Sometimes, the author of a saga dies before they can complete the series. It is in those times that the publisher and/or family member of the deceased approaches another talented writer in the hopes of doing justice to the series and the fans. Here are three series that were not finished by their original creators.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, Finished by Brandon Sanderson
The Wheel of time is, arguably, one of the greatest works of epic fantasy you can find. It was originally envisioned as a series of six books, but the plot demanded to be spread out to fourteen (fifteen, if you count the prequel, New Spring). It is not only long but detailed as well, with characters growing and developing while interacting with people from different social classes and creeds.
As Robert Jordan was feeling that his illness is about to get the best of him, he left extensive notes on how he wished the 12th and final book to end. Brandon Sanderson was asked to finish the book, but he felt he couldn’t do the story justice in a single title, which is why he expanded it into three. One of the reasons Sanderson’s writing works so well here is the fact that he is a fan of The Wheel of Time himself. Another is the fact that Sanderson is perfectly comfortable with extensive and intricate series – it is his forte. The publishers and the fans will forever be grateful to him.
Dune by Frank Herbert, Finished by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson
Dune was a novel written in 1965 by Frank Herbert. It is considered to be one of the best SF stories out there. It was certainly one of the best-sellers, even though the original novel got rejected countless times. It just goes to show you that persistence pays off.
Frank Herbert wrote five more books in the series, the last being Chapterhouse: Dune in 1985. A year later, he died. It wasn’t until about 10 years after the event that his son, Brian, stumbled upon his father’s notes for other Dune books. He then commissioned Kevin J. Anderson to write and together they are responsible for four more series. Not only that, but they’ve also written Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune, completing the story.
The Millennium Series by Stieg Larson, finished by David Lagercrantz
If you are familiar with The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, you already know where this is going. The series was meant to contain 10 novels, but, after Stieg Larson died in 2004, there were only three. That seemed to be the end of that. However, in 2013, David Lagercrantz was approached by publishers to complete the fourth and fifth book in the series.
There are two interesting pieces of information about this. First of all, Lagercrantz was only known at the time as Zlatan Ibrahimović’s biographer. Secondly, Stieg Larson’s partner, Eva Gabrielsson was not happy about the arrangement. Some say it is because the books did not include the notes and the previously unpublished material. This stands to reason, as there is further speculation that she was behind some of the writing in the series. Did Lagercrantz do right by the series? It’s hard to say. We know at least one person who disagrees.