Neil Gaiman Says Season One of Sandman Will Follow “Preludes & Nocturnes, And a Little Bit More”

Looks like there’s already a pretty solid plan in place for Netflix’s Sandman TV show!

Since news broke that Neil Gaiman’s Sandman is finally coming to TV, thanks to a (reportedly) VERY expensive deal with Netflix, the internet has been writhing underneath many-tentacled speculation. Who to cast as Morpheus? (KEANU. Adam Driver? BOTH.) Whomst shall be our Lucifer, and how much Constantine will we get? And lastly, how do they plan to pull 80+ issues of this off, really?

Thankfully, Neil Gaiman has an answer for the last one. On Monday, the author tweeted that season one of Sandman will follow Preludes & Nocturnes, “and a little bit more.”

He also revealed that the first season will be 11 episodes long. With Preludes & Nocturnes consisting of the first eight issues, that adds up nicely to an issue per episode, with space left over for the stories that might need to be stretched out, as well as the “little bit more” that Gaiman mentioned.

Beginning with the 70-year-imprisonment of Morpheus by a group of cultists, the Preludes & Nocturnes arc follows the character’s journey to escape, seek vengeance, find his stolen items of power, and take back his office as Dream. That’s a lot of material to pack into one season, but two issues immediately come to mind that would translate pretty cleanly to their respective episodes.

They are, of course, issue 6: “24 Hours” and issue 8: “The Sound of Her Wings.”

Departing from the Dream-focused main storyline, “24 Hours” follows John Dee as he torments six patrons in a diner for 24 hours using a dream ruby he stole from Dream. The hours escalate, each more horrible than the last, and the body count adds up until Morpheus appears at last at hour 24.

Meanwhile, “The Sound of Her Wings” features the first appearance of Death. At this point, Dream has his things and realm back, and the two meet in a park bench to talk about the events of the past seven issues. After that, the two embark on a little tour around the world as Death visits the dying to send their souls off to the afterlife.

With “The Sound of Her Wings” being such perfect season finale material, we can’t really imagine them ending season one any other way. (Any cliffhangers could be saved for the end of the episode, or for after the credits.) That means that any of the non-Preludes & Nocturnes stuff that Gaiman was talking about would probably be sprinkled in beforehand, and have to draw from material that either takes place concurrently to the story, or before, in the form of flashbacks.

Keeping that in mind, here are some of the storylines we could see being woven into season one:

  • Nada: Introduced in issue 4, Nada is a damned soul Dream encounters when he makes a pit-stop in hell. Although she begs him to forgive her, he says he won’t, even though it’s been thousands of years. We don’t learn why until issue 9, a self-contained story set thousands of years before the main storyline that follows the doomed courtship of Dream and Nada, who is revealed to be an African queen. Since issue 10 picks up the Doll’s House storyline, it could make more sense to fold Nada into season one. (Although we could also see their romance play out in an extended cold open in season two episode one, a la American Gods, it’s such a powerful, heartbreaking story that it really deserves its own space to breathe, even if it doesn’t get its own episode.)
  • The Corinthian: This toothy-winked fan-favorite first appears in issue 10 (the beginning of the Doll’s House storyline), about to add yet another notch in his murder-y belt. But why make fans wait a whole season for such a great breakout character? At this point, the “failed nightmare” has already gone rogue, so there’s definitely enough material to introduce him earlier, both original and canonical (from the Corinthian miniseries). We could see him popping up in a parallel season one storyline that focuses on his murder spree, which only ramps up in season two before he’s unmade by Dream. 
  • Desire (and the rest of the Endless): Oh, Desire. Desire, Desire, Desire. Such an iconic Big Bad, and it doesn’t show up until issue 10! Ditto with Despair, while Delirium’s first appearance is all the way in issue 21 (!!!). The siblings are pretty much the face of the series, so we truly cannot imagine them keeping them off-screen until season two.
  • Any of the stand-alone stories (well, as much as any of the stories in Sandman could be argued to be “stand-alone stories,” at any rate) from Dream Country, Fables & Reflections, and World’s End. 

What would you like to see in Sandman season one?

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