Child of Hodor

Stormlight Adaptation Challenges

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I love the Stormlight Archives, I don't need them to be adapted, but it may be one day and I hope they do it justice. Brandon has said it should be a tv series like GOT, and not movies. With that premise, Stormlight adapted as a 1 hour per episode TV show, what are the biggest challenges to adapting it?

1) Challenging Beginnings.

Prelude - 4,500 years later Prologue - 5 years later Cenn gets killed - 8 months years later Kaladin in a cage. That's too much jumping around. It is challenging in the book and would be even harder to follow with all the fantasy names only being heard and the weird setting.  I think the first 3 scenes of the show ending with XXXX years later will be unintentionally comical. I love the Prelude, it should be in the first season, but I don't think it should the first scene of the TV show.

The prologue is amazing and shows off the magic system well, plus it establishes why there is this major conflict that dominates tWoK Alethi vs. Parshendi. I think we open with that. I'm undecided on what to do with Cenn. Which leads me to ...

2) Sadboi Kaladin

He's super depressed and inactive early. His flashbacks need to be peppered throughout.  I am tempted to cut down his time in the slave wagon. Prologue and then Kaladin failing to save the sick guy. Next time we see him he tears up the map. End of the first episode he arrives at the shattered plains. 

3) Shallan / Jasnah 

They are far away and don't intersect with the other characters. This is good in a way because it is a palate cleanser from all the misery. 

4) What do the Parshendi look like, really? They could look really cool or ridiculous depending. They have crustacean like carapace and marbled red/black or red/white skin. That's most of what we know and there are a ton of interpretations of that. They also should be distinguishable from orcs and not play into the "noble savage" stereotype too much. I'd do a mix of white/red and black/red to the point where their features don't map on to human "racial" traits. 

5) Parshendi Music. How to do have them speak in Rhythms without it being terrible, maybe just don't? Hire a poet or songwriter like Kingkiller hired the Lin-Manuel Miranda who created and starred in Hamilton?  Their chants during battle are much easier to do there are real life examples, but again we don't want it to be to lean in to one culture too much so that they become like a stand in for Zulu warriors and one of the show's early antagonists is "fantasy black people"

Zulu - Song of the warriors:

Spoiler

 

7) What do the humans look like? The way they are described Szeth would be about the only character played by a caucasian actors, but we would have to stick completely to that, but if we go too far away it is "white-washing". Some of the fantasy traits will look dumb, people from Thaylenah have the eyebrows they can comb behind their ears. Very hard to take seriously. This includes Mraize who is supposed to be an intimidating character.That should just be dropped or relegated to a background extra here or there. 

8) Spren - they are awesome, but also expensive CGI. Have to balance reflecting the world and not breaking the budget. Can't make them look like cheap garbage either. 

I'm sure there are more adaptation issues others can think of. 

Edited by Child of Hodor
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I was pretty sure they were already making a WoK movie. It's still on the script stage, though.

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12 minutes ago, Sedside said:

I was pretty sure they were already making a WoK movie. It's still on the script stage, though.

They had a movie script that would have been really long he says 5 hours but may be exaggerating, they got it down to three by cutting so much out that no one is happy with it. Now they are looking at TV. 

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/124/#e1809

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/352/#e11074

2017: "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"

2018: "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:

Edited by Child of Hodor
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Thanks!

The other thing I think is hard about spren is how to explain which kind each one is. In the text it's like "an exhaustionspren appeared". In the show how can it be explained properly? And other stuff that is explained in text, but not in direct speech - values of different kinds of spheres, Roshar history (will require additional time screen) and so on.

Also, how to properly show Windrunners flying as a fall, and still looking beautiful.

Interludes and characters, who appear for short amount of time - in the show it's easy to forget and also seems useless, like why is it here in the first place for a common viewer.

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Animation has to be the medium that would best express all the visual shenanigans Stormlight produces. I cannot imagine a live action version that doesn't look wrong.

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20 minutes ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Animation has to be the medium that would best express all the visual shenanigans Stormlight produces. I cannot imagine a live action version that doesn't look wrong.

Agreed.

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Mayhaps a Gennedy T. (can't spell his last name) sort of animation style would work.

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I personally always imagined a live action version.  What kind of animation style would you prefer?  Also even in animation making spren would be time consuming and expensive.  Another option is to make each book several movies but I do see the problem with that.  Finally perhaps if some other cosmere were adapted first and it gained a wider following they could get the momentum necessary to just break bank making the TV show.

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Just now, Karger said:

I personally always imagined a live action version.  What kind of animation style would you prefer?  Also even in animation making spren would be time consuming and expensive.  Another option is to make each book several movies but I do see the problem with that.  Finally perhaps if some other cosmere were adapted first and it gained a wider following they could get the momentum necessary to just break bank making the TV show.

I've always thought an anime style of animation would best fit the cosmere as a whole.

Warbreaker and Elantris as miniseries and Stormlight and Mistborn as tv shows. The use of animation could also better integrate the internal monologues which are so essential to the characterisation of Brandon's characters.

Yes animating Spren would be time consuming but I feel they'd feel better integrated into the world that way.

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Drawing spren would be time consuming, but we have computer animation which shortens the time it takes to animate by a significant margin. 

As for the style, I think Madhouse does good work and could probably do SA justice. But anything Brandon would like would be fine by me really. 

Live action for SA scares me. I mean, Shadesmar done with crappy CG would absolutely crush me.

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8 minutes ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Live action for SA scares me. I mean, Shadesmar done with crappy CG would absolutely crush me.

I agree. Live action would be very hard to do, especially with the casting issues. I'd prefer a solid animation style (read: perhaps the team from Spiderverse) so every detail can be given justice to with less of the hard-to-do sets being messed up.

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I don't feel that animation would do it justice, though perhaps I've just never seen anything that's animated that is good. Still, while it might be hard to do some scenes if they were acted, it would be epic. Of course, if there were properly done animated, then have fun. (Things like Smaug were awesome while being animated, but it might be hard for such a grand endeavor.)  Sorry this is rambly.

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I sincerely hope that this doesn't ever happen... I don't have faith that it will be able to be done 1) faithfully to the books, 2) maintaining representation and 3) not look horrible. 

We may get one of the the three. Two would be amazing... All three? I'm not holding out hope. 

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I would like it to happen, because there are people who don't read books :D

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Another adaptation challenge. How do we handle all the greater Cosmere cookies? You can sorta ignore them in other series, but in Stormlight we have several worldhoppers with not insignificant roles. Yet all the series are promised to different studios. Sorting out those rights is going to be a nightmare even if they're willing to play nice with each other. 

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Perhaps one studio will make a movie that does realy well and simply buy the rights to all of cosmere at the same time. Fingers crossed.  I also agree with Calderis that this should be done right or not at all.

Edited by Karger
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Everyone wanting a Stormlight adaption is ignoring the fact that it's almost impossible to adapt a good book into a good movie.  The fundamental issue is that a movie (or TV series) is fundamentally a visual medium, while a novel is not.  Unless a novel is written in a visual style (which generally means it's a bad novel, IMHO), then adapting it well to the big screen is nearly impossible.

It's also why novelizations tend to be so bad.  They have the same problem, but in the other direction.  However novelizations tend to work out better than book adaptions because a novel can include visual information via description and the reader's imagination, while visual media struggles to include non-visual information in a reasonable fashion.  It can be done, if there's not too much of it -- but if there's not too much of it, then your book probably sucks.

It would take a minor miracle for a Stormlight adaption to be anything but awful.  The books are too good for it.

Edited by galendo
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5 hours ago, galendo said:

Everyone wanting a Stormlight adaption is ignoring the fact that it's almost impossible to adapt a good book into a good movie.  The fundamental issue is that a movie (or TV series) is fundamentally a visual medium, while a novel is not.  Unless a novel is written in a visual style (which generally means it's a bad novel, IMHO), then adapting it well to the big screen is nearly impossible.

It's also why novelizations tend to be so bad.  They have the same problem, but in the other direction.  However novelizations tend to work out better than book adaptions because a novel can include visual information via description and the reader's imagination, while visual media struggles to include non-visual information in a reasonable fashion.  It can be done, if there's not too much of it -- but if there's not too much of it, then your book probably sucks.

It would take a minor miracle for a Stormlight adaption to be anything but awful.  The books are too good for it.

Yeah I don’t need it but since they are trying to do it anyways I was thinking of what’s difficult about it.

Its adaptation not translation some things have to be different. 

Game of Thrones was quite a good show and LotR was a huge success but they had to be different from the books in some areas.

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The biggest problem with a TV adaptation I see is aging actors and the looooong time we still have to go before all ten books are out.
So right now I'd probably vote for an animated show. TBH I'm a passionate manga read and anime watcher and Stormlight is absolute fantastic anime stuff. Magical Girl transformations included.

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I feel like an anime/cgi style would be best. Why? Several reasons. First, you would make the characters closer to how they are described in the books. Second, it would be great for showing landscapes that don't exist on Earth. Third, the shardplate, surgebinding, stormlight, spren, and soulcasting would all require tons of cgi even if it was done live action. I am sort of hoping for an Avatar-like movie with super realism but I don't think that's in the budget. Sanderfan bakesale, here we come!

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1 hour ago, BookishOcelot said:

I feel like an anime/cgi style would be best. Why? Several reasons. First, you would make the characters closer to how they are described in the books. Second, it would be great for showing landscapes that don't exist on Earth. Third, the shardplate, surgebinding, stormlight, spren, and soulcasting would all require tons of cgi even if it was done live action. I am sort of hoping for an Avatar-like movie with super realism but I don't think that's in the budget. Sanderfan bakesale, here we come!

That's what I thought too. Many Fantasy movies look like crem in terms of CGI and SA has so much of it!

But I don't actually need TV movies/adaptations of these books. I'd be fine if The Black Piper would just make an album for every book. ^^

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Though with the improvements in motion capture. In 10-15 years time. I don't think a full CGI with fluid motion capture adaptation would be out of the question. Especially with what I've seen in Love, Death and Robots. Plus most CGI have issues with hair and fur, shells not so much I think.

Edited by ScavellTane
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If we manage to get CGI that looks like live action (before the world descends into a Mad Max dystopia) I would be on board. Otherwise I'd rather just read it.

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22 hours ago, Child of Hodor said:

The prologue is amazing and shows off the magic system well, plus it establishes why there is this major conflict that dominates tWoK Alethi vs. Parshendi. I think we open with that. I'm undecided on what to do with Cenn. Which leads me to ...

Agreed. I'd start with the prologue and then skip to slave-Kaladin just before they reach the Shattered Plains.

22 hours ago, Child of Hodor said:

His flashbacks need to be peppered throughout.

Flashbacks don't really work particularly well on television in my opinion if they don't feature prominently. (which these don't) Most flashbacks would need to be cut. Information from them merged or revealed in the present-day arc.

22 hours ago, Child of Hodor said:

3) Shallan / Jasnah

They are far away and don't intersect with the other characters. This is good in a way because it is a palate cleanser from all the misery. 

I think they need to fit with the story more. I would shorten their time in Kharbranth and put them on the boat for the Shattered Plains sooner. Probably end season 1 with Shallan halfway across the Frostlands.

21 hours ago, Sedside said:

Interludes and characters, who appear for short amount of time - in the show it's easy to forget and also seems useless, like why is it here in the first place for a common viewer.

Most of the interludes that don't obviously fit with the story would need to be cut I think.

11 hours ago, Karger said:

Perhaps one studio will make a movie that does realy well and simply buy the rights to all of cosmere at the same time. Fingers crossed.  I also agree with Calderis that this should be done right or not at all.

Someone already HAS bought up all the cosmere rights. :D They just haven't made anything with it yet...

8 hours ago, galendo said:

Everyone wanting a Stormlight adaption is ignoring the fact that it's almost impossible to adapt a good book into a good movie.  The fundamental issue is that a movie (or TV series) is fundamentally a visual medium, while a novel is not.  Unless a novel is written in a visual style (which generally means it's a bad novel, IMHO), then adapting it well to the big screen is nearly impossible.

I take issue with your definition of "adaptation." It DOES require the source material to be adapted, and I've seen great book-to-screen adaptations. It will NOT look exactly the same. Anyone expecting a 100% faithful television show will certainly be disappointed. Either it's not faithful (disappointment) or it IS faithful... Which means it will make for terrible watching.

We have to be okay with changes. We just have to hope that the people adapting the books understand the spirit of Brandon's work. And we have to be patient when their interpretation on this or that fine point doesn't quite match our own.

1 hour ago, BookishOcelot said:

I feel like an anime/cgi style would be best. Why? Several reasons. First, you would make the characters closer to how they are described in the books. Second, it would be great for showing landscapes that don't exist on Earth. Third, the shardplate, surgebinding, stormlight, spren, and soulcasting would all require tons of cgi even if it was done live action. I am sort of hoping for an Avatar-like movie with super realism but I don't think that's in the budget. Sanderfan bakesale, here we come!

Animated seems to be the most popular wish among Sanderson fans. This comes up in most threads about adapting the books for the screen. I absolutely don't have an issue with people dreaming about an animated approach, and to some extent I agree that it would be best.

BUT

I wouldn't get my hopes up. Brandon himself loves the idea, but he's never expressed any optimism for it actually happening that way. From what I understand, animation just doesn't sell well enough in the Western world to drive sufficient interest. Those of us who love animation are a very small niche audience. Major financial success for animated movies/shows is apparently very rare. (Especially for adaptations.)

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5 hours ago, Jofwu said:

I wouldn't get my hopes up. Brandon himself loves the idea, but he's never expressed any optimism for it actually happening that way. From what I understand, animation just doesn't sell well enough in the Western world to drive sufficient interest. Those of us who love animation are a very small niche audience. Major financial success for animated movies/shows is apparently very rare. (Especially for adaptations.)

Yeah, I would want it lovingly hand drawn which is expensive, and takes a long time. Animated dramatic shows don't have a mainstream market in the U.S.. Even animated films are mostly comedic. Princess Mononoke is the only example I can think of that broke through and was a minor hit in the U.S. (on DVD, not in theaters). 

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