Netflix may be out of the Marvel game, but that doesn’t mean they’re out on producing new comic book content. In fact, it seems like they’ve gone to Marvel’s main competitor with their latest series announcement.
A report from The Hollywood Reporter says that the streaming service is close to finalizing a deal for a new series based on the Vertigo/DC Comics series THE SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman. The epic 75-issue series, which debuted in 1988, is one of the most celebrated comic book series of all time and helped to create the Vertigo imprint at DC Comics and has spun off several limited and on-going series over the last 30 years.
According to the THR story, Gaiman and David Goyer will executive produce the series, while Allen Heinberg (WONDER WOMAN) will write and be the series showrunner.
THE SANDMAN tells the story of Morpheus, also known as Dream of the Endless, one of seven entities that encompass every aspect of the life cycle. Over the course of the series, Dream attempts to put his kingdom in order after spending decades in captivity after a mage mistakenly imprisoned him when trying to put Death in chains. The sprawling story focused at times on romance, on HORROR, on adventure and any other genre Gaiman could find a place for.
Frequently a contender for a live-action adaptation, THE SANDMAN most recently was being set up for a feature film at New Line Cinema with Joseph Gordon-Levitt set to star and direct, but he left the project in 2016 due to creative differences. It’s a shame, I think, that Gordon-Levitt is no longer attached to the project, because I think he could be a pretty good Morpheus. Maybe they can get him back for this Netflix series.
Trying to cram the story of Dream into a 2-hour feature film always seemed like a fools errand. While there’s certainly a lot of the story that could be trimmed to focus on a more condensed telling, losing any of it would excise so much of the intricate plot that Gaiman built. A television series makes much more sense, allowing the story to properly breath with the option of branching out in ways that could include some of the book’s many spin-offs.
There are many – MANY – ways that this could go wrong. THE SANDMAN is a complicated story with nuance in every panel. It’s possible that the series just isn’t meant to be adapted into live action. But I’m encouraged by the news that this will be a Netflix series, likely giving it a little bit more freedom than a tentpole feature film.
With convention season right around the corner, maybe we’ll get more information soon. Or maybe the whole thing has just been a dream.