Warner Bros. TV is in the early stages of developing a television series based on the popular Neil Gaiman comic book series Sandman.
WB is currently in the process of acquiring the television rights to Sandman from sister company DC Entertainment, which owns Vertigo, the imprint that published the comic book series from 1989 until 1996.
The company is also in talks with several writer-producers to adapt the award-winning series for television, apparently with Eric Kripke, creator of the CW television series Supernatural, at the top of their list of choices.
Sandman adaptations have been stuck in development hell over the past two decades with a movie version of the series planned in the early 1990s by frequent Gaiman collaborate Roger Avary, but that fell through. There had even been talks earlier this year of bringing the series to HBO, but that didn’t work out either. Back in March, Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn, who adapted Gaiman’s Stardust for the big screen, expressed interest in doing a Sandman cable TV series and even spoke with Gaiman about his ideas, but nothing ever came of it. [Read “˜Kick-Ass’ Director Wants To Do A “˜Sandman’ Cable TV Series]
As far as Gaiman’s involvement in an adaptation goes, it’s being reported that he does not yet have a role in bringing his series to the small screen, though that might change in the future.
Gaiman was not officially involved with the HBO attempt, though he and Mangold held several rounds of talks surrounding characters and story. The author is not involved in the new developments, though since it is early in the process, that may change. In fact, securing Gaiman will prove key for the project to go forward.
Sandman centers on Morpheus, otherwise known as Dream, after his decades-long imprisonment, as he seeks revenge on those who crossed him, regains his power, and rebuilds The Dreaming, the realm in which he ruled that’s come to ruin in his long absence. The series is initially very dark, but becomes increasingly fantastical and incorporates a lot of mythology and dream lore. Through Morpheus’s duties as the Dream King, the lives of real-world characters are introduced; also, Dream’s six other siblings — known as The Endless, each of whom have dominion over their own realms — made appearances throughout the series, as do various characters from the DC universe.
Sandman happens to be my favorite comic book series of all time. I’ve been apprehensive about the series being adapted to film because I felt there was no way the story could be told in two hours. While I feel a television series would be the best way to go and I’m happy that it seems to be what WB will do, I also wish that Sandman would just stay a comic book series and nothing more. On the one hand, I would probably love to watch the television series and revisit these characters every week, but on the other hand, I also fear that perhaps I just won’t like the show. I’ve said this before, that a lot is riding on who gets cast in the lead role as Morpheus — this could make or break the series. Also, Sandman would have to be on a cable network like HBO to truly work, for its content is very much adult-themed.
Another issue is that I’ve read these comics so many times, that I’m comfortable with my interpretations of them and I’m not sure I want a writer other than Gaiman telling me these stories over again. It’s one of the reasons I have yet to watch True Blood, which is based on the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire novels of which I was a fan — I don’t want to see the novels reinvented into something different. Also, I don’t think I could take it if people jumped on the Sandman bandwagon all because of the TV show.
If WB does manage to snag Eric Kripke, it could make a big difference, considering I really like Supernatural, another horror/fantasy television series. Apparently, Kripke has his own apprehensions about getting involved with an adaptation of such a beloved comic book series.
Kripke has been described as interested in tackling an adaptation but cautious because the comic book has such a passionate following and is held in such high regard. It’s the kind of series where each production decision, from casting to script to design, would be scrutinized by devotees.
The fact that Kripke realizes the intensity of this undertaking is a positive sign as well.
These are just my thoughts as a long-time fan; I’m sure those of you less attached could probably really appreciate a Sandman television series, especially if it’s given the proper care it deserves, and if Gaiman gets on board with the project in some capacity.
[Source: Heat Vision]