After decades of failed developments, an adaptation of Sandman finally looks like it’s coming to fruition. Netflix has struck a massive deal with Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment to develop a TV show based on Neil Gaiman’s classic comic series.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that the straight-to-series deal, which has yet to formally close, would mark DC’s most expensive television endeavor ever. Allan Heinberg, who penned Wonder Woman and produced/wrote for TV’s Grey’s Anatomy and The Catch, will serve as showrunner and writer. Gaiman and David Goyer will executive produce.
Update: Netflix has officially ordered an 11-episode first season of Sandman. Gaiman, Goyer, and Heinberg will pen the first episode. Gaiman has also said that the first series of the show will cover Preludes & Nocturnes, the first collected graphic novel of the comics that consists of the issues #1-#8.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the brilliant team that is Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to finally bring Neil’s iconic comic book series, The Sandman, to life onscreen,” read a statement from Channing Dungey, Netflix’s vice president of original series. “From its rich characters and storylines to its intricately built-out worlds, we’re excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world.”
Originally running from 1989 to 1996 for 75 issues and launching numerous spin-offs and additional tales, Sandman centers around Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. The character is one of the Endless along with Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire, and Delirium. Gaiman’s stories of the seven siblings bridge fantasy, mythology, and horror, and are some of the most acclaimed works in the history of comics. Most of the series ran under DC’s Vertigo imprint, which was recently shuttered in favor of age rating labels.
Before finally landing at Netflix, Sandman had seen various adaptation attempts throughout the years. In 2013, Gaiman and David Goyer were on board to executive produce a film version that was meant to star and be directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. When the project shifted from WB to New Line in 2016, JGL left. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer was brought on to pen a script, but he too left upon deciding it would work better as a premium TV series.
“The structure of the feature film really doesn’t mesh with this,” Heisserer told iO9 at the time. “So I went back and said here’s the work that I’ve done. This isn’t where it should be. It needs to go to TV.”
The move to go to Netflix stems from WB’s desire for a robust financial return. Rather than bringing the Sandman property to their upcoming proprietary streaming service or the (floundering) DC Universe, they sought a third party partner. HBO was pitched an offer, but opted to pass, which led to the show landing at the dominant streaming giant.
No word yet on
how many episodes will be part of the first deal or when the show might begin airing. Regardless, fans are likely just excited that the Dream is about to become a reality.