Wonder of the World

A Mistborn Movie Could Finally Set Up Fantasy To Be As Successful As Superheroes For 1 Big Reason


  • A well-executed Mistborn movie could revolutionize the fantasy genre and achieve the same level of success as superhero films in Hollywood.
  • Mistborn‘s expansive universe and intricate magic system makes it suitable for a movie franchise comparable to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Extended Universe.
  • Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere offers a systematic approach to creating a successful fantasy franchise, with Mistborn serving as a promising starting point that can lead to interconnected stories.



A well-executed Mistborn movie could change the fantasy genre for the better, making it as successful as superhero fare in the eyes of Hollywood. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn novels remain some of the most sought-out fantasy offerings nearly two decades after the first book’s debut, and a proper adaptation of the series could be game-changing. A Mistborn movie could draw newcomers and longtime fantasy fans alike, bringing large numbers to theaters and popularizing the kind of high fantasy that spans multiple series.

Although Mistborn would arguably work better as a TV show, its scale could kick off a full-blown movie franchise. Given the breadth of Sanderson’s work, Mistborn could even create a fantasy franchise on par with the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Extended Universe. If superhero stories can find mainstream success, so can tales centered on intricate magic systems and fantastical worlds. It’s only a matter of getting a franchise like Mistborn to start on the right foot — something Hollywood struggles with when it comes to fantasy stories on the silver screen.

RELATED: 7 Problems A Mistborn Series Could Fix From The Books

Fantasy Has So Much Potential But Hollywood Can’t Get It Right

Although fantasy TV shows have taken off over the past decade, Hollywood can’t seem to get the genre right when it comes to movies. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies and the Harry Potter films amassed success, but most fantasy adaptations don’t fare as well on the big screen. Eragon, Percy Jackson, and His Dark Materials are all proof that it’s hard to squeeze complex fantasy stories into a movie’s runtime. Even with original scripts, plenty of great fantasy movies flop at the box office. Many of them don’t attract a wide audience, and they’re often too complicated or niche to serve as an entry point into the genre.

Additionally, many fantasy stories that make it to theaters don’t have the scale to expand into greater franchises. And even successful fantasy movies with great world-building struggle to kick off triumphant franchises after their initial runs. The Hobbit movies may have been profitable, but they’re poorly reviewed compared to The Lord of the Rings and saw diminishing returns (via Box Office Mojo). The Fantastic Beasts series failed to reignite the Harry Potter craze, raising questions about the franchise’s future. Pirates of the Caribbean couldn’t determine where to go after Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann took their final bows. That seems to be a common thread. The Cosmere could change that.

Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere Universe Could Change That

Popular fantasy movies struggle to find their footing after the original story is through, leaning on prequels and other spinoffs that haven’t been mapped out by the original creators. This may be why so many attempts at fantasy franchises fail, but Sanderson’s Cosmere universe offers a roadmap for where a Mistborn movie could lead. Sanderson has written many fantasy books outside the Mistborn series, and most of them take place in the same fictional universe. Dubbed the Cosmere, Sanderson’s universe spans galaxies. Despite that distance, all the stories within the Cosmere are connected — and some feature characters from other books.

RELATED: 8 Challenges The Mistborn Movie Faces Adapting The Books

Given movie studios’ tendency to chase cinematic universes, Sanderson’s novels are a solid choice for a greater fantasy franchise. They’re all separate and compelling stories that feature epic action sequences and relatable characters. However, their ability to connect would keep moviegoers coming back to theaters, even if they don’t know much about the source material. Mistborn could serve as a starting point to hook viewers, and Sanderson’s other books could keep the story barreling forward, something that would no doubt change Hollywood’s perception of the fantasy genre as a whole.

Mistborn Would Be The First & Most Popular Entry In The Universe

There are many Sanderson books that could make their way to the silver screen, but Mistborn would be the first — and likely most popular — in a Cosmere cinematic universe. Mistborn is often suggested as an entry point to Sanderson’s works, and it offers a great place for non-fantasy readers to dip their toes into the genre. Focused on a young girl who joins the efforts to overthrow an evil and corrupt empire, Mistborn tackles themes that popularized stories like The Hunger Games. It also straddles the line between young adult and adult fiction, making it accessible to a wide viewership.

If a Mistborn movie makes good casting choices, there’s little doubt it would prove a successful endeavor. Its unique magic system would set it apart from similar films, while its characters and themes would appeal to seasoned fantasy fans and general audiences. And unlike other fantasy stories, Mistborn wouldn’t run out of places to go after the first three books are adapted. There are multiple Mistborn series to explore, and Sanderson’s other works can jump off from the first series, giving fans plenty of well-crafted stories that don’t hit dead ends. This would allow a Cosmere franchise to thrive for a long time — perhaps as long as the MCU.

A Fantasy Universe Would Give Audiences More Time To Love The Characters (Like Marvel)

While some moviegoers are growing weary of cinematic universes, a fantasy universe isn’t something that’s really taken off before. Turning Sanderson’s Cosmere into the first massive fantasy franchise would switch things up and potentially make the genre as popular as superhero stories. While magic systems and intricate worlds are necessary components of great fantasy stories, most of them rise or fall on the strength of their characters. A greater movie universe would allow audiences to spend more time with characters like Sazed or Kelsier, setting them up to become widely known icons who viewers look forward to seeing in new projects.

The MCU and DCEU are still giants, but many of their stories have been done before. Studios need to dig into something fresh to get people to theaters. The widespread popularity of Game of Thrones — and all the fantasy projects that have cropped up as a result — suggests there’s a market for these adaptations. That doesn’t need to be limited to TV, but studios need to take a chance on a fantasy franchise that goes beyond a couple of movies. Sanderson’s Cosmere offers that, assuming those adapting it stick to the script. Mistborn is the perfect starting point, and it could change the trajectory of fantasy on the big screen.

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