The Sandman: Neil Gaiman Says Series Won't Be "Throwing Things Out"

With Audible recently releasing its audio drama adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, it's natural for fans of the influential, award-winning comic book series to start turning their attention to the upcoming live-action series. Stemming from Gaiman, Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman, Grey's Anatomy), David Goyer (Hellraiser, Constantine), and Warner Bros. Television Group, the series was given an 11-episode green light back in 2019. Since then, we've already learned a few things about the series, like the comic book's timeline being tweaked to match more current times, that the production team's been thinking/working in "two seasons" mode, and that Gaiman was "taking notes" on the audio cast for potential casting options.

the sandman
The Sandman is coming to Netflix (Image: WarnerMedia)

Gaiman took some time to discuss the project further with the Radio Times, emphasizing that the series will give the team a large enough of a sandbox to play in to develop an adaptation that is faithful to the comics without having to make any harsh decisions editing-wise. "I've been saying for 30 years that I would rather have no Sandman than a bad Sandman. The problem with making a Sandman film is, the first question you get into is 'What do you throw out?'", Gaiman explained. "I've read lots of scripts that ranged from the appalling to 'OK, they might be able to pull this off'. But you always read them going, 'Well, it's not quite Sandman. It's taking some Sandman stuff from over here, and taking some Sandman stuff over there, and blending it together.'"

In fact, Gaiman revealed that most of the previous efforts to adapt the series for the big screen involved mashing-up "Preludes and Nocturnes" and "The Doll's House"- and as Gaiman puts it, in a "not very exciting way." With an 11-episode first season and expectations of a second, the series will have the room it needs to tell its tale: "The joy for doing it as a Netflix series is we aren't in the place where we're throwing things out. In fact, it's the other way round. Sometimes that means that a lot more stuff gets to happen because we have room for it. But we're never throwing things out, and we're never abandoning things. And that, in itself, is a complete joy."

Of course, you can't bring up The Sandman and Netflix to Gaiman (we think it's required by law at this point) without mentioning the success that a certain devilish supporting character from the comic book series is having over at the streamer. For Gaiman, it's a sign of Netflix's commitment to the franchise overall: "What's also nice is the amount of confidence that Netflix has in us. They're prepared to go, 'Look, if Lucifer can be a huge hit, and Lucifer is taking a tiny little bit of Sandman and building it up from there, let's see what Sandman itself can do.'"

Heinberg will write and serve as showrunner on the series, with Gaiman set to executive produce alongside Goyer, with both having been attached to the original New Line feature film effort. Gaiman's multi-genre tale centers on Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, and the Endless, the powerful group of siblings: Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire, and Delirium. Warner Bros. shopped the television project to a number of networks and streaming services – including "family member" HBO, who reportedly passed on the series based on the expected price tag attached. Netflix made the winning bid with a direct-to-series order, seeing the series as a potential "tent pole" for the streamer as Game of Thrones was for HBO.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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