Neil Gaiman Reveals How He Stopped Jon Peters From Ruining Sandman

The Sandman finally made its way to Netflix this month and so far, audiences have had nothing but good things to say about it. However, the show’s journey to screens wasn’t an easy one. More than 20 years ago, Neil Gaiman hit several barriers while trying to bring his acclaimed comic book series to life. And one of these roadblocks was a producer named Jon Peters. If you’re a comic book fan, chances are you know Peters from Kevin Smith’s riveting story about working for the producer on WB’s cancelled Superman Lives film, which ended with hilarious results. But it turns out Gaiman’s own brush with Peters didn’t go any better.

While speaking with Rolling Stone, Gaiman discussed his efforts to get a Sandman adaptation off the ground in the late ‘90s, when Peters was the one guiding its development. Originally, Warner Bros. had hoped to turn the series into a film. But once Gaiman actually got a script, he was anything but impressed.

“I haven’t read that whole script, [but] I’ve read as much of the script as I could take,” said Gaiman. “And I’m not sure if it would’ve been an action movie or quite what it would’ve been. It was a mess. It never got better than a mess.”

RELATED: The Sandman Deleted Scene Reveals Further Father-Son Tensions

Gaiman didn’t name a specific writer. But he’s probably talking about William Farmer, who penned his own script for a Sandman feature in 1998. Gaiman offered a nearly identical appraisal of the draft credited to Farmer as recently as two years ago. Although it’s possible that Farmer was only bowing to Peters’ wild demands, which included the same giant spider he wanted for Smith’s Superman movie and eventually stuck into 1999’s Wild Wild West.

“I heard about [Peters’ obsession with spiders] later,” added Gaiman. “And people were like, ‘Oh, you are kidding.’ And I’m like, ‘No, it had a giant mechanical spider.’ But much more important than that, Lucifer, Morpheus, and the Corinthian were identical triplets. They were a family of identical brothers, and it was all a race to see who could get the ruby, the helm, and the bag of sand before midnight on 1999, before the new millennium started, because whoever got it would be the winner. That was the plot.”

Gaiman was uncharacteristically blunt when one of Peters’ assistants finally called him up and asked for his thoughts. As he recalls, he didn’t hold back, claiming it was “the worst” script he’d ever read. He also told them it was “really stupid” to make Morpheus and the Corinthian brothers. Regardless, Gaiman found a way to stop this iteration of the project from moving forward. He simply weaponized his fanbase against the studio by leaking the script to what was once a hugely influential geek blog, and the rest took care of itself.

RELATED: Netflix Drops a Bonus Episode of The Sandman

“I sent the script to Ain’t It Cool News, which back then was read by people,” continued Gaiman. “I thought, I wonder what Ain’t It Cool News will think of the script that they’re going to receive anonymously. They wrote a fabulous article about how it was the worst script they’d ever been sent. And suddenly the prospect of that film happening went away. And instead Jon Peters turned his attention to Wild Wild West.”

All 11 episodes of The Sandman are currently available to stream on Netflix.

Are you happy that Peters ultimately relinquished his grip on the property? Let us know in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: The Sandman Book One by Neil Gaiman

We are also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising program also provides a means to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites