Fans of Neil Gaiman rejoice! Netflix is closing on a deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment to adapt Gaiman’s, The Sandman.
The Sandman is a visual novel published in 1989 under DC Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics.
The series follows the story of Dream, also known as Morpheus and other names, who was imprisoned by occultists for more than 70 years. He escapes his prison and starts exacting revenge on his captors, but must first adapt with the modern times and rebuild his kingdom. Throughout Dream’s story, readers get to meet his dysfunctional family members like Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire, and Delirium.
Allan Heinberg, the screenwriter for Wonder Woman, will reportedly be the showrunner. He will also write and produce for the series. Neil Gaiman, the comic’s creator, and David Goyer — Batman Begin‘s screenwriter — will be the executive producers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal is set out to be the most expensive TV series that will be done by DC Entertainment. Warner Bros., pitch the TV series to multiple outlets but failed to close any deals due to the series’s pricey budget.
It’s not a big surprise that Netflix is willing to invest large amounts on the worldwide hit. With other production companies building their streaming services, Netflix is concentrating its efforts in acquiring talent and rights to hit materials.
Previous attempts at adaptation
Fans have long-awaited the adaptation of The Sandman, with talks of its adaptation starting in the 1990s.
An adaptation to a feature film was in the works from 1990 until the early 2000s with Warner Bros. taking the lead. A lot of changes to the script and plans happened within that decade that ultimately led to the project stalling.
Hopes of an adaptation sprung again in 2013 when Joseph Gordon-Levitt took an interest of the series. Back then, Gordon-Levitt was set to direct and star in the feature film. He was joined by BAFTA-winning screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne, known for his work with Skins and This is England.
In 2015, Warner Bros. was working on DC’s Cinematic Universe and had to move production of the adaptation to New Line Cinema. After a few months of working with New Line Cinema, Gordon-Levitt announces via a Facebook post that he will exit the project. He cites “creative differences” with the production company as the main reason for his departure.
Gordon-Levitt’s decision comes a day after the announcement of the project’s new writer. Eric Heisserer, writer of thriller movies such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Final Destination 5, Lights Out, and Bird Box, replaced Thorne.
After seven months with the project, Heisserer also left saying, “I had many conversations with Neil [Gaiman] on this, and 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.”
Back in 2017, fans asked Gaiman if The Sandman series will proceed. To which, Gaiman answered that it’s up to DC Comics since it owns the comic’s rights.
Other Gaiman successful adaptations
It’s also not a surprise that interest in The Sandman adaptations is back, since the successful adaptation of Gaiman’s other works.
American Gods, a fantasy novel about an ex-convict named Shadow who gets a job with an eccentric man who turns out to be a god, premiered its season one in Starz last April 30, 2017. The series was a hit, getting picked up for season two in 2017 and again for season three in 2019.
The fantasy novel-adaptation stars Ricky Whittle as Shadow, the ex-convict, and Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, an incarnation of the Norse God Odin. Veteran stars like Emily Browning and Crispin Glover join the main cast.
American Gods’ season one had Bryan Fuller and Michael Green as its showrunners but was replaced by Jesse Alexander for season two. Charles Eglee will be the showrunner for the show’s third season.
Another successful Gaiman adaptation is The Good Omens. Written by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the story follows an angel and a devil working together to stop the apocalypse because they’re enjoying their time on Earth.
The Good Omens is a joint venture between Amazon Studios and BBC Studios with Gaiman as its showrunner. The show premiered on Amazon Prime last May 31.
Michael Sheen and David Tennant star in the miniseries as Aziraphale the Angel and Crowley the demon, respectively.