Neil Gaiman's Sandman Is Becoming an Expensive Netflix Series

Dream manifesting new clothing for himself.
Image: Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Daniel Vozzo (DC/Vertigo)

After years of struggling to escape the clutches of development hell, a live-action adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman looks like it’s finally becoming a reality, thanks to a surprising (though not all that unexpected) partnership between Netflix and Warner Bros.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Netflix has greenlit a live-action Sandman series based on the critically-acclaimed Vertigo comic that follows the travels of Morpheus (or Dream of the Endless), an anthropomorphic being who manipulates dreams and reality. Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg is attached to showrun with Gaiman and David S. Goyer acting as executive producers.

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According to THR, multiple studios (including HBO) were presented with the chance to claim Sandman, which is said to be a particularly expensive production, before Netflix emerged as the frontrunner. THR writes, “Sources familiar with the pact note it is the most expensive TV series that DC Entertainment has ever done.”

While there’s no news about casting or which aspects of the Sandman mythos the series might get into just yet, the deal itself says interesting things about the show because of the parties involved. Over the years, Netflix has proven its ability to produce quality programming based on comic books thanks, in part, to the massive amounts of money the studio has a habit of sinking into its projects.

Over on Warner Bros.’ side of things, the studio’s most recently been in the news over the curious case of Swamp Thing, a series—like Sandman—that features high concept-fantasy (and costs quite a bit to bring to the screen.) There’s still no official definitive word as to why Swamp Thing was almost immediately canceled after its first season began airing.

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It’s also interesting that Sandman is coming to Netflix rather than WB’s own comics-centric streaming platform DC Universe, which might not be much longer for this world. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. insisted that DC Universe was in good shape despite the production woes plaguing Swamp Thing, but that was before Swamp Thing was flat-out canceled and before Warner Bros./AT&T became much more serious about yet another, comprehensive Netflix competitor separate from DC Universe. There’s still no word as to what the future holds for DC Universe, but the decision to announce Sandman and the partnership with Netflix rather than, say, debuting it on DC Universe or Warner Bros.’ new service is telling.

Now that Netflix’s Marvel deal is through, the streaming platform’s looking for the next big block of content that could fill the comic book-shaped hole left in its catalog. With Lucifer recently added to its catalog, the platform’s not exactly a stranger to content from the DC universe, and a beloved series like Sandman could be just the thing it needs to keep people watching when the show inevitably premieres.

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About the author

Charles Pulliam-Moore

io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.