Sandman Netflix Series Will Bend Genres, Just Like The Original Comic

Neil Gaiman's comic series "The Sandman" is a sprawling epic that combines multiple genres to tell its near-mythical story. The series' many arcs fluctuate between fantasy, drama, horror, and more, all to tell the story of seven beings known as The Endless. In an interview with Collider, executive producer David S. Goyer shared that the series will be a "faithful adaptation" of author Neil Gaiman's source material, and will be just as genre-bending as the comics. 

Hell is a 24 Hour Diner

In the interview, Goyer explained that some of the most potentially difficult "Sandman" stories to adapt might end up being the most "genre-bending" episodes. 

"I think it's a very truthful adaptation, and some of the individual issues that we adapted, that were perhaps the trickiest standalone issues in Gaiman's run, have ended up being the most interesting and genre-bending episodes. And I'm really proud of those."

One of the issues Goyer absolutely has to be referring to is "24 Hours," the sixth issue of the first volume of "The Sandman," collected in the graphic novel "Preludes and Nocturnes." "24 Hours" has long been regarded as one of the most disturbing stories in comics history, following the criminally insane Doctor Dee (David Thewlis), who steals a magical ruby from Morpheus, the Endless known as Dream, that allows him to control the dreams of others. He manipulates the realities of the patrons of a 24 hour diner, forcing them to go mad. It's harrowing stuff, and Gaiman has confirmed via Twitter that the issue will be adapted in the fifth episode of the series. Patton Oswalt, who voices Morpheus' accomplice, Matthew the Raven, tweeted that he's read the script and will not be watching the episode. It must be a real doozy, and it certainly checks off lots of horror boxes for the genre-bending series. 

Filming the Formerly Unfilmable

The series, which recently finished filming its first season, is set to encompass the stories told in the first two volumes of "The Sandman." Collected in the graphic novels "Preludes and Nocturnes" and "The Doll's House," these early Sandman stories have some shared threads that run through them, but most are stand-alone stories. In addition to the confirmed and horrifying "24 Hours," the first two volumes contain a wealth of unique stories, including the introduction of Morpheus' sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and a beautiful and tragic coming-of-age tale set in an unnamed African nation.

Gaiman also confirmed on Twitter that cats had been cast for part of the adaptation, leading many fans to believe that the third volume story "A Dream of a Thousand Cats" would be included in the first season. This comic follows cats dreaming of overthrowing their human oppressors, and it's an all-time favorite among "Sandman" fans. 

These stories were once considered "unfilmable," which Goyer saw as a challenge. He's also currently working on an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy, which has also been deemed unadaptable for years. There have been multiple attempts to adapt "The Sandman" into feature films, though none have made it past pre-production. The Netflix series is in post-production now, and they should be announcing a release date soon. 

Goyer credits streaming services as being the only way to tell these stories, and sees the humor in both projects coming to fruition at the same time. Goyer told Collider:

"It's very strange to me that after literally decades of me dreaming about working on Foundation or Sandman, that both would come my way at almost exactly the same time after decades of various attempts failing. It's funny how that worked out. But I do think in the case of Foundation or Sandman, a streaming show was perfect... really the only way that the magic of what Asimov and Gaiman had done could be fully realized."

"Sandman" will be arriving on Netflix at some point in 2021 or early 2022.