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Firefight release party ()
#1 Copy


Is Mistborn ever going to be made into a movie?

Brandon Sanderson

Is Mistborn going to be made into a movie. I recently read the treatments by the guy who has the movie rights and I like them a lot. They are doing good work with the treatments. We sold the rights. Whether they'll get made or not is still kind of a crapshoot because this is how Hollywood works, right? So we will see, but the treatments are good. Peter can back me up on that. The first one we like a lot… So yes there is motion but I don't know how long it will take us, okay?

When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
#3 Copy

Jeremy (paraphrased)

What's going on with the Mistborn movie, and how can I get involved?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

One of the conditions I set for the movie is that there has to be an open casting call. The film branch of Little Orbit has purchased the rights. If they complete the game within 18 months, they can renew their rights and keep working on producing the movie; otherwise, the rights will go up for sale to someone else.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
#6 Copy


Allomancy can be such an internal form of magic... how would you see it being dealt with visually, if Mistborn were ever to have a TV/movie version?

Brandon Sanderson

Pushes and Pulls are going to be done (if this version of the film gets made) by having metals glow blue when an Allomancer is using their powers. There will be visual or auditory cues for the other powers as well.

General Reddit 2021 ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I've come to the mindset that there are two general ways to approach adaptation. One is to try to be very faithful to the actual text, and the other is to redo almost the entire thing for the new medium, while trying to keep the soul of it the same.

I've actually written treatments of Mistborn that do both of these. As an exercise, I did one more recently (for the screen) where I threw out every scene from the book and asked myself, "If I were doing what was absolutely best for a film, but telling the same story, how would I have written this?"

That treatment for that screenplay was very different from the book, while at the same time still being the book--same soul, same characters, same basic plot beats. But no actual scenes from the book except Vin/Elend on the balcony. Everything was approaching the story from a cinematic viewpoint--and I found that in a lot of cases, this new treatment was stronger.

There is, of course, a continuum between these extremes. But it taught me a lot about adaptation. And the Wheel of Time I saw tonight was absolutely worthy to be called the Wheel of Time, even though a lot of the scenes were new.

My perspective is, perhaps, skewed by my experiences. I tend to be someone who LIKES seeing film and television adaptations do new things. That doesn't prevent me from, as a producer on this, warning Rafe of places where I think the fans will prefer he stay closer to the source material. (Indeed, there are lots of places where I would prefer that he did.) But it does let me appreciate what he's doing, and how well it works. And a part of me likes that I can go and treat this as something new, rather than just a clone of something I've already read some two dozen times.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
#8 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates

The Cosmere

DMG Entertainment optioned the rights to the Cosmere, and they have been wonderful to work with. They commissioned screenplays for The Emperor's Soul, Mistborn, and The Way of Kings. They're currently in Step Three above, trying to get studio interest for the properties. Mostly, they've been pitching Mistborn as a film series and The Way of Kings as a television series.

Likely, the success of things like the new Lord of the Rings show and the Kingkiller Chronicles will influence how this goes in the future.

YouTube Livestream 18 ()
#9 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

I did a [film] treatment for Mistborn, recently, where I'm like, "How would I envision this getting made?" And I basically had to throw out the book, start with the same premise, characters, and idea, and build it again for the medium, rather than try to pick specific scenes. Because specific scenes that I wrote in the book are there to work on the page. I needed a scene that did the same thing, but wasn't all internal. (Not really internal, but the character responding in their head.) And it needed to work differently. I have a lot more respect for adaptations.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#10 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

To forestall the other inevitable questions. Movies have been sold for: Mistborn, Emperor's Soul, and Steelheart. They are all in development, none have started filming. Be skeptical of any film deal until someone starts shooting a camera, okay? Right? Just be aware of that, when something starts filming, you can get excited. Until then, just know that people are paying me lots of money to not make movies from my books. *laughter* Which is very nice.

The video game's kind of just in limbo. The guys who are working on it--there's a Mistborn video game--they're great, but they had setback after setback. So I would, if I were you, not hold my breath on that one. Maybe it'll happen, maybe it won't. If it does it's a happy surprise.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
#12 Copy


Do you have any word on the Mistborn video games that are coming out?

Brandon Sanderson

I have no official word, other than to say that we did option the rights to the film to the people who are making the video game, and told them, "You have to make the video game or you can't make the film." I actually really like them, and their script treatments on the film are great. And it's not their fault, really, that the game hasn't taken off. It's just that they've had - these things happen in video games. The studio they were working with went under, and another one split, and this sort of stuff happens.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#13 Copy

PatrickDiomedes (paraphrased)

I just remembered that someone asked about the whole movie deal thing, and Brandon gave a more thorough explanation.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

What happened is that DMG, which is a Chinese company, came to him first about The Emperor's Soul, because they wanted to make stuff that has more Asian characters. And they wanted to do it in Hollywood, because Hollywood's seriously lacking in representation of Asians. So he sold that to them first, and then they called him back a couple months later asking about the entire Cosmere. At that time, Mistborn was still optioned by another group, but Brandon sold all the other stuff, and they started on The Way of Kings right away. And then as soon as Mistborn became available they bought that up, so that they had the entire cosmere. And he said that The Way of Kings is ahead right now, but Mistborn will likely be first, because it'll be easier to produce and stuff.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#14 Copy


My last question shouldn't be as hard to answer and that is: Who is in charge of the Mistborn movie you mentioned at the #tweettheauthor?

Thank you so much, I love your books!

Brandon Sanderson

It is a small production studio, so nobody you'd recognize. The producer is a fan of the Mistborn books who has some credentials in independent films, and who has impressed me with his treatment of the books and his determination to make the film. This individual is starting a production company to focus on the film. We're in the contract stages now, and once that is done, I can be more specific.

It's not like the Alcatraz movie, which was optioned directly by a studio. Because of that, the Mistborn movie is probably a lot less likely to happen—but, the hands it is in are quite good. Anything having to do with Hollywood is a long-shot in the first place, so (after meeting with the producer) I decided that I'd rather take the slightly more unlikely chance in exchange for the opportunity to work with someone I felt understood the books.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#15 Copy


So, the game Mistborn: Birthright, it's been two years now.

Brandon Sanderson

...I love the guys who were working on it, but I, if I were you, would consider it vaporware until you hear more. They've had some real troubles with their funding. They're great people who have just not been able to get the game going. They make a lot of easy, quick games for movie tie-ins, this one is *inaudible*, so it's just been a lot harder for them to get going. Again, they're fantastic people, and I hope that they'll get something going about it eventually, but I'm not gonna talk much about it until they do.

So, someone's gonna ask, the movie thing. So, Shawn Levy, owns The Reckoners, optioned that in June. He did Real Steel, the Richard Matheson story. If you haven't seen that movie, it turned out really well, with Wolverine in it. He also did the Night at the Museum films. And they're working on a screenplay. DMG owns The Emperor's Soul. They were producers on the latest two Iron Man films. They're a Chinese company, they really liked Emperor's Soul, so they came and optioned that from me. The Mistborn books are with the people who have the video game rights. We've combined those together into one right, I gave them a year to work on that. They've been very encouraging on how they're working on that, but it's Hollywood, so who knows what will happen. Legion just lapsed, so if your uncle makes movies, tell him to make Legion, from Brandon. Stormlight is under contract, but I can't say with who yet. So, I think everything novel-wise except for Rithmatist, probably-- Yeah, 'cause somebody optioned the Cosmere. Minus Mistborn. They got really excited by this whole, "Wow, it's a shard universe" thing, which is really hot in Hollywood right now. They're a really good company, but they came to me like, "We can do Marvel with Fantasy," and I'm like, "I'm not gonna say no!" We'll see how it turns out, but that's where we are.

Google+ Hangout ()
#16 Copy

Google Moderator

Before we wrap up, Brandon have you got any news about movies or a Mistborn game?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the Mistborn video game is very much a go. The guys at Little Orbit have just been awesome. We are working together to make an excellent game, I hope. I'm working on the story. I've turned in to them an overarching story for the whole, for the game and they are taking that and building the game and level design around that and then I will come back after they've done that and actually write the dialogue for the characters that moves the story along. So the video game is a completely go, cross-platform PS3, Xbox 360 and Steam for 2013.

The movie we are pitching to studios this month, so hopefully we can get something rolling on that, I have no news other than what I posted on my blog which is we've now got a good screenplay, it's quite good and now we're trying to pitch to studios and trying to convince somebody to pick this thing up and run with it. We're really hoping that, you know, fantasy has a really good reputation right now because of the excellent Game of Thrones adaptation, and so we're hoping that people will take a look at some good fantasy properties and that we can get a film made.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#17 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates

Mistborn and Stormlight Films

These rights are held by DMG Entertainment, and they've been very good at working with me and showing me things. They have scripts for both Mistborn and The Way of Kings, which they are actively trying to make happen in Hollywood.

One way they're approaching this is to do a Stormlight VR experience, which we've talked about before. This is less about making a video game, and more about making something to show off to studios to kind of immerse them in the setting of the books. As I determined early on, this is an interesting but weird world, and having visuals (like the art in the books themselves) helps a lot with bringing people around to understanding.

They do plan to release the VR experience to fans on Steam, for those with VR headsets. It's not intended to be a full game, as I said, more a demo of the Shattered Plains—you'll get to personally experience the Shattered Plains from the novels and interact with the characters and creatures that inhabit them. We'll do some posts on it in coming months as it gears up to be released, and I've invited the developers to do some guest posts on my blog.

Regardless of what happens on the film and television front here, at the very least you have that to look forward to!

Skyward Houston signing ()
#18 Copy


I know FOX bought the rights to Steelheart. Do you know if there is anything coming out of that? An update?

Brandon Sanderson

Alright. Big update on media properties based on Sanderson things. We'll start with Reckoners since you started there.

FOX owns the rights to the Reckoners, they have been bought by Disney. We don't know what that's going to do to it, but FOX has always been very excited about Steelheart so we will see what happens. We do have the Reckoners board game that came out and is shipping to backers. It's not for sale yet to people who haven't been backing it but it will be eventually. Let's see-- let's go down some of the smaller projects.

Legion is owned by a company out of Canada called Cineflix, and they are working very hard to make a television show out of that. They just bought the rights last summer, but last I heard they had a showrunner interested, so maybe some announcements about that.

The closest to being published-- the closest to being a movie is probably Snapshot. You probably don't know what that is. It's one of my novellas, it's like a mix between The Matrix and the movie SE7EN, so it's very different from a lot of my stuff. It's very close, they have a script and the screenplay's really good, they have someone attached to direct but they haven't announced it yet so I can't announce it. That one is probably the most close, which is going to be weird when my first movie is a serial killer thriller, but y'know, whatever.

The Cosmere books are owned by DMG Entertainment. They are a Chinese company that funded some of the Marvel films. They've moved into making their own films. They have been a wonderful partner. They are trying very hard to make Stormlight a television show and Mistborn as a movie. It's very hard to get epic fantasy things off the ground but they're making good progress, but there's nothing to announce yet. I think that is everything.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#19 Copy


Do you have any idea which book of yours might make it to the movie theaters first?

Brandon Sanderson

Which one might make it to the movie theaters first? So right now it's going to be a race because I would say that a lot of things are kind of equal footing, because most of my options that we have for films lapsed last year and then we resold them. So we're kind of starting from scratch on everything. We sold Legion again, we sold Mistborn again, and we sold The Emperor's Soul shortly before.

*crowd ooh's and aah's*

And then we sold Steelheart like on Friday. Steelheart had been optioned and they let it lapse. Mistborn had been and Legion had been, so we've got four new companies basically working on it, but every time we do this my profile as a writer has raised to the point that we get a better crowd, if that makes sense. Like the Steelheart deal I'm really excited about. I love the producer, he's the guy that did-- did you guys see Real Steel? Did you ever see that, the Richard Matheson story? The guy who did that. I loved that, I thought it was-- it was one of those movies I watched expecting it to be dumb, and it was great. But he also did the Night at the Museum stuff, and things like that, and so I'm really excited about that.

But the Mistborn script treatments are excellent, the best treatments I've gotten. What that means is that's what you write as a producer to give to a screenwriter to then write the screenplay, and then after that you get stars attached, and then after that someone finally gives you money and you make the film. So we're still a long way away, but the treatments are really good.

And then, you know, the guys who have The Emperor's Soul are super enthusiastic. They're DMG, they made the Iron Man films with Marvel, they're super enthusiastic and they went down the cosmere rabbit hole. They bought it and then they're like, "who is this--" let me see this deleted scene about this guy named Hoid. So I gave it to them and they're like, "wait a minute", and they started reading everything. And so they've come back to me and they're like "sooo, um, the Sanderson cinematic universe..." So I don't know what's going to happen with that, but there's lots of discussion about things like that. And they've been talking to the Mistborn guys, and so--

But this is all very new, meaning we're at the preliminary stages of all of it. There's like, nothing I can officially even announce other than "These people have bought these rights, these people have bought these rights". Maybe we'll get something made eventually. I've gotten really close before and it hasn't happened so, who knows.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#20 Copy


This is a slightly old comment, but is the Marvel Cinematic Universe similar to what you envision happening with the cosmere movies? The moment that was announced the first thing I thought of was how great it would be if it followed the MCU formula.

Brandon Sanderson

Well, and its popularity is part of why I think the film companies were suddenly interested in things like the cosmere. I'd like to think I presaged the MCU with what I was doing--but the truth is that Marvel and DC had been doing crossovers before I was born, so...

Anyway, I've been trying to warn readers because many are starting to wonder things like you are. Is this like the MCU? Well, it is, and it isn't. The goal of the cosmere is to take individual fantasy worlds, then--over generations--tell an expansive story about their interactions one with another.

I'm not pointing toward an Avengers style, "Your favorite characters all team up" story. The magics will interact, as will the worlds, and even some of the characters--but the story is not about a super-team. interview ()
#21 Copy


Few months ago we've received great news about some of your books which will be adapted into movies. So what do you think, which one is most likely to get adapted first?

Brandon Sanderson

I’ve always thought that Mistborn would be the most likely 'cause it's the easiest to translate to a film, but the people who bought the rights to the Cosmere bought everything but Mistborn 'cause Mistborn was owned by someone else. And then they bought Mistborn a year later, when it became available. So Mistborn is a year behind the others. Emperor's Soul and Stormlight have been going the longest. Stormlight is so hard. Right, we’ve just got the screenplay in and the screenplay is like *does a gesture* you know, it's like for a five hour movie or something like that. And they're like "We have to cut this down!" "Yes. Yes, we do." And that is super hard. And Mistborn is a lot easier to adapt. So I still expect we'll see Mistborn first, but who knows.

YouTube Livestream 13 ()
#22 Copy


I'm really curious about how the Allomancy would be represented in a Mistborn adaptation. While you're writing the screenplay, have you already planned something? And is the screenplay still a project? Because your progress bar has been removed, and I got kind of confused.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, I took the screenplay off of the progress bar because I'm not actively writing it right now because I have the [Dawnshard] novella to do. I thought I might be getting into it in July, but it doesn't look like I will. All the progress on the screenplay so far that you see is me writing the treatment, not the actual screenplay. And the treatment is, like, a big fancy outline for a screenplay. And in the treatment, what I have right now is that we represent Allomancy with: steelpushing and ironpulling, the thing that the Allomancer is pushing on is going to flash blue on the screen and you'll see a little line from them to the thing. You won't see all of the lines, most likely. There might be a scene where we show it all once or twice, but mostly it's like, "Allomancer, line to the blue thing, and then zip, off they go." This is gonna really depend on things like people who actually know how to do effects on film telling me if it's going to work or not, but it sounds good so far.

Burning pewter, I'm using the same sort of blue feeling. With that, I'm sending a ripple of blue lines, almost more like little lightning or veins, up the person's arms or body, wherever they're increasing their strength, so to speak. (I mean, it does it for all of you, but visually, to draw attention like that.)

The one that's still iffy is emotional Allomancy. Which, in the treatment right now, I say: when someone's been affected by emotional Allomancy, we show their eyes flash blue for just a second. The trick is, this can't be diegetic, it can't be something that's actually happening in-world, because it would be too much of a tell that someone is having emotional Allomancy. So I don't know if it is okay to go with something that's just a symbol for the viewer to know that it's happening, or if that is just too confusing and people will be like, "Why didn't he see that her eyes flashed blue?" or things like that.

My plan is still to write the first draft of the screenplay, but to work with an established screenwriter thereafter to make it actually good. And this'll depend on the established screenwriter that I work with and who ends up being the director on the project, right? Like, there's a lot of people that we're talking to that would be interested. And it also depends on if it ends up live action or animated. Animation is not off the table, even though I really would like to do live action just because I think that our chances of doing Stormlight live action are much lower, and our chances of doing something animated are much higher, just because Stormlight's got so many weird things going on with the spren and the storyline being such that it is.

A lot of things are up in the air with all of this. The only thing I've decided right now is that I'm tired of optioning it and then waiting to see what happens and then maybe getting a screenplay that's okay or maybe not getting a screenplay at all. Basically, from now on, whoever I work with has to be working more closely with me. I think that I have achieved prominence enough in my field that I can just say no to people more easily and not have to roll the dice quite so much. So we'll see if that works out or not.

Firefight Atlanta signing ()
#25 Copy


What can you tell us about the Mistborn video game?

Brandon Sanderson

What can I tell you about the Mistborn video game. We are still working on the Mistborn video game. The same producer has the rights but the developer that we were hoping to use has fallen through and they have moved on. This is the third time we've moved to a new developer. We do not plan for it to come out this year. We keep pushing it back. I'm sorry. But the good news is the movie seems to be kind of inching forward again finally, so if the movie gets made that will push the video game to come out. And if a video game comes out that might push the movie to come out. So they are kind of intertwined and working well together.

A Memory of Light Birmingham Signing ()
#26 Copy

Questioner (paraphrased)

What about the Mistborn video game?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

We put it off until 2014, because of the new console generation. We had planned for it to come out right when the buzz was saying the new consoles were going to launch. And that felt like a bad idea to us. The Mistborn film is also in the works, but it is very early and it is not nearly as far along as the Wheel of Time film is. So if anyone's father is J. J. Abrams, have him call me.

General Reddit 2011 ()
#27 Copy


[Mistborn] would be AWESOME cinematically, except I don't know how the internal use of the metals and their powers could be conveyed on screen.

Brandon Sanderson

The producers have some good ideas for giving visuals on those. Iron/Steel, for example, would make all sources of metal glow faintly blue on the screen while the allomancer is burning.

YouTube Livestream 10 ()
#29 Copy


You mentioned previously that you regret making Vin the only woman in Kelsier's crew. Is that something you're planning to change in the Mistborn screenplay?

Brandon Sanderson

It is; I actually already did it. Both Dox and Ham are female in the screenplay. And actually, Ham in particular works really well as a woman, because one of the things that I wanted to do was play with Vin's conceptions of how a thieving crew works, because she worked in bad ones, and not understanding how a great team can work. So I have a great scene where she misinterprets everybody's job in the crew from glancing at them, making a quick judgement, and saying "Well this person's this, this person's this." And the only one she gets right is Spook. It works so well.

Like, in the book, I can take pages and pages to show you, "This is how this crew is different from ones you might have read and ones that Vin has been part of." And in this, the movie, you need to have scenes do a lot of heavy duty lifting, multiple things at the same time. So in this scene, Vin can do that, and then we understand her judgement of why she said all these things, and then Kelsier can be like, "No. That right there is our Thug," pointing at Dockson [Ham], who is now a shorter woman. And with the powers of Allomancy, doesn't matter. And it becomes kind of a big moment, both for the audience and for Vin to understand "things are different here."

I do have to warn you, there isn't a lot of time in the screenplay for the crew. If I'm gonna do this as a film... Which it's not set in stone; it's possible that I'll move to a show. But right now, what I'm planning is: film, television show for Well of Ascension, film. Which means that mostly in the first film, it is focused on Vin, Kelsier, Sazed, and Elend. That's gotta be the core of our film. With Shan as an antagonist. And that's the movie. And I can't spend as much time with each of the crew members, like I did. But what we can do is, we can then move into Well of Ascension as a show, and with that being a show really show the crew and the things they're doing. And kind of write a heist with the crew where the crew is trying to heist keeping the kingdom from collapsing. A thieving crew has been put in charge of a city; let's see if they can keep this empire going. And I think that will work really well in television show format. And that's where we can get into some the things with OreSeur and TenSoon and character arcs for some of the crew members, really get to know Ham and Breeze and everybody.

That's the big cost by doing it in a film. That's the thing you're gonna have to understand, as it becomes really Vin and Kelsier's story. And I think it's gonna work. I think it is great. But if it doesn't, we do have the option of just doing a television show. Which I know a lot of you would rather see; I just see Mistborn as a film. I've always seen it as a feature film. So I'm hoping I can make it work.

Footnote: Brandon appears to misspeak, labeling Dockson as the Thug instead of Ham.
General Reddit 2016 ()
#31 Copy

[Fancast of Mistborn Era 1]

Brandon Sanderson

For what it's worth, I love seeing things like this, but as I don't "cast" most characters with actors in my head, it's not like I can step in and say "let it be so." I do like the idea of playing with a black Ham, though personally, the big change I'd make to canon for a film would be to genderswap a character or two to get more women in the crew.


Did the lord rulers armies have female soldiers? Wondering since Ham hung out with them quite a bit and sparred, speaking of genderbending characters.

I think the easiest character to genderbend would be Clubs. And more outside the main cast, people in the Skaa rebellion.

Brandon Sanderson

I would imagine that the LR's armies would take Allomancers of either gender quickly and happily.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#32 Copy


So knowing that you're not likely going to get a chance to choose your own casting in Stormlight Archive, if you did who would you choose for Dalinar and Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh boy, choosing Dalinar and Kaladin? I have no idea. The big problem with casting Dalinar and Kaladin is neither are Caucasian, and so... Like, casting the Alethi is going to be a really big challenge for the filmmaker. Do they just be like, "Alright, we're making everybody white because we don't know what else to do." Or are they going to because-- are they going to find a bunch of half-Asian, half-Middle Eastern actors? Because that's what the Alethi would look like to us, right? And so, how do you find an entire culture of people who have those specific-- I have no idea. Maybe they'll just go with Hispanic actors for them or something like that, I don't know. I have no idea. It would depend on what they decide to do for the ethnicities. 

So something like Mistborn is easier, where a lot of characters are Caucasian, or at least have a defined ethnicity. But even the Terris, you're like, "Terris aren't Caucasian, but they're not really Asian, they're not really black. They're their own race from Scadrial. How do you cast Sazed?" And so there's been a lot of talk about that with the guy-- the people with the Mistborn rights. They're like-- They're kind of leaning toward Asian--in casting someone Asian as him. But did that-- how does that work? Because you can't always tell someone who's-- whether or not they're Terris by the look of them, and things like that. It gets really weird when you're trying to cast fantasy races and ethnicities. So we'll see.


I just wondered if you had someone in mind?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not have anyone in mind. The only-- I occasionally have ideas for Mistborn. You know, like for a while I wanted Michael Fassbender for Kelsier, but he just did Assassin's Creed, which is too similar. So we probably can't do him. For years I wanted Ellen Page as Vin, but she's aged out of the role now. I try not to think about who we would go get until we actually are casting, right? So anyone you name, tomorrow they could do a movie that's too similar and then that's not-- they can't do the role really anymore because they're headlining something that's a direct-- yeah, anyway. 

Firefight Houston signing ()
#33 Copy

Questioner 1

So, last time you were here, I know that the Mistborn movie had kinda fell through. Any other nibbles, are we gonna see something?

Brandon Sanderson

Any other nibbles? ...So, Mistborn had just fallen through last time. We did resell Mistborn, and I've seen the treatment. So, the steps to getting a film made. Start with them giving me money. *laughter* The important part. Step two is usually a treatment, this is where they take the book and they do, not a full screenplay, but kind of a ten-page summary adaptation of what they're going to cut, what they're going to add, that they will then hand to a screenwriter. Next step would be to give that to the screenwriter that they hire, who they usually have hired, and have them do a screenplay of it. Next step then, generally, is going to people with lots of money and say "Hey, will you fund this?" Conversely, they can go to people who are content-makers, like a director or the talent, so to speak, or a star, and get them attached. So, when one of those happens, it's easier to get the other ones. And then, finally, is a green light. So, you can see, we're right at the beginning again. We had gotten to the screenplay stage last time, but the screenplays were just not that great, and the people who were doing it before were just not very powerful in Hollywood. I love them, they were great guys, but they came to me very early on, and so it was a longshot.

So, the new treatments are very good. I'm hopeful for what's happening there. For other things, we have The Emperor's Soul, in works with DMG. They worked with Marvel on the Iron Man films. They're a part of the funding company for those. We have just sold Steelheart to Fox. Specifically, to the producer and director of Real Steel (which is a great film, if you haven't seen it) and the Night at the Museum movies. And then, we have one more in the works... Legion. We have a Legion television show in the works.

So, as far as I know, the Wheel of Time rights have lapsed, and there's a discussion of what to do with those now. Because the people trying to make a film of those were not able to get a film made. They should have been doing a television show all along, I know, but-- Anyway. So there we are, that's how it stands, and the video game is still kinda spinning its heels as well.

Questioner 1

So, have they optioned the first trilogy, or just the first book? How does that work?

Brandon Sanderson

With Mistborn, they have optioned the entire thing. They basically optioned the whole world. Though, the people who have The Emperor's Soul, it's very fun, because they started to go down the cosmere rabbit hole. Yes, for those who don't know, my epic fantasy books are all connected, and they're all in the same universe. And so, their guy they assigned to it, the studio exec, read the book, and he's like, "Ah, there's some references to other things." And he went and read those, and he went and read those, and now he's read everything. He called me, and he's like, "Uhhhhh...." He's flown out twice to try to get a handle on the whole cosmere thing, what they can put in, what they can't put in. They wanna have a Hoid cameo at the very least, and stuff like that. So that's been very, very fun.

Questioner 2

Will you be able to advise on these movies? Do you have any creative control at all?

Brandon Sanderson

Do I have creative control, or can I advise? Well, in several of the contracts, mostly the Mistborn and the Emperor's Soul one, I have executive producer roles. In Hollywood, executive producer is the throwaway credit, though. That's one that they pat you on the head, bring out out, let you watch, and then they give you, like, a chair with your name on it you can take home or something, I don't know. They've been very easy to work with so far, so I have confidence that they would allow me, and in both contracts we got the requirement that I can come on-set anytime I want to, not just the one time, which is good. And they've taken my advice on the treatments. I am not powerful enough to get anything more than that. You have to be, like, two levels above me before you can really get any influence in Hollywood. Even, like, Tom Clancy, when he was starting, couldn't. JK Rowling could. And people like that. So, if I can get a good film made, and it takes off, I think all future contracts I'll have more influence, but right now I'm just kind of up to what they will let me.

JordanCon 2018 ()
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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.

YouTube Livestream 9 ()
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How is the Mistborn screenplay going? What's it like adapting your own work from over a decade ago?

Brandon Sanderson

I've been running the screenplay through my writing group, and they've got some great feedback. The biggest challenge right now with the screenplay is actually with Vin's character. This is because a lot of what you get to know about Vin in the course of Mistborn is really internally motivated. She's actually pretty quiet, rather shy for someone who does what she does. And keeps a lot of her emotions and thoughts close to her heart. That is hard to show in a screenplay. And really difficult to pull off in an action/adventure screenplay, where you need people to be moving and things like this. And the danger is having Vin come across as just an Artful Dodger. As this confident street thief. Which was the first version of Vin that I wrote, trying to pull of in the books and then failed. This is just one chapter, before I wrote the book. She was kind of your more generic street thief, your Aladdin, your Artful Dodger. And Vin didn't work that way. It, partially, was too generic. Not that those characters are generic; they've just been genericized, they've been done so much. So I tried this other version, this non-self-confident version of Vin that had this really interesting dynamic going on inside of her about wanting to trust, but not being sure if she could. And that really made the book work. Getting that across in the screenplay: super hard. So that's been the challenge.

Fitting it into screenplay format has actually not been hard. I haven't written the screenplay yet; this is all in the treatment stage.

How is it adapting something that I wrote over ten years ago now? It's actually been, in some ways, liberating. Because I have enough distance from it, I can see structurally the things that I can change, I think, easier than if I'd been closer to it. But also a little bit hard, because it is something so long ago, I have to keep going back to the book and reading sections of the book and reminding myself of things that I wrote in the book. Like, the scene where Vin and Elend meet is one of my favorite scenes in the book, but I still had to go back and reread that scene to get it into the treatment, because I had forgotten the actual dialogue cues, and things like that.

So, yeah, it's a challenge, but it's also liberating.

YouTube Livestream 4 ()
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Do you prefer one of your books to be adapted into a live-action series or an animated series?

Brandon Sanderson

I would take either, fairly equally balanced depending on how much of a push I thought it was going to get and how comfortable I was with the creative team that would be joining me and making it. So there is a big push toward animation right now that I think there'll be some opportunities for, but we have also some very nice things happening in the film department, like I am most of the way through my own take on a Mistborn film treatment and I'm going to be looking for partners on that. And over the last couple of years I've made some really nice friends in Hollywood that I'm hoping will be interested in helping me make that happen. Of course, the hardest part of making a film, which is why despite fifteen years of selling options and things, never getting one made is, is somebody's gotta put up $200 million to make the thing, and that's a lot of money. So if you feel like paying $200 million for my film, go ahead and let me know.

Tel Aviv Signing ()
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How do you see the metal, burning metals in corresponding to film?

Brandon Sanderson

So I've always thought that they would make the metal glow blue once you start burning it rather than the lines. The lines I don't think will look as good on film as they work in the books so that is what I've always kind of thought it would do. You start burning it, all sources of metal start turning blue and then you can you know shove on them and things.