Season 1 of Netflix’s The Sandman adaptation will cover a lot more ground than we thought. Fresh off last week’s release of the star-studded Audible version, Neil Gaiman sat down for an interview with Collider, where he revealed that the show’s first season storyline will consist of both Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House.
“So it’s 10 episodes, which will contain 16 of the comics,” he told the publication. “But there will be surprises on the way.”
In the interview, the author also said that the crew is currently “right in the middle of the casting process.” Going into detail about the huge logistical differences between casting for audio vs. casting for TV, Gaiman gently let down those fans expecting Michael Sheen—who voices Lucifer in the Audible adaptation—to reprise his role in the Netflix version.
“You know, casting Michael Sheen in the real world is something you have to start planning several years ahead of time. And you have to put all the pieces in to play, in order to make everything work, because there are very few more in-demand actors on the face of the planet than Michael Sheen,” the author told Collider. “And the odds are very good that Michael Sheen will not be Lucifer. Whether we wanted Michael Sheen as our Lucifer on the TV or not, getting somebody of that stature available when you need them is really difficult. So all of the casting that we did on Audible informs what we’re doing on the TV, but it’s also, they are their own things and there are places where that character may not be that thing anymore.”
This is the latest update fans have gotten since April, when Gaiman revealed via a Tumblr post that “everything was ready to go into production” before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shut down the entertainment industry worldwide. “The scripts for the first season are written, casting had started, directors hired, sets were being built,” he said at the time, adding, “As soon as the world is ready to make TV drama, Sandman will move smoothly back into being made. In the meantime, we are taking the opportunity to get the scripts as good as we can.”
It appears as though the process has been impacted somewhat by the release of the Audible adaptation. In the Collider interview, Gaiman said the audio production has served as a “control [group]” of sorts that have led to discussions with showrunner Allan Heinberg and co-executive producer David S. Goyer about what to change for the Netflix show. While he didn’t reveal any specific plot changes, he did say changes to story and characterization, including characters’ genders and expansions to subplots, had all been floated at some point.
“I think that if you are somebody who loves the original comics, you will love the Netflix series. And I think if you are somebody who knows the original comics, well, you will have an absolute advantage plot-wise in the Netflix series,” he told Collider. “But much like something like Game of Thrones, while you will have an advantage, you will not always be one step ahead.”
One change we do know about is the setting. Speaking to CBC’s Day 6 program last November, Gaiman revealed that the show will be set in the present, rather than the ’80s of the original comics. “In Sandman [issue] number one, there is a sleeping sickness that occurs because Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, is captured … in 1916, and in 1988 he escapes,” Gaiman said then. “Instead of him being a captive for about 80 years, he’s going to be a captive for about 110 years and that will change things.”
He also confirmed that Dream’s look will constantly change, as it does in the comics, and added that appearances from familiar DC characters have not been taken off the table.
There’s no word yet, obviously, on a release date.