Neil Gaiman is no stranger to adapting his work for television. His novels ‘American Gods’ and ‘Good Omens’ were met with huge success. However, when asked to adapt his ‘Sandman’ comics for the big screen in 1991, Gaiman was less than thrilled with the idea and begged Warner Bros. to table the idea.
“I said, ‘Please don’t. I’m writing the comic. If there was a movie right now it would just screw everything up.”
A feature film version of ‘The Sandman’ has been through various stages of development since 1991 but none have advanced beyond that. Now Netflix has announced that it will air a TV series based on the beloved comics.
‘The Sandman’ follows the main character Dream (AKA, Morpheus), who rules over the dream realm that people go to each night when they fall asleep. Dream is one of seven siblings that are known as The Endless.
While the series was announced by Netflix in July, Gaiman has been tight-lipped about any details. But, he has revealed why he thinks now is a good time for ‘The Sandman,’ saying:
“I had spent 2016 through till the beginning of this year making Good Omens … into television and really understood how it was done and had learned the practicalities and could no longer be baffled by it.”
Gaiman thinks that part of ‘The Sandman’s’ appeal is that the story is universal. Everyone sleeps, so everyone dreams:
“For five hours or seven hours or eight hours, we go stark, staring mad, and we’re in a place that we don’t understand doing things that we don’t understand.”
Furthermore, Gaiman has created a relatable hero in Dream. When he was writing ‘The Sandman,’ Gaiman wanted to turn the stereotypical idea of a superhero on its head. Dream may be a god, but he’s a “complete screw-up.” As Gaiman explains:
“He’s a gloomy sort of bugger. He’s not quite human, but he does have absolute standards and responsibilities and tries to fulfill his moral obligations even if his standards are not human.”
An attempt to adapt ‘The Sandman’ came crashing down in 2016 when screenwriter Eric Heisserer decided it wasn’t going to work. At the time, Heisserer said:
“I … did a lot of work on the feature and came to the conclusion that the best version of this property exists as an HBO series or limited series, not as a feature film, not even as a trilogy.”
Following the Netflix announcement, Gaiman took to Twitter to acknowledge that the story will not be told in one sitting, saying:
“We won’t even try.”
The first season will be eleven episodes. That’s the start of it all. Preludes and Nocturnes and a little bit more. https://t.co/tOlfJ1kS1y
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) July 2, 2019
Gaiman knows that fans are anxious to see how the story will translate to television, and he has acknowledged that writer and showrunner Allan Heinburg, with David Goyer and Gaiman as writers and executive producers, will all work hard to respect the original story, saying:
“The idea is to stay faithful to ‘Sandman,’ but to do it for now rather than making it a 1980s period piece.”
Check back for more news about ‘The Sandman’ as it becomes available!
Source: CBC Radio