Neil Gaiman is renowned as one of the greatest contemporary fantasy writers. Though primarily known to audiences for American Gods, Doctor Who and Coraline, he made a name for himself with his DC/Vertigo comics series The Sandman. This centered upon The Endless, god-like personifications of various universal concepts. The protagonist is Dream, with his brothers and sisters embodying things like Death, Despair, Destiny, Delirium, Desire and Destruction. The award-winning series ran for 75 issues between 1989 and 1996 and is considered one of the greatest comic runs of all time.
Of course, there’ve been multiple attempts to adapt the series for live-action over the years (Lucifer is technically a Sandman spinoff), but now it’s finally going to happen. Netflix has greenlit an adaptation which is currently moving towards full production. But, perhaps conscious of the production woes of American Gods, Gaiman seems determined to have a direct say in how his most beloved creations are treated.
He recently spoke about the series with writer Nora K. Jemisin, where they discussed the legacy of the comics. They specifically talked about Wanda, a trans woman who plays a key role in the “A Game of You” arc from 1993. Wanda was a rare example of a trans person treated with respect and dignity, especially so in 1993. Gaiman was conscious of getting her right, too, explaining that he based her personality and behavior on his real-life trans friends. As such, he wants the trans community to be at the table in the writer’s room:
“My biggest request to the Sandman showrunner for when we get to the season with ‘Game of You’ in it is that we have trans men and trans women in the writers’ room. Not as consultants, but as writers.”
He then went on to talk about how he approached Wanda and how he’d do it now:
“The biggest difference now is that I would have [trans people] write it. I wouldn’t be writing that. At the time, I looked around and didn’t see those writers. … I’m so fascinated to see what a trans writers’ room, what stories they would tell with those characters.”
Like all major productions, The Sandman is on hold due to COVID-19, but auditions indicate that the show will closely adapt each of Gaiman’s revered 10 story arcs. Here’s hoping we get some casting news soon.