backed off on that because some of the early things we got, we didn't like the direction it was going. We have really liked the two board games that have come out. They have both turned out really well. They have both fulfilled their Kickstarter requirements, which is one of our number one things, we don't want to have that hanging over people. So they've both been really great partners. I still would like to see Stormlight, we were going to do a Shattered Plains style game. We'll see how that goes.