Neil Gaiman Explains Why An Adaptation Of ‘The Sandman’ Took So Long To Get Made

What the duck?

Jon Peters The Sandman Netflix Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has opened up on why it took so long for a live-action adaption of The Sandman to get made.

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman was a comic series that was published by DC Comics and later Vertigo Comics from January of 1989-March of 1996. In a decade that was full of genuinely terrible books and bad business decisions on the part of the entire comic book industry, Gaiman’s story stood out and was perhaps the best thing to come out of the entire decade. Oddly enough, when it comes to the various comic book properties making a live-action adaptation of The Sandman was seemed like an impossible task.

Since The Sandman wrapped up its original run, various attempts had been made to adapt it to live-action. One of the more recent attempts was made by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who eventually dropped out of the project. Eventually, a live-action adaptation took the form of a Netflix series that released its latest trailer earlier this month. However, it does beg the question as to why it took so long for us to see some kind of live-action adaption of the series. On that front, it appears, that the blame lies with both Neil Gaiman and the others who attempted to adapt it.

While speaking to Total Film, Neil Gaiman opened up about the previous attempts to adapt The Sandman and how bad most of them would probably have turned out. Specifically, he did not want his book to end up with the same reputation as Howard The Duck:

“I didn’t have faith that we’d always get here, but I had faith that the important thing was to stop bad versions being made. Once a bad version is made, you never quite come back from that. It may sound silly, but when I was 14 or 15, my favorite comic was ‘Howard The Duck’. Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, Frank Brunner, satire, madness, glory… I was so excited when I heard George Lucas was making a movie. And then ‘A New Breed Of Hero’ came out. ‘Howard The Duck’ became a bad joke. I never wanted that to happen to Sandman and I saw scripts that would have made that happen.”

Howard The Duck was originally a popular character in Marvel Comics, created by Steve Gerber. The character was eventually given the live-action treatment with Lucasfilm’s Howard The Duck. The film infamously bombed so hard at the box office that it effectively killed comic book movie adaptations until Tim Burton’s Batman hit theaters a few years later. While the adaption didn’t completely ruin the character in the comics, it nonetheless became the thing that everyone thought of when the character was mentioned. This was clearly a fate that Neil Gaiman was hoping to avoid with The Sandman.

Here is the new synopsis for Netflix’s The Sandman:

There is another world that waits for all of us when we close our eyes and sleep — a place called the Dreaming, where The Sandman, Master of Dreams (Tom Sturridge), gives shape to all of our deepest fears and fantasies. But when Dream is unexpectedly captured and held prisoner for a century, his absence sets off a series of events that will change both the dreaming and waking worlds forever. To restore order, Dream must journey across different worlds and timelines to mend the mistakes he’s made during his vast existence, revisiting old friends and foes, and meeting new entities — both cosmic and human — along the way.

The series stars Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Jenna Coleman, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Stephen Fry, Patton Oswalt, and Mark Hamill.

Wonder Woman co-writer Allan Heinberg serves as showrunner, writer, and executive producer on Sandman. In addition to their duties as writers, Neil Gaiman and David S. Goyer are also on board as executive producers.

The Sandman will hit Netflix on August 5, 2022. Stay tuned for all the latest news surrounding the upcoming series and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.

Source: Total Film

Trey Griffeth

Trey Griffeth

Lover of video games, comics, and movies! Writer of all things that involve them!