The Sandman: Neil Gaiman Reveals Joker Almost Appeared in Original Series

Netflix has finally released their live-action adaptation of DC Comics and Vertigo's The Sandman. The series has been met pretty positive reaction and even dropped a bonus episode not too soon after its premiere. The Sandman features a pretty star studded cast with Tom Sturridge as Dream and Gwendolyn Christie as Lucifer. Neil Gaiman has been promoting the series for the past few weeks where he's been revealing some interesting behind-the-scenes details. One of the most interesting things that the creator revealed actually has nothing to do the series but the original comic. During a new interview with Rolling Stone, Gaiman revealed that The Joker almost appeared in the original comic series.

"No, I don't. I don't regret it. The truth is if working with the DC universe hadn't have been a continuous pain in the ass, Sandman probably would've kept much more tied into the DC universe. The reason why after a while the only DC universe characters I would touch would be people like Element Girl, who was so forgotten she didn't even have a page or an entry in the Who's Who of the DC Universe, and Prez, first teen president of the United States, widely considered a joke, was because I kept trying to do things and they would be planned and they would be set up and then suddenly they'd be changed," Gaiman told the magazine. "And I just got really irritated with DC continuity. An example would be at the beginning of Sandman [issue] five, John Dee, Dr. Destiny, is escaping from Arkham [Asylum], and he's meant to encounter the Joker. And I'd written this whole Joker sequence and it went in and suddenly got a phone call saying, 'Oh no, the Joker has just disappeared beneath the waters of the Gotham river. He's believed dead.' And I'm like, 'Well, he's not dead. He's the Joker. He'll be back.' And they're like, 'Yeah. But technically right now he's dead. So you have to make it somebody else.' I'm like, 'But it was the Joker. It was a good … OK.' Roll up me sleeves, it's now the Scarecrow. But it was that kind of thing. I just went, 'I can't be bothered.' I really can't be bothered to have to change things and rewrite them because somebody else has just dropped the Joker into a river."

Recently, Gaiman revealed while talking with Entertainment Weekly why he refused to come aboard previous Sandman projects.

"I had refused to get involved," Gaiman said of previous adaptations, most recently one with Joseph Gordon-Levitt attached to both direct and star in. "I'd refused to write them; I refused to be the executive producer. I wouldn't do it because I knew that if I did, I would lose the only power that I had, which was to be able to speak out against a bad Sandman movie. Fortunately, Sandman was just too expensive for anybody to justify making. And if you're trying to make a Sandman movie, the first question is, what do you throw out? Because Sandman, by the time it was finished, is 3,000 pages of comic. So what is your movie then?"

Gaiman went on to recall some of the bad adaptations that almost happened, including a version from Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary that was over as soon as he pitched it to the heads of Warner Bros. He also spoke about a version from producer Jon Peters (of Kevin Smith's Superman movie with a giant spider fame), adding: "There was a version of the script, and I'll never forget the first line: 'A-ha, foolish mortals! As if your puny weapons could hurt me, the mighty Lord of Dreams, the Sandman!' And it got worse from there."

Tom Sturridge leads the all-star cast for the series playing the titular character and Lord of Dreams. He stars alongside Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess, Asim Chaudhry as Abel, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Cain, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, Joely Richardson as Ethel Cripps, David Thewlis as John Dee, Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, Stephen Fry as Gilbert, Patton Oswalt as the voice of Dream's raven Matthew, .and as Dream's siblings, Mason Alexander Park as Desire and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death. The first season of the series is now streaming on Netflix.

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