Rarely does a beloved piece of pop culture gets adapted into a different medium without losing a discernable chunk of its spirit. The qualities that made people fall in love with it in the first place, if you will. But when it comes to Netflix’s The Sandman, the project has an even rarer advantage, as it is overseen by none other than creator Neil Gaiman himself.
While the show has mostly been developed by other creatives, Gaiman has been there every step of the way to make sure the whole thing isn’t a misfire. In a recent chat with Total Film magazine in their recent Love and Thunder issue, the best-selling novelist explained that the important thing was to “stop bad versions being made,” a fate that has befallen many a great book before.
“‘I didn’t have faith that we’d always get here,’ he said. ‘But I had faith that the important thing was to stop bad versions being made. Once a bad version is made, you never quite come back from that. It may sound silly, but when I was 14 or 15, my favorite comic was Howard The Duck. Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, Frank Brunner, satire, madness, glory… I was so excited when I heard George Lucas was making a movie. And then A New Breed Of Hero came out. Howard The Duck became a bad joke. I never wanted that to happen to Sandman and I saw scripts that would have made that happen.’”
As fans, we should pray to heaven and earth that Gaiman intervened and stopped those versions in their tracks. But what of the upcoming Netflix show itself? Is it something that diehard fans should look forward to, or is it going to be a different, if not downright middling, experience?
“‘I can’t promise this is the Sandman of your dreams,’ Gaiman continues. ‘But I can promise I’m proud of what we’ve done. I can say that Stephen Fry as Gilbert is waiting for you, Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian, the serial-killers’ convention… We also get to punch above our weight on casting, because there are people who love Sandman and desperately want to be in it. Everybody is on Sandman because they love it. And it’s magic.’”
The Sandman is premiering on Aug. 5, but Gaiman isn’t helping the excruciating wait with these hype-fueling words. It’s a terrible thing too, because all 10 episodes of season one will premiere on the same day thanks to Netflix’s blessed business model.