DMG Options Entire Cosmere for Film Adaptations, Way of Kings and Mistborn Up First


Today came out with some crazy, crazy news: the entire cosmere has been optioned for films by DMG Entertainment, according to Variety. That's right, all of the cosmere. Stormlight Archive, Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker, Emperor's Soul, and all other rights are all in one place, with the intent to create the universe for the big screen.

You might not recognize that the name of that company, but they aren't nobodies. DMG has produced real movies that you've absolutely heard of or seen: Iron Man 3, Transcendence, and Looper. DMG is serious about these, too. According to Variety, DMG has committed to spending $270 million so far, which supposedly will cover "half the money needed to back the first three movies made." And I, as a leading expert in numbers, can confirm that $270 million is, "a ton of money." (My math degree is coming in handy!)

DMG originally held the rights to The Emperor's Soul, which led them to the whole cosmere in the first place. Brandon actually commented last year on Reddit that they also had the rights to Stormlight Archive, Elantris, and Warbreaker. It's interesting that DMG now owns the Mistborn rights, because the Mistborn film rights have had some storied history, which we'll talk about below. Perhaps this deal wasn't formally announced (despite Brandon's Reddit comments) because DMG had been in talks to acquire the Mistborn rights for so long. 

So, what's first for film for the cosmere? Variety reports that DMG is "fast-tracking" an adaptation of The Way of Kings. Not to be left out, they also intend to adapt the first Mistborn book "simultaneously" to The Way of Kings. No one has been attached to the Mistborn project yet, but Way of Kings has people. They've hired Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan as screenwriters, who have worked on films in the Saw franchise. (This might be a bit concerning, because that doesn't exactly scream like a match made in heaven for Stormlight Archive, but AliasHandler on the forums helpfully pointed out that Peter Jackson had been known for Dead Alive--a horror flick--before doing Lord of the Rings. So it could be bad, but isn't inherently disastrous.) The founder of DMG, Dan Mintz, is producing the film, and Brandon himself along with his agent, Joshua Bilmes, are serving as executive producers.

Brandon says that those at DMG are fans, who immediately understood his vision for the cosmere, and Brandon is excited to work with them to make this happen on the big screen. On Reddit, he has talked about the deal in some more detail. Though he's excited, he wants to temper expectations. Film options are just the first step in a long process. Brandon said:

Quote

Okay, before you all freak out too much, let's manage some expectations. I am obviously very excited, and am pleased with DMG. So far they have been very good to work with, and have involved me a great deal.

But understand that films and television take a LONG time and lots of luck to get off the ground. Usually, this is the process:

1) A studio or producer "options" a work. (They pay around five or ten percent of a negotiated purchase price to kind of "rent" the right to start development on a property.)
2). The studio or production company commissions a screenplay.
3) The screenplay goes through several revisions or drafts as needed.
4). The finished screenplay is used to attach a director or actors.
5) Based on the strength of the screenplay or talent attached, a studio funds and greenlights the film.

This is very simplified, of course. The thing to remember is that steps two through four often take years, and many properties under option never become films. The Wheel of Time got to step three and stayed there for years, and is now back to step two. Ender's Game spent twenty years going through these steps over and over.

This is why you will often hear announcements like this, then hear nothing more for years.

I hope we will be reasonably quick, and DMG's enthusiasm and commitment has been excellent so far. I really feel they are going to make this happen. But do understand that we still have a long road ahead of us, and you will probably not get any good updates (beyond "all is well") until very late in the process.

So, this stuff is not coming out anytime soon. I know I personally share a lot of skepticism going around on the forums that The Way of Kings can be a coherent film. I assume DMG wants to make a truly awesome, cashing-printing movie universe (aspiring to be Marvel), so they will want to make these films great. It may just happen that Way of Kings progress might stall, and Mistborn comes into production first. Who knows!

How much involvement will Brandon have on the films? He is an executive producer, but he's said on Reddit, regarding how much power he has on the films: "Too early to tell. But I wouldn't want to have too much. I'm not a film maker. I have told them from the start that I want creative input, but that I feel the best adaptations happen when passionate film makers are allowed freedom to practice their art." This statement is something he's always said, whether it’s a film or a video game, it isn't his area of expertise, and he wants to enable the experts to make something awesome.

I am worried that The Way of Kings is a dangerous place to start in the cosmere. Yes, it's his biggest property, but it's also the weirdest and has the steepest learning curve. I think if there's one thing we've learned from the Marvel Cinematic Universe vs. the newer DC movies is that you have to earn the respect of the audience to care about a cinematic universe. You need to tell awesome stories, and sprinkle in the crossover stuff slowly. This is the philosophy Brandon's used in writing the cosmere, after all. Now, The Way of Kings is Roshar-centric, but it's still a lot heavier on cosmere stuff than Mistborn 1 is. Mistborn just seems like a more natural place to start, because a lot of it is directly cinematic, and it's well-contained. It can be the hook to sell the more ambitious Stormlight movies on.

Stormlight Archive is also dangerous to start with because it isn't done. Yes, these movies are a long way off despite how excited DMG is, but Stormlight books are a huge undertaking. It'd be a shame if the Stormlight films took off and a Game of Thrones effect happens, where the films overtake the books. After Oathbringer in 2017, we have seven more books, folks. If Brandon gets one out every two years, that'll be 14 more years. And we've known that between book five and six we're taking a break for Brandon to work on some other projects, like Mistborn Era 3. We could easily be in a situation with Stormlight adaptations where the actors age too fast for the time scale this would involve. This could be solved by whatever sort of break we have in the Stormlight Archive between books five and six, I suppose. It's also very early to worry about such matters, but it is a can of worms they need to keep in mind. Mistborn doesn't have these can of worms: you can easily adapt the first trilogy and not worry about this.

So, let's just say we're concerned. Excited, but concerned.

I would, however, ask all cosmere fans to remember that the films, no matter how good they are, will not be the same as the books. Your favorite scenes might get cut or radically changed. It's going to be hard on all of us, because we love these books so much, to not heavily criticize these films. But when they do come out--and I have no doubt that even if DMG can't do it, someday they will be adapted to film--just remember, filmmakers need to make a good movie first. Absolutely everything else is secondary. It is going to be different. But, hopefully, they will capture the essence of what makes these books amazing, even though the details will be different.

Trust me, if or when these films come out, we'll be giving you an in-depth review of it. If they suck, we're going to tell you. But I'd really like them to be great. Here's to hoping, right? 

There's a few other things that this announcement might mean regarding some related Mistborn adaptations. If you haven't been keeping track of the Mistborn rights, they've had quite a storied history. Originally, Brandon sold the rights to Paloppa Pictures, who had owned the rights for many years until 2014, where they lapsed. Then, sometime afterwards, the film rights were optioned by a company called Applied Allomancy, which seemed created specifically to hold onto these rights.

Why am I bringing this up, and who is Applied Allomancy? Well, Applied Allomancy is owned by the same people who own Little Orbit, the people who theoretically have the rights to the Mistborn video game, Mistborn: Birthright. We've talked multiple times about this disaster of a project that is. It's been vaporware for a long time (remember a 2012 release? Adorable.). Well, if Applied Allomancy sold the rights to DMG, I think it is safe to say that, once and for all, the Mistborn video game is dead. She's dead, Jim. (Probably) I think we can all be happy that at least with DMG, films have a much higher chance of occurring in the first place. 

Discuss this news on the forums here or in the comments below!

Big thanks to Ian (WeiryWriter) for some helpful research in writing this.

Also, thanks to CNET for linking to the Coppermind's Cosmere article (which I mostly wrote)! Cool!

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Just a note - I believe Little Orbit might now be bankrupt or defunct as well - I kept tabs of their Facebook and website as well in the hopes of news, and the last time they posted anything new about any of their games was in January, while before that they usually had some kind of notification change come up every couple weeks before that. I can't confirm it, but that's my belief based on the evidence I have, unless they suddenly decided to go on a 9 month hiatus from everything with no notice.

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I hope Mistborn gets the movie treatment first. It makes a good introduction, and is very accessible. (Also, it just so happens to be my favorite.)

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Quadrophenia

Posted (edited)

This company has been responsible for only... two good movies (Looper, Iron Man 3) and a loooooooooot of bunk. Oh dear. 

This is not a good batting average. 

Edited by Quadrophenia
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Secrets

Posted

4 hours ago, bleeder said:

I hope Mistborn gets the movie treatment first. It makes a good introduction, and is very accessible. (Also, it just so happens to be my favorite.)

I'd have to agree here, I think that especially without cinematic experience with cosmere, WoK would... not do to well. Mistborn would be more simple and better (and more easily adapted to movie format) first cosmere movie...   I personally think that WoK would do better in a 45 min. episode format (one chapter from WoK= one episode, one part from WoK (not sure about climax part and last part though) = one season?), and that it be introduced later on... :wacko: I'm just... worried about a WoK movie as first cinematic adaptation...

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Wonko the Sane

Posted (edited)

40 minutes ago, Secrets said:

I'd have to agree here, I think that especially without cinematic experience with cosmere, WoK would... not do to well. Mistborn would be more simple and better (and more easily adapted to movie format) first cosmere movie...   I personally think that WoK would do better in a 45 min. episode format (one chapter from WoK= one episode, one part from WoK (not sure about climax part and last part though) = one season?), and that it be introduced later on... :wacko: I'm just... worried about a WoK movie as first cinematic adaptation...

You realize you're asking for a 50-season show, yes? Way of Kings can't stand on its own, as most of the novel is buildup for things to come.

This is one of the biggest fundamental issues with adapting the Storm light Archive -- it's long. Even the ten-season show you would need to do this like Game of Thrones is asking for a lot -- and Stormlight does not have near the chance of catching on that that did.

I can't think of a way to run a Stormlight show that won't get cancelled after one season. All the stuff in WoK that will appeal most to the masses occurs at the end, so by the time you play it, you will have lost your chance to grab an audience.

Movies are the only way to do it. I agree with Chaos and others that making this the first movie is a worrying prospect. But it needs to get a movie, not a show.

For the record, I think just Kaladin or even Kaladin and Dalinar would make a much better film. Shallan is the one who throws a wrench in the works, as her story does not weave into the other two whatsoever.

Edited by Wonko the Sane
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Secrets

Posted (edited)

40 minutes ago, Wonko the Sane said:

You realize you're asking for a 50-season show, yes? Way of Kings can't stand on its own, as most of the novel is buildup for things to come.

This is one of the biggest fundamental issues with adapting the Storm light Archive -- it's long. Even the ten-season show you would need to do this like Game of Thrones is asking for a lot -- and Stormlight does not have near the chance of catching on that that did.

I can't think of a way to run a Stormlight show that won't get cancelled after one season. All the stuff in WoK that will appeal most to the masses occurs at the end, so by the time you play it, you will have lost your chance to grab an audience.

Movies are the only way to do it. I agree with Chaos and others that making this the first movie is a worrying prospect. But it needs to get a movie, not a show.

For the record, I think just Kaladin or even Kaladin and Dalinar would make a much better film. Shallan is the one who throws a wrench in the works, as her story does not weave into the other two whatsoever.

Oh yeah... just realized that 1 part=1 season would ~ equal 50 seasons for the entire SA.. XD

Keeping an audience would be a problem... but you mentioned making a movie for a character... this would be a huge obstacle for cosmere movies because most of Brandon's adult novels follow multiple PoV's and characters... This is part of what I think worries people about cosmere movies... What I'm worried about most here would be that such a great story as the stormlight archive is would be the first cosmere movie and flop horribly :unsure:... I just don't think that experience fitting for the grandeur that is Way of Kings... but I guess trust is the only option we have, as we have  seen in these great books.

Edited by Secrets
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If it were done well, I fear it would turn into a cinematic experience similar to Lord of the Rings in length. The non-linear storytelling works great on the printed page, but does not easily translate to a film. I agree that Mistborn would probably be a safer move into the Cosmere.

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I am excited on principle.. that small thrill even when you know the movie might (probably) be a huge flop. I feel like WoK makes more sense though because the magic system will be easier to put on the big screen. Big powerful armor, shiny light power, and humongous swords are easy to explain.  I can't even begin to imagine how to show someone burning pewter, tin, brass, etc. Steel is easier but still hard to get people to understand how it works with the blue lines and how you can push and pull but they are actually seperate "skills"

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35 minutes ago, Treygec said:

I am excited on principle.. that small thrill even when you know the movie might (probably) be a huge flop. I feel like WoK makes more sense though because the magic system will be easier to put on the big screen. Big powerful armor, shiny light power, and humongous swords are easy to explain.  I can't even begin to imagine how to show someone burning pewter, tin, brass, etc. Steel is easier but still hard to get people to understand how it works with the blue lines and how you can push and pull but they are actually seperate "skills"

Mistborn would be better as an a animated feature, Avatar: The Last Airbender style. Easier means to visualize Allomancy.

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maxal

Posted (edited)

I will agree with most here: Mistborn would make the best first movie. Other who have read my other posts will know I am seriously concerned as to how they might even begin to sell SA the movie into the Western market. My current thoughts are they won't as the movie they plan to do doesn't seem to have enough appeal to make it there. 

Mistborn however can be the next Hunger Games. It has the potential. Visually, it can be impressive without being too out-of-the-box. Casting is easy: you can have a known bankable actor to play Kelsier and rising stars to play Vin/Elend. The story is also easily adaptable and they don't have to commit to three movies right away as the first one works as a stand-alone.

SA is another matter entirely... As for other commentary about removing Shallan from the story, I will say: "Seriously?" You seriously wish for the producers to remove the only female lead from the movie? This will never happen in a million year not to forget Shallan's story is probably easier told on the big screen than Kaladin's inner drama. A high quality mass drawing movie as I would love to envision will require a strong female lead. I have made commentaries as to how they would likely increase Shallan's role more than diminish it.

However I am very cautious with this movie and I cannot be very excited. I would be excited if we were talking about Mistborn or the Reckoners, but SA? My latest thoughts are it is premature, too early and I fear Brandon stroke a deal just for the chance to make a movie. Reading his latest thoughts on Reddit, he says he is willing to chance a bad movie just to make one and this is what worries me the most.

Edited by maxal
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Originally Brandon wrote the books in an order and form that let them stand alone, so the best idea is to make movies in more or less the order they were written, and the worst choice to start from is SA because that the first series that is not a stand alone book but a one that is long and meant for people that knows the other books, also it's really long and I have to agree that it will be much better as a TV show then a movie if you don't wont it to be a 3-4 hours movie. Basically they should start from any other book that is not SA. Everything else aside, There is (another....) chance of a Cosmere movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D:D:D:D that's so awesome!!!!!

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1 hour ago, Dankness Ascendant said:

Lets just hope we all survive to see the end of the cosmere.

In film? Unlikely. You're talking about 36 plus movies.

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i am as excited as the rest of you but i am worried . Sandersons books tend to throw you in the middle of the story and let you understand the works and peculiarities of the world as you read whithout upright explaining them . And that rarely works in movies also i am even more unsure for how they will manage to find the correct pace (i agree that mistborn would propably be the easier and best to turn into movies first) but for smt like the storlight archives i think that a netflix seiries or an anime adapation would suit it beter

 

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Secrets

Posted

24 minutes ago, harambe said:

i am as excited as the rest of you but i am worried . Sandersons books tend to throw you in the middle of the story and let you understand the works and peculiarities of the world as you read whithout upright explaining them . And that rarely works in movies also i am even more unsure for how they will manage to find the correct pace (i agree that mistborn would propably be the easier and best to turn into movies first) but for smt like the storlight archives i think that a netflix seiries or an anime adapation would suit it beter

 

I would just want Mistborn to be made into a movie first and SA to wait until there has been far more cinematic experience in cosmere, or not at all. WoK and WoR don't easily translate into film or a series in my opinion

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16 hours ago, Secrets said:

I would just want Mistborn to be made into a movie first and SA to wait until there has been far more cinematic experience in cosmere, or not at all. WoK and WoR don't easily translate into film or a series in my opinion

i completely agree

 

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Starting with SA is premature at least for me... He only has written two of 10 books, and yet he writes fast, he should be faster, so he is putting pressure on him and perhaps do the things not so perfect as we are used to. They should start with Elantris/Warbreaker and then continue with the first three books of Mistborn, in my opinion. They are auto-conclusive, they can show the Cosmere to the "great public" (most of them, never will read a single page from Brandon's work) and see if can suceed, this will give Brandon time enough to finish the second part of Mistborn and write two or three more SA books.

They'll premiere first TWoK, and then? The same year will release The Well of Ascension? They will wait a year to release it? So If they are putting a movie per year, I can foretell they will fail. Let's wait for more information...

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Secrets

Posted

3 hours ago, Midgardsormen said:

I agree that Mistborn should come first, but I would'nt mind Elantris or Warbreaker either... 

 

1 hour ago, malevolent said:

Starting with SA is premature at least for me... He only has written two of 10 books, and yet he writes fast, he should be faster, so he is putting pressure on him and perhaps do the things not so perfect as we are used to. They should start with Elantris/Warbreaker and then continue with the first three books of Mistborn, in my opinion. They are auto-conclusive, they can show the Cosmere to the "great public" (most of them, never will read a single page from Brandon's work) and see if can suceed, this will give Brandon time enough to finish the second part of Mistborn and write two or three more SA books.

They'll premiere first TWoK, and then? The same year will release The Well of Ascension? They will wait a year to release it? So If they are putting a movie per year, I can foretell they will fail. Let's wait for more information...

I could go with Warbreaker or Elantris as a first.

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@Secrets I don't think that either Warbreaker or Elantris is a great start, myself. Not for a cinematic universe.

DMG is using the MCU as their guide, apparently, and I think that it's fair to therefore use Marvel's films as analogies. So, the Cosmere needs to open with an Iron Man, a Captain America, a Thor... They have positives and negatives, but those films are at least all centered around characters that are basically archetypes.

The first Iron Man movie certainly isn't Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man; it's Iron Man. Keep in mind, Iron Man isn't Spider-Man or any of the more popular X-Men, so it's not like the average person could say, "Oh yeah, Iron Man! He faced the Crimson Dynamo and the Mandarin a bunch of times and had to let his friend Rhodey--later to be known as War Machine--take over the suit for a while as he battled alcoholism." But the character itself has an intrinsic gravity to it.

And that's what needs to happen for the first Cosmere movie. There needs to be something almost primal in how audiences respond: this story should trigger something in them that is completely new but also intimately familiar. Stormlight, despite the obvious drawbacks of the story's complexity and the book series only being maybe 20% completed, certainly fits the bill. Mistborn is the obvious better choice, even if its magic system presents an expository challenge.

By contrast, Warbreaker and Elantris are stories without that same sort of universality in their themes. Sure, they're great, but they're the kind of thing you want to give to an audience that's already hooked. Guardians of the Galaxy was an unlikely sell, with a living tree and a talking raccoon. But as the tenth movie in a successful franchise, audiences were willing to give a chance, then turn it into a hit. Similarly, a movie where magic is based on colors (somehow), and there are living gods (who aren't quite divine)--that is probably destined to be a total fail with general audiences. Unless, of course, it's the nth entry in a successful franchise. Then, it's a surprise hit.

A hypothetical Elantris movie, with zombies that aren't really zombies and such, strikes me as an Ant-Man--a great standalone story that only manages to be excellent by virtue of its connection to a greater world. Not a great opener. 

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What if they went all out with with the Marvel movie idea and split the books up by individual characters. Like if one decided to only read the Kaladin chapters in the first book and that becomes the first movie. This could in essence turn each stormlight book into two movies. One focusing on Kaladin and the events in the shattered plains and the second film focusing on Shallan, Jasnah, Taravangian and Szeth. This being said I agree that it would make a better tv series. I just know there is plenty of material on the Shattered Plains to make a movie. Shallan is where it would take some creative liberties in making her story more exciting. Or rather I should say more of film appropriate story. It was plenty exciting. 

 

Edited by theuntaintedchild
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On 10/31/2016 at 1:03 PM, harambe said:

i am as excited as the rest of you but i am worried . Sandersons books tend to throw you in the middle of the story and let you understand the works and peculiarities of the world as you read whithout upright explaining them . And that rarely works in movies also i am even more unsure for how they will manage to find the correct pace (i agree that mistborn would propably be the easier and best to turn into movies first) but for smt like the storlight archives i think that a netflix seiries or an anime adapation would suit it beter

 

I don't think I'd enjoy an anime adaptation of any of the Cosmere novels. I love anime. It just has a much different feel to me than Sanderson's books. I've always viewed his characters as more 3 dimensional. (pun not intended but rather discovered and left in on purpose). Anime tends to portray characters as less human and more like the Spren. They seem like representations of emotions instead of real people. I think it's indicative of what sells in Japanese animation. Now an American made animation. Or one that can stray away from current tropes in anime, (i.e. tsundere and the like) I might be able to get behind. 

Finally, to prove I'm not wholly against the idea of anime, here are a few of my favorites. Fullmetal Alchemist (the original not brotherhood), Toradora!, Baccano!, Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (the film), Summer Wars...I'm sure there are more but I can't recall them off the top of my head. 

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59 minutes ago, theuntaintedchild said:

I don't think I'd enjoy an anime adaptation of any of the Cosmere novels. I love anime. It just has a much different feel to me than Sanderson's books. I've always viewed his characters as more 3 dimensional.

i get what you are saying but this is a problem with many films nowadays as well

and though u mentioned some great anime most of them fall kinda flat on that regard 

but there are other examples like rainbow , kaiji ,rokka no yusa and others that fair btter in that area

anyway it was only an idea in passing , spurred by an other seiries of books that i enjoyed that got turned to manga 

 

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