Many fans have long believed that Neil Gaiman's beloved graphic novel series The Sandman could never be adapted into live action, but leave it to Netflix to give it a try. The first issue of the series was published by DC in January 1989, and it ran through March 1996. Along the way, this dark and dazzling fantasy saga managed to hit the New York Times Bestseller list and influence a whole generation of comic book writers, artists, and readers.
There have been numerous attempts to make a Sandman movie, but Gaiman's dense, multi-layered story-telling — something that works so well spread across dozens of comics — has proven to be a serious hindrance in getting a film of Sandman to the screen. Numerous names have been attached to different versions — including Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avery and Joseph Gordon Levitt — but all stalled in development.
Finally, in June 2019, it was announced that Netflix was set to produce a TV adaptation of The Sandman, with Gaiman heavily involved as an executive producer. The show, which filmed from October 2020 to August 2021, is expected to arrive soon. Here's everything we know about The Sandman so far...
Two new posters for the series were unveiled as part of DC Fandome on Oct. 16, featuring Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer. One poster is a closeup of Christie's face, surrounded by stark white hair and the outline of her wings behind her. The second poster gives a better look at those wings, with the ominous warning, "Don't play games with Lucifer" scrawled across the poster.
The Sandman character posters also officially debuted on the Netflix Geeked channels.
Netflix is yet to announce a release date for The Sandman. In July 2020, Gaiman suggested that the show would arrive in 2021 — although early 2022 is possible too.
The first teaser trailer for The Sandman arrived as part of Netflix's TUDUM festivities on Sept. 25, introduced by Gaiman and Tom Sturridge.
A behind-the-scenes featurette was released back in June, which revealed some of the show's lavish sets.
An amazing cast has been assembled for the new Sandman show. The lineup includes Tom Sturridge as Morpheus/Dream, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess, Asim Chaudhry as Abel, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Mason Alexander Park as Desire, Donna Preston as Despair, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, Joely Richardson as Ethel Cripps, David Thewlis as John Dee/Doctor Destiny, Kyo Ra as Rose Walker, Stephen Fry as Gilbert, Razane Jammal as Lyta Hall, Sandra James-Young as Unity Kinkaid, and Patton Oswalt as the voice of Matthew.
The Sandman tells the sprawling story of Morpheus — aka Dream — an ancient being who tends to the dream state of all beings in the universe. In Gaiman's comic books, Morpheus is captured for decades before escaping in the present day and attempting to both rebuild his dream kingdom and exact revenge on his captors.
Morpheus is one of seven mystical beings known as the Endless, the others being Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. Sandman also features a wide variety of other characters, including Dream's messenger raven Matthew, the cigar-smoking, wise-cracking janitor Mervyn Pumpkinhead, and Lucifer Morningstar, the ruler of hell.
Gaiman has stated that Sandman will be a faithful adaptation of the comics, although the "present day" setting is now 2021 rather than 1989. He also confirmed that Sandman Season 1 will adapt several well-known stories from the first two volumes of the comic book. These include "Dream a Little Dream of Me," which features another popular DC character, John Constantine, the disturbing "24 Hours," "A Hope in Hell," in which Dream descends into hell, and "Collectors," which is set during a convention for serial killers.
Gaiman also revealed that the show won't shy away from the darker aspects of the comics. "It will be scary," he told Yahoo. "But it will be lots of other things, too, because the joy of Sandman is that it's a lot of different things in the soup, and you can taste all the flavors."
The showrunner for Sandman is Allan Heinberg. Heinberg has been involved with a variety of high-profile movies and shows over the years, including writing the 2017 DC movie Wonder Woman, and working on series such as Party of Five, Sex and the City, and Gilmore Girls. He's also written comic books, including JLA: Crisis of Conscience and issues of Wonder Woman.
Sandman is executive produced by Heinberg, Gaiman, and David S. Goyer. DC veteran Goyer has been involved with trying to bring Sandman to the screen for a number of years, including pitching a movie version to DC back in 2013.