Neil Gaiman provided an update on The Sandman Netflix series during today's DC FanDome event. The author revealed that the "universal pause button" has been used to their advantage to ensure that the series is able to satisfy long-time fans of the source material. Gaiman also noted that the adaptation will differ slightly from the comics, which was already expected. Gaiman has teased more than once before that things will have to be changed up a bit for the Netflix series.
Nearly all major Hollywood productions shut down earlier this year, and The Sandman development was impacted too. However, it has not been a negative experience for Neil Gaiman and the creative team behind the long-awaited Netflix series. Gaiman and crew have been trying to use their extra time wisely. He explains.
"We've taken advantage of universal pause button just to try and get the scripts as close to perfect as possible. Right now, as the universal pause button is starting to come off, we are starting to cast again, we are starting--I'm getting these inspiring and wonderful emails with production designs, with places that I've only ever seen in the comics before now being rendered in 3D, and I'm being asked to comment on it, and that's amazing."
Some of the differences that The Sandman series will include have to do with the timeline. Instead of taking place in 1988 as in the DC Comics, it will take place in present day, which has brought up some unique challenges for Neil Gaiman and crew, though they have been welcomed by the author. Hopefully these changes won't affect the way long-time fans experience the Netflix series. Gaiman had this to say about the setting of The Sandman.
"What we're doing with Netflix is saying, 'OK, It's still going to start in 1916, but the thing that happens in Sandman 1--the point the story starts--is not 1988, it's now.' And how does that change the story? What does that give us? what does that make us have to look at that we wouldn't have had to look at if we were setting it as a character piece? What is that going to do to the gender of characters... the nature of characters?"
Neil Gaiman also says that it's been "an absolute delight" to examine the story and characters in a new way, while also trying to stay faithful to the original source material. As for inspiration behind the development of the Netflix series, Gaiman did not have to stray too far. Everything he needed was waiting in another related project. He had this to say during his DC Fandome panel.
"Part of the joy of doing the audio adaptation was going 'this is going to be the nearest thing we can do to an audiobook of those first three graphic novels and hopefully all of the graphic novels.' And we're going to start it in 1988 and it's going to end in about 1991 or 1992. 'Sandman' is a very compressed story even though it takes place all through time and space."
While The Sandman development hit a snag, it sounds like everything is working out for the best. That's how Neil Gaiman is looking at it, at least. Fans have been waiting decades to see this story adapted for the screen and we're now closer than ever to seeing that become a reality. With that being said, we're also going to have to be a bit more patient at the same time. The Sandman panel took place at today's official DC FanDome event.