We’ve heard the news before, but this time it seems like it might hold up. Neil Gaiman’s seminal “Sandman” is in the “early stages” of being developed into a television series.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros.’ TV faction is currently in the process of acquiring the rights to the series through sister company DC Entertainment, and is concurrently in talks with writer-producers about adapting it for the small screen. Most likely to be handed the reigns thus far is Eric Kripke, creator of the CW’s “Supernatural.”
Captained by the character Morpheus (“The Lord of the Dreaming”), “Sandman” initially carried readers through nightmarish explorations of the human psyche, expanding into fantasy and its own mythology by visiting Morpheus’ (or Dream’s) realm along with his team of siblings, The Endless — Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirium.
A “Sandman” movie has been a planned concept since the mid 1990s and even went as far as including “Pulp Fiction” co-writer Roger Avery as a prospective director. (Through this connection, Avery and Gaiman would later collaborate on the script for “Beowulf”.) The project would continually be dropped due to weak scripts (derided by Gaiman and fans alike) from a variety of writers.
Then recently, up until at least May, Gaiman and DC appeared to be headed to HBO, where—Gaiman told MTV News—a "Sandman" television series seemed the "most logical" style of adaptation. For one reason or another, the project never solidified.
At this point, it seems like a natural milestone. Any beloved, critically acclaimed, and very long series publishers plan to bring to life on the screen experiences similar cycles of production and non-production ("Preacher," anyone?): publisher wants to make said property into movie, realizes they can’t do justice to subject material within a movie, publisher decides on TV and tries HBO, HBO deal falls through, publisher reverts to its home base development teams.
Though Gaiman was consulted at points during the HBO attempt, he was never involved in the project in an official capacity, which may have been a result of its components failing to congeal. As of yet, these new developments are in stages too preliminary to involve the author, but if the planned series advances any further, it’s likely he’ll soon be a key figure in its production.
To say the task of adapting the series to screen is daunting would be an understatement. As one of the few mainstream publisher comics that transcended its medium’s typical audience to become a hit among female readers, intellectuals and the art-loving crowd, any “Sandman” adaptation would undergo intense scrutiny by a multitude of passionate fans. According to the report, the challenge is a major attraction to Kripke, who’s displayed a fervent dedication to his own creative visions, refusing to return as showrunner on “Supernatural” when the CW renewed the series for a season past Kripke’s planned five-season story arc.
Do you think it’s possible to get “Sandman” right on the small screen? Do you trust the WB or wish a deal with HBO hadn’t fallen through? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!