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Neil Gaiman Explains Why The Sandman Had To Be A Streaming Show

Neil Gaiman Explains Why The Sandman Had To Be A Streaming Show Image
  • Posted on 04th Aug, 2022 22:14 PM

Creator Neil Gaiman explains why previous adaptations of The Sandman failed and why the source material lends itself well to a streaming show.

Creator Neil Gaiman explains why The Sandman had to be a streaming show. First released in 1989, Gaiman's The Sandman comic book series tells the story of Dream, the anthropomorphic embodiment of dreams. With co-creators including David S. Goyer and Allen Heinberg, Netflix is set to adapt the complex and far-reaching source material for the first time. The upcoming Sandman series features Tom Sturridge in the role of Dream, with supporting cast members including Boyd Holbrook,  Jenna Coleman, Gwendoline Christie, Mason Alexander Park, and Patton Oswalt, among others.


Initial trailers for The Sandman have teased some of what's to come in the new Netflix series, including stunning visuals and shocking moments of violence. Like the comic book source material, the show boasts a wide array of characters and seemingly features vast existential storylines. While beloved by fans, Gaiman's source material is also renowned for its density and the grandness of many of its ideas. Trailers for Netflix's adaptation of The Sandman don't give too much away, but the show appears to be staying faithful to the comics in many ways, including its scope, scale, and themes.

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Related: Sandman Already Proved Its Lucifer Casting Backlash Is Ridiculous

In a new interview with The Wrap, Gaiman explains why an adaptation of the show didn't happen sooner and what makes the streaming landscape of today so essential to The Sandman's success. Much of it comes down to medium, Gaiman reveals, with previous attempts to adapt the comics into a film failing because it simply isn't possible to tell the story in the span of two hours. The rise of streaming and Netflix was ultimately crucial for a faithful adaptation of The Sandman, Gaiman explains, because it allowed them the freedom to tell the story over a span of many episodes with a large enough budget. Check out Gaiman's full comment below:

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“What I needed above all else was a world in which you could take the first two volumes of Sandman and make them into 10 episodes of high-quality television. Mostly, people just talked about making Sandman movies where you are trying to figure out the problem of taking 3,000 pages of story and telling it in 120 minutes, which is an awful lot like trying to put the ocean into a pint glass.

“There wasn’t actually a way to do this, to be this faithful and get that deep into the series. There was a proposal for a network version of Sandman, which was basically the Rose Walker adventures and Morpheus as a mysterious figure in the background who would show up from time to time and say things to her in her dreams. And it was like, ‘Well, let’s not do that, OK?’ Now, we’re in a world in which we have Netflix. We have the various other streamers with budgets and a will to make things that are fabulous. And they have been incredibly supportive of Sandman all the way and now we are getting to show people what we’ve made.”

Netflix's version of The Sandman, crucially, also features Gaiman as an executive producer, hopefully ensuring that his vision for the show remains intact. Gaiman's comments would suggest that, unlike other unsuccessful adaptation attempts, Netflix supplied the necessary creative freedom and budgetary support to craft a show that does justice to the source material's lofty ideas. Of course, while fans of the comics will hopefully be satisfied with the new show, Netflix's The Sandman must also attract new audiences in order to be successful.

Official budgets for The Sandman have not yet been revealed, but the show is coming amidst decreasing Netflix subscriber numbers and a vow from the streamer to cut back on spending. Considering The Sandman's complex source material and budget, the show is likely a bit of a risk, even with the built-in comic fanbase. If The Sandman is as faithful as Gaiman suggests, however, it will hopefully offer enough to excite both new and existing fans alike and continue for additional seasons.

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More: Everything We Know About Netflix's Sandman

Source: The Wrap

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