Netflix has placed an 11-episode series order for “The Sandman,” a show based on the critically-acclaimed comics by writer Neil Gaiman.
While there have been Sandman comic-book characters since 1939, Gaiman’s version (co-created by artists Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg) first appeared 50 years later. Instead of a costumed crimefighter, he was a brooding deity known variously as Dream and Morpheus, and who ruled over the world of dreams.
Over the course of 75 issues, as well as subsequent follow-ups like the gorgeous prequel “Overture,” Gaiman and his collaborators told a sprawling dark fantasy story. In the process, they paving the way for Vertigo (DC’s soon-to-shutter imprint for creator-owned comics aimed at mature readers) and helped popularize the practice of collecting comic storylines into trade paperbacks.
A number of different “Sandman” adaptations have failed to reach the screen over the years, including one with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s involvement. Meanwhile, Gaiman’s work has recently been adapted in the Starz series “American Gods” and the Amazon Prime series “Good Omens.”
“The Sandman” comics are often held up as an example of what the medium has to offer beyond superheroes, but it’s worth noting that they started out as part of DC’s superhero universe, with early issues featuring appearances by members of the Justice League.
So it seems notable that the show will be made for Netflix, rather than the DC Universe streaming service. The service recently canceled its “Swamp Thing” series, and its place in WarnerMedia’s larger plans remains unclear.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news over the weekend that a deal was in the works, and it claimed that this will be DC Entertainment’s most expensive TV series yet.
According to Netflix’s subsequent announcement, Allen Heinberg (who co-wrote the recent “Wonder Woman” film) will serve as showrunner. Gaiman will also be involved, writing the first episode alongside Heinberg and David S. Goyer.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the brilliant team that is Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to finally bring Neil’s iconic comic book series, The Sandman, to life onscreen,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Channing Dungey in a statement. “From its rich characters and storylines to its intricately built-out worlds, we’re excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world.”