Neil Gaiman Was Anxious that Sandman Would be his Howard the Duck Disaster

MOVIE NEWS – After turning down numerous attempts to bring The Sandman to the screen, Neil Gaiman waited a long time for the right moment to adapt his graphic novels.


The Sandman will be released on Netflix later this year, and Neil Gaiman has come a long way to bring the graphic novel series to the screen, primarily because he was worried that the wrong version would be made. Speaking about the obstacles to adapting The Sandman, Gaiman likened his fears to the fate that befell Howard the Duck, the Marvel comic book hero whose film debut ruined his reputation for decades. While there seems no chance of The Sandman meeting a similar fate, Gaiman revealed that he had seen plenty of scripts that could have been the Howard of the series. Gaiman spoke to Total Film:

“I didn’t think we’d always get here. But I did believe it was important not to make bad versions. Once you make a bad version, you can never get out of it. It may sound silly, but when I was 14 or 15, my favourite 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 [subtitle of the 1986 film] came out. Howard The Duck became a bad joke. I never wanted that to happen with Sandman, and I’d seen scripts that would have made it happen.”


Tom Sturridge leads the star-studded cast of Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holdbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mark Hamill and Jenna Coleman as Morpheus/Dream in The Sandman.

For many years, The Sandman was one of those works that defied anyone’s attempts to translate it to the big or small screen visually. Much like how The Lord of the Rings was seen for nearly fifty years, Sandman is an overarching story that encompasses so many fantasy worlds and landscapes that it not only took a lot of waiting for technology to catch up but also a lot of attention to detail to bring the story out the way Gaiman approved.

Over the years, there has been talking of a film version at Warner Bros, another film attempt that didn’t get past a script that Gaiman described as “the worst script I’ve ever read”, and even a screenplay by Eric Kripke of The Boys that Gaiman rejected because of the direction of the work. All these failed attempts, however, have finally led to this moment, when The Sandman is almost ready to debut as a multi-million dollar series on Netflix.

The Sandman may not have reached the spending heights of Stranger Things, but with reports that $15 million per episode has been spent on the series, Netflix is hoping the investment will pay off big. How the project’s massive budget – about $165 million for the entire series – will impact future seasons will only be revealed when the first ratings come in after the series debuts on August 5.

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