David S. Goyer On Why He Wanted “The Sandman” Movie Killed

David S. Goyer has been at the forefront of some of the best sci-fi movies ever made. He is best known for his work in adapting films from popular comic books. He is a filmmaker, director, and screenwriter who has worked on scripts for epic movies. Some movies include Blade, Terminator, Dark Fate, Godzilla, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. So it was confusing that he had pushed to cancel The Sandman movie.  Goyer is known in Hollywood for going with what feels best for the film. That is contrary to just making a movie that will be disappointing for longtime fans. The award-winning writer has walked away from several TV shows and movies because he didn’t think they would be good. To explain why he convinced investors to cancel the film, we have to go through a few details. 

History of The Sandman Movie

There have been several failed attempts at adapting the DC comic into a film ever since 1991. The most recent effort being back in 2013. Warner Bros had announced that Goyer would write the script for the movie, The Sandman, based on British author Neil Gaiman’s comic book from 1989 to 1996. The comic was so good that it was one of the first graphic novels on the New York Times Best Sellers list.  The fantasy novel follows the lord of dreams or Morpheus and his family, The Endless. At the time, Goyer was supposed to produce the movie with Joseph Gordon Levitt in the lead role. Everything started well but began going downhill when John Gordon Levitt dropped out of the film in March 2016. Then, Neil Gaiman was heavily involved in the movie but supported the actor’s departure.  Many people speculated that Gordon left due to creative differences between him, Gaiman, and Warner Bros on the film’s direction. Gaiman even tweeted that he would love to work with Gordon in future projects since he found him intelligent, honest, and friendly.   

Neil Gaiman’s Role

Besides The Sandman, another of Gaiman’s fantasy novels that went the TV series route is Fox’s American Gods. It is currently in its third season, which might be the series’ last. Why? According to Vanity Fair, Neil Gaiman is not an easy man to work with when adapting his novels for TV audiences. The first season’s showrunners, Bryan Fuller and Michael Green were fired because of their behind-the-scenes conflict with Gaiman.  Like in The Sandman movie, he wanted to have the final say on the finished product. At the same time, Gaiman had already inked a deal with Amazon as showrunner for Good Omens. It is another novel by Gaiman that premiered in May of 2019 on Amazon. Neil Gaiman didn’t give up on The Sandman adaptation, and it found its way to the Audible platform. The audio drama series The Sandman: Act I was released in 2020 and was a hit with audiences. 

It focused on the first three volumes of the graphic novel, Preludes & Nocturnes, Dream Country,  and The Doll’s House. It became the best-selling original series on the Audible site proving the worth of Gaiman’s novels. Because of this, DC confirmed they would renew the audio version for two more seasons, The Sandman: Act II and The Sandman: Act IIIBoth seasons would follow the rest of the volumes of The Sandman novels, including Seasons of Mists, Distant Mirrors, A Game of You, Convergence, Brief Lives, and World Ends. Audible confirmed the second installment of the audio adaptation would be available on September 22.

From Sandman Movie To TV Series on Netflix

Netflix hired David S. Goyer to work with Gaiman again to adapt the fantasy story for their streaming platform in 2020. Gaiman became The Sandman’s executive producer while Allan Heinberg was brought in as showrunner. Heinberg has previously worked on shows like Wonder Woman and Grey’s Anatomy. Netflix did its best to put together a great team.  When Goyer decided to tell Warner Bros to cancel the Sandman feature film, the script had already been re-written a few times. The streaming giant wanted to be the ones to release the long-awaited movie based on The Sandman novel to readers and fans alike. However, they didn’t expect Goyer to have a different take on what the film should be. Goyer shared in an interview that when he is working on adapting a creator’s intellectual property such as Gaiman’s novels, he doesn’t try to make it into something it isn’t. 

Both Goyer and Gaiman had reworked it together until it steered so far from the fantasy novel’s core narrative. After trying their best and realizing the film would only be a disaster, they both agreed to stop and go for a series instead. Eventually, Warner Bros decided, and they went ahead. Goyer stood by his decision. He knew A few episodes would better explain Gaiman’s story than one or two hours. The firsts season of the series will cover the first volume, Preludes & Nocturnes, and a bit of the second volume, The Doll’s House.

The Setting

The setting will not be in the 1980s, similar to the comics. Instead, Goyer and Gaiman agreed for it to be set in the modern-day. Other than The Sandman series, Goyer is also working on The Foundation, a sci-fi series based on the novel by Isaac Asimov for Apple TV+. Earlier this year, Netflix announced the new cast of the much-awaited show. Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivien Acheampong, Charles Dance, Boyd Holbrook, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar as Dream, Lucifer, Lucienne, Roderick, The Corinthian, Abel, and Cain, respectively. Production of The Sandman wrapped up sometime in June 2021, and Netflix released a behind-the-scenes clip featuring some actors and Neil Gaiman in the Shepperton Studios as he went through a few of The Sandman series set pieces. Seeing as Gaiman and David Goyer worked well together, fans can expect an epic retelling of the world of The Sandman. 

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