Neil Gaimain Explains The Sandman’s Long Journey To TV
For a long time, it seemed like an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was destined to languish in development hell. But in 2019, Netflix came to the rescue and ordered a 10-episode first season that’s finally set to arrive in less than two months. The series’ premiere has been almost three decades in the making, and in a new interview with Total Film, Gaiman discussed why it took so long for Morpheus, Lord of the Dreaming, to make his live-action debut. Sandman’s long journey.
Gaiman has seen his work adapted countless times over the decades. Regardless, The Sandman is no ordinary book. Not only is it largely considered to be Gaiman’s magnum opus, it has also been hailed as one of the best comics ever produced. So doing it justice was of the utmost importance. That’s why Gaiman wasn’t afraid to put his foot down if any studio bigwigs got out of line…especially in the ‘90s, when the recent crop of comic adaptations were anything but impressive.
“I didn’t have faith that we’d always get here,” said Gaiman. “But I had faith that the important thing was to stop bad versions being made. Once a bad version is made, you never quite come back from that. It may sound silly, but when I was 14 or 15, my favorite comic was Howard the Duck. Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, Frank Brunner, satire, madness, glory… I was so excited when I heard George Lucas was making a movie. And then A New Breed Of Hero [the European subtitle for the 1986 film] came out. Howard The Duck became a bad joke. I never wanted that to happen to Sandman and I saw scripts that would have made that happen.”
Gaiman didn’t name names, but plenty of writers have attempted to bring The Sandman to screens. In the mid-‘90s, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio penned their own screenplay for a film adaptation, which Gaiman reportedly enjoyed. But a subsequent 1998 draft by William Farmer was dismissed by Gaiman as “the worst script [he’d] ever read.” Jack Thorne, Eric Heisserer, James Mangold, and Eric Kripke pitched their own takes over the next several years. However, Netflix ultimately settled on Allan Heinberg to showrun their upcoming version and executive produce with Gaiman and David S. Goyer.
The Sandman will premiere on Netflix on August 5.
Are you glad to hear that the upcoming series has Gaiman’s seal of approval? Let us know in the comments down below!
Recommended Reading: Lucifer Omnibus Vol. 1 (The Sandman Universe Classics)