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MisCon 2018 ()
#1 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...

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#3 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!

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#4 Copy

DrogaKrolow

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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#5 Copy

fireflambe

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.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

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 you're 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.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#7 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.

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.

Skyward Houston signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

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 ()
#10 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.

BookCon 2018 ()
#11 Copy

Questioner

If you ever get the go for a movie or TV show, who do you want to pick as Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

Kaladin is a hard one to cast. Because all of the Alethi are going to be hard to cast, because they're basically half Japanese/half Arab... So I'm not sure. I've been thinking for Dalinar lately, the guy who plays Drax the Destroyer. He's half Filipino and he has just the right look for Dalinar. You gotta look at him not in his make up for Guardians of the Galaxy. Get a little silvering hair on him. That's my latest casting choice. But I do not have a Kaladin.

Orem signing ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

The screenplay that we got with DMG came in at like 250 pages.

Questioner

Love it!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but that's like a four hour movie, not really viable.

Questioner

I'm good with four hours.

Questioner 2

Nobody wants to make a four hour movie.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, that's why we're looking more at television.

Questioner

Is that a possibility, of just doing shows instead?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's a distinct possibility. It really depends on what offers come and what DMG puts together, and stuff like that. But it is something that we have always been open to and they have always been pursuing. They just wanted to see, what does a screenplay look like? Turns out, it's a four hour screenplay.

Oathbringer release party ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

Are you worried, because of the length of the Stormlight Archive books, that the movies will not be able to encompass them fully?

Brandon Sanderson

What a well-stated way to say that... So, movies. Hollywood. Bless them, they try. No, seriously, like, there are a lot of really creative people who really are passionate about books in Hollywood, just none of them have any money? I'm exaggerating, strike that from the record. But we've sold the rights to people that we trust. Otherwise, we wouldn't sell them. It's always a gamble. We're never sure if it's gonna work. Like, even people who are really well-intentioned. The Golden Compass movie is a great example of this. Really good intentions. Everything about that movie should have worked: great actors, great design. And the movie was boring. And, it's like everybody tried really hard, and it just didn't work. And I know how that feels. I tried really hard on Apocalypse Guard, and it didn't work. And, so, yes, I am totally worried about that. But the thing about it is, if I don't risk that, then I can't ever have a good movie, 'cause I'll never have a movie.

Now, would we rather Stormlight be a television show? Probably. And I think the chances-- So, what I've been saying is, let's just hope that the other fantasy television shows do well. Let's hope the new Lord of the Rings one does really well. Let's hope that Pat Rothfuss's show goes really, really well. If a bunch of these things get made, and they're good, it improves our chances, and things like that. I've constantly said, I would rather a television show. But, you know, I wouldn't have thought that the Lord of the Rings films could be adapted as well as they were. And they worked. So, who knows. I'm willing to roll those dice, and see what we end up with.

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

Questioner

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.

Questioner

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. 

General Reddit 2017 ()
#17 Copy

slevy221

I haven't seen or heard anything about the potential for TWOK movie ever since there was that article about using virtual reality to pitch the idea.

Anyone heard anything recently?

Brandon Sanderson

No updates, I'm afraid. Last big session I had with them was when I flew to LA in June. They're still working on the VR experience/pitch to take to studios.