"The Sandman": Neil Gaiman Talks Updating Morpheus' Timeline, Other DCU Characters Appearing

Even four months on, fans are still buzzing over the news that Netflix ordered an 11-episode series for The Sandman, based on Neil Gaiman's DC Comics-Vertigo comic book series Sandman and stemming from the Warner Bros. Television Group. Then earlier this month, Gaiman revealed to Radio Times that work was already underway on a second season:

"There are three of us, the showrunner Allan Heinberg, David Goyer and me, and we've just finished writing the first episode, and plotting and breaking down the first two seasons, so we'll see what happens next."

"The Sandman": Neil Gaiman Talks Updating Morpheus' Timeline, Other DCU Characters Appearing
Neil Gaiman attends The World Premiere of Amazon Original Series, Good Omens, in Leicester Square ahead of its release on Prime Video this Friday

Speaking with radio show Day 6 host Saroja Coelho, Gaiman shared additional details on production – here are some of the highlights:

● While Gaiman emphasized once again that the series will be faithful to the comics, it will be updated "for now" instead of being set in the 80's – think more 2019. Because of the updating, there will also be a slight change in Morpheus' "origin story":

"In Sandman [issue] number one, there is a sleeping sickness that occurs because Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, is captured … in 1916, and in 1988 he escapes. Instead of him being a captive for about 80 years, he's going to be a captive for about 110 years and that will change things."

Gaiman took to Twitter on Sunday to clarify the point further:

● While he did not offer specific names or details during the interview, Gaiman hasn't written off the idea of having other familiar DCU faces appear in the series. When a fan on social media expressed concerns that "Justice League and such" could find their way into the series, Gaiman explained that the question was in reference to DCU characters who had appeared in the comics.

Then offered a friendly reminder that some members of the JL would be more than welcome…

Of course, there has to be at least one "cliffhanger" tease at the end of the unofficial mini-Q&A…

"The Sandman": Neil Gaiman Talks Updating Morpheus' Timeline, Other DCU Characters Appearing

On the same day he confirmed the series news, Gaiman took to Twitter to offer more details on the adaptation, as well as clarify/correct some of the online narratives:

We can't lie: the tweet Gaiman responded to was removed – which had us really curious:

Here, Gaiman reassured fans that their aim is to make something this is true to the core of the comic book:

Just in case anyone was wondering, The Sandman isn't looking to be a one-season story:

Another Variety correction: Gaiman is set to co-write the pilot – and that Sandman movie script from Gaiman and Goyer? Doesn't exist…

Gaiman also gave fans an idea of what the first, 11-episode season will cover comic book-wise:

Gaiman won't be the showrunner for the series – or any other series, from the looks of it:

Those concerned about a watered-down, "Christianized" The Sandman can also rest easy…

Gaiman's prep for the series will include going back to the original series – more than a few times:

Another missing tweet – have a feeling it wasn't a particularly nice one:

Reassuring another Twitter follower, Gaiman wants to make one thing clear: they're not reinventing Sandman – this series will be the real deal:

The worry and concerns that some fans are expressing isn't anything new for Gaiman. Remember, he brought Good Omens to Amazon Prime screens… and look how quickly attitudes changed on that:

Finally, Gaiman clarified the script situation a little more: there were no scripts… at all… by anyone… whatsoever… yet:

Netflix's series order comes more than three years after an effort to bring the work to the big screen via New Line fell through, with the live-action series marking the most expensive television series project from DC Entertainment so far.


Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman, Grey's Anatomy) will write and serve as showrunner on the series, which received a direct-to-series order. Gaiman is set to executive produce alongside David Goyer – with both having been attached to the original New Line feature film effort.

"We're thrilled to partner with the brilliant team that is Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to finally bring Neil's iconic comic book series, The Sandman, to life onscreen. From its rich characters and storylines to its intricately built-out worlds, we're excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world."

– Channing Dungey, VP-Original Series, Netflix

"The Sandman": Neil Gaiman Talks Updating Morpheus' Timeline, Other DCU Characters Appearing

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, seeing the series as a potential "tent pole" for the streamer as Game of Thrones was for HBO.

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In an interview with Collider in early June 2019, Gaiman discussed the importance of timing when adapting a work like The Sandman:

"There are definitely things that get made when the time is right. I don't think it would have been possible to make a good Sandman, when they started trying to make a good Sandman. [Ted] Elliott and [Terry] Rossio wrote their first Sandman scripts in 1996. At the time, I was looking at it and going, 'This is impossible to make. Nobody is going to spend $100 million on an R-rated, effects-heavy, cerebral fantasy story. It can't happen.' At least not back then. But on the other hand, I've gone through 25 years of people saying, "So, Sandman is going to get made now." I've learned to go, 'Yeah, okay, I'm looking forward to it.'"

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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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