Dark One (franchise)

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Dark One is a multimedia storytelling enterprise based on an initial outline written by Brandon Sanderson. The initial plan called for a series of graphic novels, to be published by Vault Comics, a television series by FremantleMedia North America and Random House Studio, supplementary novels written by Brandon, and a podcast.[1] So far, the first book of the graphic novels has been published and it is unclear where the other components stand. The story takes places both on Earth and in an alternate world called Mirandus, with the two worlds influencing each other, even though only some in each are aware of the other. Though the protagonist, Paul Tanasin, is from Earth, there are prophecies of him in Mirandus -- prophecies claiming that he will be their destroyer, the Dark One.

Plot Summary[edit]

The narrative of Dark One will examine the dual roles we often take on in life – the ability to be a savior as well as a destroyer, and this innovative creative partnership with Brandon will serve as a catalyst for deepening the connection between him and his many fans.

—Dante Di Loreto, president of FremantleMedia North America[1]

Dark One is a dramatic adventure about a young man who sees visions of a fantastical world with "interesting creatures, sporadic electrical currents, and a darkening landscape". Though he is told these visions are just hallucinations, they are actually real visions of another world--a world with prophecies stating that he will become a tyrant and destroy it.[1]

Two prequel novels will flesh out the backstory of some older characters, who play a role in the story of the television series.[2]

Setting[edit]

Dark One takes place partly on Earth and partly in Mirandus, fantastical world focused around electricity.[1] On this world the ground itself carries an electrical charge and the flora and fauna has evolved around that charge. An example of this being certain animals being able to shoot spittle that acts like a taser.[3]

Components[edit]

Graphic Novels[edit]

Vault Comics is publishing a series of graphic novels based on Brandon's outline, with Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly adapting the story and artwork by Nathan Gooden and Kurt Michael Russell. The first book has been published.[4]

TV Series[edit]

The original announcement of the project included a TV series produced by FremantleMedia North America and Random House Studio;[1] it was later announced that writer and showrunner J. Michael Straczynski is working on the project.[5][6] In June 2020, Brandon said that the TV series is happening, but that he has less control over it.[7]

Audio Originals[edit]

The original announcement called for supplementary novels written by Brandon and a podcast.[1] In June 2020, Brandon indicated that both of these would be audio originals. Dark One: Prophetic Histories will adapt Brandon's original outline as a novel and Dark One: Forgotten comes from an "idea [Brandon] had for a 'Serial' style podcast, with a journalist tracking a killer." These books will be published by Recorded Books.[7]

Development[edit]

Brandon first started work on Dark One before being hired to finish The Wheel of Time, when he then shelved it along with The Rithmatist (then referred to as Scribbler).[8]

In July 2013 Brandon said that he was having difficulty getting Dark One "off the ground;" that he had had an opportunity but The Rithmatist had worked better, so he recommended readers to "not hold [their] breath on this one." At this point Brandon described it as non-Cosmere.[9]

In December 2014 Brandon mentioned that he had made a lot of progress on the setting for Dark One, now referring to it as a Cosmere work. He also said that it would likely be the teen series he worked on after The Reckoners and The Rithmatist were complete.[10] Brandon mentioned the possibility of it being released by Penguin Random House, as The Reckoners is, instead of by Tor.[11]

In 2017 Brandon made new progress on Dark One when he decided to approach it as a television show or graphic novel. He wrote a new outline for an eight episode series, inspired by Stranger Things and Westworld. The new story would be "a parallel narrative--half in our world, half in another world. A kind of dark 'portal fantasy' story." FremantleMedia, who was intrigued in Brandon's early outline for Dark One, was immediately interested.[2] In December 2017, Brandon announced that he had rewritten the outline for the story, noting that the tone became "both older, and more twisted" than in the previous version, and that he had received television and graphic novel interest, but gave no other details about these developments. He also mentioned that it was again no longer planned as a Cosmere work.[12]

In June 2018, Deadline Hollywood reported on the plans to bring Dark One to television with FremantleMedia North America and Random House Studio.[1] The following day, Vault Comics issued a press release stating that the first of two graphic novels was planned for a Spring 2019 release. The volume will be co-written with Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, and the artist will be Nathan Gooden.[13][14]

In July 2019, it was announced that writer and showrunner J. Michael Straczynski would work with Brandon Sanderson to develop the show with Straczynski promising to "turn the tropes of the genre on its head."[5][6]

Trivia[edit]

  • The electrified world setting is based on the work of Nikola Tesla, who wanted to develop wireless electricity.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g "Fantasy Author Brandon Sanderson Teams With FremantleMedia North America For Drama Series, Part Of Multi-Media Project"
    — Deadline - 2018-6-11#
  2. a b Comments on Deadline announcement
    — Reddit - 2018-6-12#
  3. a b Brandon discussing the "Tesla-topia" world during a lecture
    — YouTube - 2014-02-13#
  4. INTERVIEW: The creators behind DARK ONE chat about bringing Brandon Sanderson’s world to comics
    — comicsbeat.com - 2020-6-16#
  5. a b "J. Michael Straczynski and Brandon Sanderson developing a new urban fantasy TV show"
    — Wertzone - 2019-7-03#
  6. a b General Reddit 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-08-02#
  7. a b Comments on TV series and audio originals
    — Reddit - 2020-6-22#
  8. Another Long-Winded Explanation of Various Things
    Brandon's website - 2009-05-05#
  9. State of the Sanderson 2013
    Brandon's website - 2013-07-24#
  10. State of the Sanderson 2014
    Brandon's website - 2014-12-18#
  11. Figment chat
    Arcanum - 2015-01-19#
  12. State of the Sanderson 2017
    Brandon's website - 2017-12-18#
  13. "Vault Comics to publish Brandon Sanderson's 'Dark One' Graphic Novels"
    — Publisher's Weekly - 2018-6-11#
  14. Artist Announcement
    — Twitter - 2018-06-12#
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