James Mangold has shown why his scrapped The Sandman TV show at HBO never happened. The job of adapting the groundbreaking comic books of Neil Gaiman has proven to be a rather difficult one, and for a reason. Gaiman’s original run of The Sandman spanned 75 problems and united elements of Fantasy and horror with classic mythology and literature to tell the story of Fantasy, aka.
Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, and the six other Endless beings (Death, Destiny, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction) govern most of existence. It is a work that is compact, to put it somewhat.
Over time, there have been many different attempts at adapting The Sandman for television or film. Including a TV show from Supernatural founder Eric Kripke and a feature-length movie directed by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Fantasy, in addition to an HBO series pitched by Mangold (whom superhero movie lovers will understand for directing The Wolverine and Logan).
In the case of Mangold’s show, it turns out that the whole thing was derailed by Warner Bros., which accredited The Sandman TV rights in 2010.
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Talking to Discussing Film, Mangold explained what happened to his pitch for a Sandman string at HBO. He expressed his enthusiasm about The Sandman TV show currently moving forward at Netflix and praising Gaiman’s source material for the “private and epic” vision. You can read his full quote below.
It’s no secret I was trying to pull together a version of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. I pitched it to HBO years ago, and they bought the pitch, and it got undone by a turf war in WB. No matter how it’s happening and I am quite happy for Neil, who I believe is a brilliant artist in addition to a person. His vision weaves romantic, psychedelic, psychological, sexual, and fantastical in a means that’s both personal and epic.
Anyway, regarding projects of this future, I could speak about conjecture because anything that I say in the world of comic books becomes prepared to haunt me for the next ten years on Twitter.
Naturally, it would have been interesting to see Mangold’s take on The Sandman. While he’s never helmed a fantasy-like Gaiman’s story before, Mangold has demonstrated a fantastic deal of versatility with his previous directorial efforts. Whether he is handling a murder-mystery (Identity), musician biopic (Walk the Line), or a rom-com using a magic realism twist (Kate & Leopold), the director usually finds a way to make a movie that delivers on the expectations of its genre, yet upends its tropes at the same moment.
It’s a part of the reason why comic book fans responded so well to Logan in particular – not to mention, why movie buffs at prominent are interested to see what he does as Steven Spielberg’s replacement on Indiana Jones 5. This also would have made him an attractive choice for The Sandman, given that the way the comics both draw out and subvert older storytelling traditions.
In terms of Netflix’s The Sandman, the show has been show-run by Wonder Woman writer Allan Heinberg and features Gaiman as an executive producer. Back in April, Gaiman confirmed the series had started casting before the coronavirus lockdowns, and It also said the series’ creatives are nowadays taking the opportunity to refine further the scripts for season 1 (with season two already in the early stages of development).
Thanks to Netflix, The Sandman series ought to have precisely the same quality of production values as Mangold’s version would’ve had at HBO, which should come as excellent news to people concerned about how the lush visuals of Gaiman’s origin material will translate to the small screen. Hopefully, it’ll turn out nicely and will not leave fans, er, dreaming about what might’ve been with Mangold’s pitch.