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Skyward Chicago signing ()
#2 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.

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.

State of the Sanderson 2018 ()
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Movie/Television Updates


It might be odd to see this one at the top of the list, but I think right now the best chance we have at a film would be one based on my story Snapshot. MGM announced their option of the rights almost two years ago, which is great—because it meant that we already had studio backing, cutting out one of the steps in the process. The producers were impressive in their enthusiasm, and they jumped right into commissioning a screenplay with a very talented writer.

I've read the screenplay, and consider it the best I've ever read based on one of my books. It helps that Snapshot itself is a shorter work, more easily adapted to a film. The Snapshot screenplay is an improvement on my story in virtually every way, something that I discovered with both joy and a little bit of shame. (Really, the screenwriter did some things with the story I probably should have figured out myself.)

With this great screenplay, I hope there will be a lot more good news to share really soon.

MisCon 2018 ()
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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...

Skyward Houston signing ()
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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.

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.

FanX 2018 ()
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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.


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 2017 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates


If you missed my weird, cyberpunkish detective story, you can now get a copy of it in our Dragonsteel Edition bundled with another of my stories. The ebook is still around too. MGM snatched this up almost before it was published—it was very hot in Hollywood in the months leading up to publication.

The screenwriter they attached to it had another project delaying him for the bulk of this year, but they've said he'll turn his full attention to it staring sometime just after the holidays.

Orem signing ()
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So I was curious. I really enjoyed your Snapshot book. Is there any way you're going back to that?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably not. What I do with those novellas is I write them specifically to get an idea out of my head. I could not promise a sequel and things. But there is a film in the works. MGM.

YouTube Livestream 1 ()
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Lightning Captured

Is their anything you can share about your books and TV/Movies?

Brandon Sanderson

Not a lot. There's just not really any motion; I wish there were.

I'm excited for Dark One with Joe Straczynski, he just makes really good television. But really there's nothing more to announce than that. It was really fun to go to Hollywood and pitch with Joe. If you don't know Joe Straczynski, he was the show-runner on Babylon 5 and the creator of it. He's also done a bunch of other stuff like Sense8 and he has written a lot of comics and stuff like that. He is really just a fascinating guy. There is not really any motion on that.

We were really close on Snapshot and then I haven't heard anything from them for a while. We have new deals in the works for both Alcatraz and Skyward, though I can't announce those yet because I don't think they have been officially done. But at least there are deals in the works for both of those.

You can go and read my big huge spiel about movies [in] last year's State of Sanderson, or two years ago or a year ago but for two years ago where I talk about it. Nothing has made any progress lately. This is why in this year's State of Sanderson I basically said I'm to the point where I'm realizing if I really want to do anything I probably have to do it myself. I may have to just sit down and write screenplays and go find directors myself and see if that works, but historically that's very hard to do and I am not an experienced screenwriter, I have written one screenplay in my life and it was kind-of bad. So who knows? I'm moving into the stage where I am starting my own production company and I am taking the rights and leaving them in the production company rather than selling them off with the hope that whoever buys them will make it because so far no one has done any of that.

I hear Witcher is great, I haven't watched it yet. It's a really good sign that there is good a fantasy show out that is not Game of Thrones, because everyone thought, well this could only happen once. But if it is proven by [Witcher] and hopefully by Wheel of Time, when it is ready, hopefully those will prove that fantasy is viable not just as Game of Thrones which will help the rest of us get a bunch of stuff done. So thumbs up to Henry Cavill for really pushing for the Witcher to get done and doing it right. If the rest of this all takes off we will really owe a whole bunch to him pushing to get that Witcher show made.