David S. Goyer has a rare pedigree amongst comic book fans. From the original Blade Trilogy for Marvel to The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, and Krypton for DC, Goyer’s experience is almost unmatched as far as comic adaptations go. This legacy led to the writer and director being approached by Warner Bros. as somebody who might finally be able to bring the “unfilmable” Sandman to life.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Goyer explained that his current involvement isn’t the first time he’d been linked with The Sandman. Over the years, there have been many attempts to produce an adaptation worthy of Neil Gaiman’s legendary series, and Goyer says he’d previously “talked himself out of” being part of such plans, since no other treatment did the series justice. The primary objection of Goyer was that The Sandman could never work as a movie and had to be in a longer and more ambitious format.
“I was trying to get Warner Bros. to do a streaming serialized show, and they wanted to do it as a feature instead,” Goyer said. “So Neil and I worked on a feature, and through the various iterations, it just kept subtly getting more and more deformed and shifting more and more away from the true north. Finally, we just said, ‘Guys, please let’s stop, please kill it, let’s do it as a streaming show.’ Eventually, they did.”
Neil Gaiman is personally involved in The Sandman show
Goyer believes that the new Netflix series is finally worthy of the original Vertigo Comics source material, capturing the non-linear nature of the complex story.
"Part of it was that we had to wait for streaming as a medium to catch up to Sandman. What’s amazing about Sandman is that it doesn’t fit in any one box. It’s not easily categorized… All the previous attempts — and I know this personally because of my relationship with Neil — were trying to sort of hammer [The Sandman] into kind of a nice, easily digestible category."
Anticipation among fans for the new series is high, with many comforted by Gaiman himself being heavily involved in the project. Goyer demanded that Warner Bros. include The Sandman’s creator in the production, which hadn’t been done before. “[O]ne thing no one else ever attempted to do with Sandman was something that I insisted with Warner Bros.: that Neil become a producer and write the pilot with me,” Goyer said. “It seems obvious, but Neil was never a producer on any of the other Sandman [efforts]… We wanted to keep it strange and, God bless Netflix, it’s strange and funky and weird. If you like the comics, I think it’s a fairly accurate depiction.”
There is no confirmed release date for The Sandman yet. The series will star Tom Sturridge in the title role, with Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, and many more in the large ensemble cast.