Here’s why Neil Gaiman didn’t want the Sandman series to be set in the '90s
Neil Gaiman’s dark fantasy comic book series The Sandman is one of the most coveted literary projects in Hollywood; in the last decade several attempts have been made to adapt the comic series on screen. A few days back Gaiman announced The Sandman podcast which will be a multi-part Audible Original Drama starring James McAvoy. It was also revealed this April that Netflix is developing a series on The Sandman and a notable change from the original literary material would be the time period; The Sandman comic book universe unravels in the ‘80s and ‘90s but the Netflix series would be set in the present day. Recently while promoting the podcast, Neil Gaiman opened up about the change in setting and revealed why he didn’t want the series to be set in the ‘90s.
“I think a lot of the problems with adapting Sandman were that it was somewhat ahead of its time in terms of what it would have demanded from the world. I remember having my first meeting about a Sandman movie in, I think, 1990, and going in for a meeting at Warner's, and they said, 'Well, what do you think about a Sandman movie?' And I said, 'Please don't do it.' And I remember the Warner's exec, Lisa Henson, looking at me very puzzled and saying, 'Nobody's ever come into my office and asked me not to make a movie before.' And I said, 'Well, I am. Please don't. I'm working on the comic, and a movie would just be a distraction and a confusion. Just let me do my thing.' And bless everybody, they kind of let me get on with it. Gaiman said.
The Sandman comic ran for 75 issues until it concluded in 1996, following which Gaiman returned to the 1989 setting for spinoffs and periodic prequels, and Gaiman also revealed why The Sandman’s long-form format was ideal for the adaptation. “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 movie.' 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 certainly 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,” Gaiman remarks.