The Sandman television series, based on the Neil Gaiman graphic novel of the same, is starting to gain some steam after initial delays in production. While a number of details around the show are still being fleshed out, we do have some information about the purveyor of dreams and how his particular form or creepiness could play out on the screen. Let’s take a look at what we already know about the Netflix adaptation of The Sandman.
WHAT IS SANDMAN ABOUT?
The Sandman is based on the character we’ve heard about for time on end in folklore and stories. He’s the (sometimes evil) being who oversees children’s dreams and is meant to control the sleeping world. It’s not the most comforting of thoughts considering we have little control over the Sandman’s universe.
The story, in this case, is adapted from the Neil Gaiman graphic novel of the same name. In it, the character Dream (who goes by a number of other names as well, including Morpheus) is the ruler of a kingdom in which he controls and personifies dreams. He’s captured but then deposited in the present-day moving back and forth between the waking world and his own dominion.
Dream is an immortal who deals with others of his ilk as well as humans in the everyday world. He’s part of a familial group called the Endless which features other immortals whose names begin with D: Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delight. Not exactly the most uplifting group of characters. The novel is dark and right out of Gaiman’s mind when it comes to themes and tone.
The Sandman had a 75 issue run after first publishing by DC Comics in 1989. The show will be set in 2021 and will pick up after Dream frees himself from over 100 years of imprisonment. This is a bit different from the original but is likely immaterial when it comes to the broader story, meant only to essentially set the story in the present day.
OTHER NEIL GAIMAN WORKS ON THE SMALL SCREEN
Neil Gaiman already has a number of his works turned into television series. Sharing the platform on Netlfix, Lucifer has been one of the streaming service’s most successful series after they picked it up when Fox dropped the show. In 2019, Lucifer ranked only behind Stranger Things in terms of series streams for that year.
He’s also had Good Omens adapted by Amazon Studios which received fantastic reviews. The miniseries follows an angel and a demon charged with preventing the rise of the antichrist who comes in the form of a local child.
And then there is Starz’s American Gods which will air its third season at the beginning of January. The show and book posit a world in which Gods exist and there’s a struggle between the Gods of old and those that have come about and gained strength in more recent times. The show has been nominated for a number of awards.
Gaiman’s work has played well in a variety of forms both visually and from a story perspective. Considering his work includes both long-form books and graphic novels as well, this crossover success makes a lot of sense.
WHO WILL BE IN THE SANDMAN?
Currently, no casting has been confirmed for The Sandman with only rumors floating around in the ether. One possible casting piece we could see is Tom Sturridge in the title role. Sturridge starred on another Starz show Sweetbitter which was canceled after its second season. He also appeared in Velvet Buzzsaw.
Liam Hemsworth’s name has also been rumored for the role of Dream. He has also been rumored to play the Corinthian, a nightmare that escaped into the real world and became a serial killer. Hemsworth is best known for his role as Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games franchise.
After Sturridge and Hemsworth (which again are only rumors), there isn’t much around the rumor mill when it comes to the show. This wouldn’t be all that odd except that according to Screen Rant, the show has actually already begun principal photography and filming. This is an odd sequence of events considering casting decisions are typically finalized and announced well in advance of cameras shooting and boots on the ground. But that doesn’t seem to be the case this time around.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Obviously, Gaiman is on board here with both the writing credits as well as a producer role. This has been the case when his other works were adapted for the screen. He’s always taken a large role in these adaptations to ensure his vision is brought to screen properly.
And he’s bringing along an awesome creative team with him. Allen Heinberg is on as the showrunner for The Sandman. His most notable work to date is penning Wonder Woman which was a massive critical and box office success. But he has a number of other executive producer credits with shows like ABC’s The Catch, as well as Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. Heinberg does also have some comic book success under his belt, creating the Young Avengers for Marvel.
And finally, David Goyer is the third part of the creative trio. Goyer’s writing credits include a number of massive comic book adaptations like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Steel, Batman Begins, and all three Blade movies. These are just some of the blockbuster highlights. Goyer’s resume is outstanding and he should lend a sense of action and gravity to the story.
WHEN WILL THE SANDMAN COME TO NETFLIX?
Originally, The Sandman had been in the works as a feature-length movie with New Line Cinema. But that attempt fell through and the rights were ultimately sold to Warner Bros. In the summer of 2019, Netflix announced it was getting into the game and would instead turn the comic book into a television series. Currently, there are 11 episodes scheduled for the first season.
But when it will hit screens remains up in the air. The shooting was delayed over the summer because of COVID-19 and, again, it’s a little unclear where they even are in the casting process. I think it’s safe to say we aren’t anywhere close to getting our eyes on what could be a visual stunner with a great story behind it.