A live-action adaptation of The Sandman seems to be getting off the ground after years of false starts. Neil Gaiman’s groundbreaking comics series will be coming to Netflix. Netflix has partnered with Warner Bros. TV to bring the critically acclaimed source material to the streaming platform. Allan Heinberg is attached as a writer and showrunner for the adaptation, with Gaiman and David Goyer serving as executive producers.
Further details are still forthcoming about the series. Both Netflix and Warner Bros. declined to comment on The Hollywood Reporter’s story since a formal deal hasn’t been closed yet. Sources familiar with this deal told The Hollywood Reporter that the project has the biggest budget of any DC Entertainment TV series so far.
This is not the first attempt to adapt The Sandman. I’m not convinced it’s going to happen until I see a trailer and a release date.
Published by DC Comics and later under the Vertigo imprint, The Sandman follows the exploits of Morpheus, King of Dreams. He is often simply referred to as Dream. Dream is one of The Endless, a family of powerful demigods tied to the fates of humanity and existence as a whole. The series initially blended some superhero continuity with fantasy and horror elements, eventually turning into a meditation on the function and importance of stories. The Sandman helped define the sensibility of mature mainstream comics in the 1990s. For a generation of readers, Sandman was their gateway drug into comics as an artform and a first primer on meta-fiction.
There have been multiple failed attempts to bring The Sandman to the big screen. Two notable attempts that Gaiman liked included screenplays by Roger Avary and by the screenwriters of Disney’s Aladdin. Several years ago, Goyer attempted to adapt the film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt before it finally fell apart over creative differences. There was even a rumored CW adaptation that never got off the ground. Given this track record, I wonder if something will derail this Netflix series in the coming years.
News about a Sandman Netflix series comes at an interesting time, with multiple Gaiman literary adaptations up and running and some relevant news items related to DC Entertainment. The recent Amazon adaption of Good Omens (based on a book co-written by Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett) has been well received by critics and fans, thanks in large part to the chemistry between stars David Tenant and Michael Sheen. American Gods has been renewed for a third season at Starz.
Meanwhile, DC Universe canceled its Swamp Thing series after the first episode aired on the streaming platform. It’s fascinating that Warner Bros. is partnering with Netflix rather than using The Sandman as incentive to sign up for DC Universe (think CBS All Access with its Star Trek series and The Twilight Zone). It was also announced that Vertigo is officially shutting down. Founded by editor Karen Berger, Vertigo was home to many other influential comics series, including Preacher, Transmetropolitan, Y: The Last Man, and Fables. The Vertigo library will be folded into the DC Black Label imprint. RIP the house that Berger built; it was the stuff that dreams are made of.
‘Sandman’ TV Series From Neil Gaiman, David Goyer — With Huge Price Tag — a Go at Netflix [The Hollywood Reporter]