“This post gets longer and longer each year,” Brandon Sanderson mused at the conclusion of this year’s State of the Sanderson update. Yet the irony is that the prolific epic fantasy author expects for just one project to take up the majority of 2019: the fourth book in The Stormlight Archive. But in the interest of maintaining accountability with readers, Sanderson was sure to provide status reports on nearly a dozen other projects, including Spensa’s further adventures in the Skyward sequels, what’s going on with Dark One, and his forthcoming metal/necromancy collaboration with Peter Orullian. Read on for key tidbits!
The Stormlight Archive
“The truth is, I’m getting really anxious about getting back to Stormlight,” Sanderson writes. “That’s a very good sign, as once I finish a Stormlight book, I’m usually feeling quite burned out on the setting, and need a number of months to recover.” As Oathbringer was published in November 2017, the timing is perfect for Sanderson to devote the new year to writing the fourth installment of The Stormlight Archive. And in many ways, he will also be determining the shape of the fifth book as well, as it concludes a major arc within the projected ten-book series. Sanderson explains further:
The Stormlight series has a very odd structure. Each novel is outlined as a trilogy plus a short story collection (the interludes) and is the length of four regular books. This lets me play with narrative in some interesting ways—but it also makes each volume a beast to write. The other superstructure to the series is the spotlight on the ten orders of Radiants, with each book highlighting one of them while also having a flashback sequences for a character tied to one of those orders. If that weren’t complicated enough, the series is organized in two major five-book arcs.
Come January 1 (just as he predicted last year), Sanderson will begin the process of writing Stormlight Four. That begins with a reread of the first three books, and a brand-new progress bar on the official site. He’ll also be posting updates to the Stormlight subreddit. While he is “optimistic” about the book being published in fall 2020, that release date could get pushed to 2021 depending how the first draft turns out.
Announced earlier this year as a massive multimedia undertaking, this twist on the Chosen One narrative is continuing apace. A graphic novel is currently in the works—with some art that may be shared sooner rather than later—while Sanderson reports that he has been doing pitches in Hollywood for a potential television series. Here’s a little more about the story to whet your appetite until the next update:
The story, if you aren’t familiar with it, is about a young man in our world who discovers that a fantasy world has declared him to be the Dark One, and starts sending hit squads into our world to assassinate him. Pitched as “Harry Potter from Voldemort’s viewpoint,” the story follows this young man as he is forced to confront the possibility that he might do what the prophecies say.
Death Without Pizza
The project formerly known as Death by Pizza has shown up on a number of previous States of the Sanderson, when it was the tongue-in-cheek story of a pizza delivery man who unwittingly becomes a necromancer. Picking the project back up after several years, Sanderson decided to change the protagonist’s occupation to something a bit different: frontman for a heavy metal band. To aid him in the kind of research and personal experience that would go into worldbuilding around this new kind of character, Sanderson enlisted friend and fellow novelist Peter Orullian—and so a collaboration was born.
Orullian has completed the first draft of what Sanderson describes as “a Dresden Files-esque urban fantasy series set in London, starring a necromancer.” In fact, there’s even more to it than that, as he describes the plot:
It’s the story of an American metal singer living in London whose day goes from bad to worse as he gets kicked out of his band, then makes his way to his favorite pub to lick his wounds—only to end up getting shot in the head during an apparent robbery. And after that, things start to go really badly for him.
Sanderson has spent this month writing a second draft of this untitled project—no, it won’t be called Death Without Pizza—and will be handing it back to Orullian for a third draft. While they won’t start looking for a publisher until they have revised the manuscript, Sanderson anticipates this novel being released in the next two years.
Fans of Skyward can look forward to Starsight in late 2019, as Sanderson wrote the first two books in the four-book series close together. However, The Stormlight Archive taking priority in 2019 means a longer wait between Starsight and the third book in the series; then the fourth book will follow closer to the third, as Sanderson will likely write those two in tandem as well.
Potential Movie/TV Adaptations
While many a Sanderson property has been optioned, the author is careful to emphasize that optioning a book is only the first of at least six steps in the typical Hollywood process. Most of the potential adaptations he mentions are early in that process, though there is some movement that can make for intriguing updates. For instance, Mistborn is being pitched around as a film series, while The Way of Kings is courting interest as a television series. Also in the TV realm, Dark One has an “impressive” showrunner attached, though no official announcement has yet been made.
Sanderson has had some conversations with The Wheel of Time showrunner Rafe Judkins, though he has been very respectful about giving the adaptation space. “I’m impressed with everything I see,” Sanderson says, “and hope to at the very least be able to pop over to the set when filming happens and grab some photos for you all.”
Interestingly, his novella Snapshot seems to be furthest along in the adaptation process; MGM is working on a film about a detective investigating a recreation of the day and time a crime was committed, only to discover that the details don’t add up. Sanderson shares that the screenplay “is an improvement on my story in virtually every way” and hopes that he has more news to share soon.
Wax and Wayne
Having regretted his inability to return to the fourth Wax and Wayne installment in 2018, Sanderson is keeping this project on his radar as a potential break from Stormlight Four. Regardless of when it is published, this book will conclude Wax and Wayne’s story and wrap up Mistborn Era Two. Sanderson has “big plans” for Era Three, which he will write several years down the road, between Stormlight Five and Stormlight Six.
2019 and Beyond
As always, Sanderson ends the annual update with a projected release schedule for the next couple of years:
Starsight (Skyward Two): November 2019
White Sand Three: Sometime 2019–2020
Stormlight Four: Fall 2020
Skyward Three: 2021
Wax and Wayne Four: Sometime 2020 or 2021
Read the complete State of the Sanderson 2018 for information on board games, music, and other licensed work; and updates on Alcatraz Six and the next White Sand graphic novel!