Why the Stormlight Archive Adapation Should Be Animated

Stormlight Archive would unquestionably make a great TV series, or series of movies. Not only is it an epic narrative featuring a bunch of characters, settings, and plot lines, but it has everything you’d want from a long-form piece of media: Drama, politics, romance, mystery, magic, genuine character development… the list goes on.

But what format should it be in? Well, today we’d like to argue that the proper Way of Kings is the Way of Animation. Let Mistborn be live action, that’s fine. Stormlight needs to be, if not anime, at least animated. Here are just a few reasons why:

The lil’ guys (and gals)

With the Radiant spren like Pattern and Syl, Voidbringers like Wyndl, and cuties like Chiri Chiri, Stormlight Archive is full of adorable lil’ guys. Lil’ guys that would translate horribly to live action. Do you remember Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell in the movie Hook? Bet you don’t. That’s because it was super weird, and we all collectively blocked it out of our memory. Pattern in the Cognitive Realm is another great example of something that would probably be terrifying if they did it accurately at all (see: Biblically accurate angels).

That’s not to say that all of the spren and cute small creatures wouldn’t translate — CGI cremlings, or even stuff like Mist spren, could be neat — but a lot of them probably wouldn’t.

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No thanks

Casting is hard

This is a two-part concern. The first is logistical: actors can quit, they can age, they can get caught up in a scandal — voice actors, on the other hand, are much more replaceable without it being uncomfortably obvious (see: Rick and Morty). Secondarily, while the fan casts of Stormlight are often fantastic, everyone has their own mental image of what the characters look like. Simpler, animated characters can not only align more closely to the book descriptions, but also allow people to see their mental image “on” that character.

dave bautista
Brandon Sanderson’s pick for Dalinar — do you agree?

Animation can be cheesier

The Radiant Oaths are very cool. The Windrunner Ideals creating a glyph on the ground when someone swears them is awesome. But is it believable if you see it in “real life”? We don’t think so. Same with all the blushing the characters do — could you really have a battle-hardened general blush in a live action movie?

Lots of Stormlight is, for lack of a better word, pretty darn anime. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make it a story better suited for animation. For example, in an anime, a character having a long, intense internal monologue about their thoughts on a situation is totally normal. In a movie or TV show, not so much. Kaladin, Navani, Shallan, and Dalinar all have repetitive doubts about themselves in a manner very akin to, say, the protagonists of Attack on Titan. Therefore, we’d argue that anime viewers are culturally primed to accept the narrative style of Stormlight Archive better than someone who only watches “regular” movies and TV.

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Basically Kaladin

All that is not to say that the Stormlight Archive would be a bad live action TV show, because we’re sure it would still be entertaining. But, for all the reasons above, to truly do the books justice would require an animated adaptation.

Do you agree Stormlight should be adapted in animated form? Have strong feelings about who should play Kaladin? Let us know in the comments?

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A huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy (really anything with tons of weird proper nouns), music, and video games. Enjoys the outdoors, but has plenty to do on a rainy day.

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