Netflix hopes to step into the Dreaming in October. David S. Goyer is working with showrunner Allan Heinberg and creator Neil Gaiman to together update Gaiman's beloved The Sandman comic book series for the 21st century as a Netflix television show. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed those efforts. Goyer said on his spotlight panel during Comic-Con@Home that Sandman should have begun filming in May. Now he says that series, as well as his adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation for Apple TV+, is looking to begin production in October. That is, assuming the coronavirus pandemic allows such productions to begin, of which there's no guarantee.
"The two things that were occupying most of my time prior to lockdown are these big-budget streaming adaptations of both Sandman and Isaac Asimov's Foundation," Goyer says. "Foundation was a little further along. We filmed about 40% of the first season when we were forced to shut down, and Sandman was supposed to start shooting in May. I believe we were in the early scripting stage. Allan Heinberg is the day-to-day showrunner on that while I'm handling Foundation and casting and things like that. So actually, ironically, both projects are hoping to start shooting again in October."
Before coming to live-action, The Sandman saw its first adaptation as an audiobook exclusive to Audible. Gaiman says that where that adaptation is faithful to the original comics, the Netflix adaptation will modernize the original story.
"Doing the Netflix TV series, we're very much looking at that as going, 'Okay, it is 2020, let's say that I was doing Sandman starting in 2020, what would we do? How would we change things? What gender would this character be? Who would this person be? What would be happening?'" Gaiman said.
He continued, "For Netflix right now, people have tried making some movies and TV adaptations for 30 years, and actively tried making them for 25 years, and they've never worked,. And they never worked because of all the special effects and what would be needed to do the special effects. They never worked because you were making something that was adult. People would write Sandman movie scripts, and they go, 'But it's an R-rated movie, and we can't have $100 million R-rated movies.' So, that wouldn't happen. You needed to get to a world in which long-form storytelling is an advantage rather than a disadvantage. And the fact that we have seventy-five issues of Sandman plus -- essentially, 13 full books -- worth of material, is a really good thing. It's not a drawback. It's on our side. And the fact that we're in a world in which we can take things that only existed in comic book art, and that can now exist in reality."
The Sandman is available now on Audible.