Gaiman is arguably one of the most famous writers of fantasy literature today. His delightfully macabre work is hugely popular with children and adults. He has written screenplays for Doctor Who and Beowulf. His bestselling novels including Neverwhere, American Gods, and Good Omens (co-written with Terry Pratchett) have been successfully adapted for the small screen. And his work on DC's Sandman has been unparalleled in the comics industry.

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In fact, Gaiman had started out as a contractual comics writer for DC, churning out new episodes by the week. He brought back a forgotten character, the Sandman or the Lord of Dreams, and gave the series a whole new mythology.

Peppered with magic and social critique, the series followed the adventures of Dream and his dysfunctional siblings and also included some stand-alone stories. His work spanned into over ten volumes and a number of spin-offs and is now being adapted into a TV show by Netflix.

If you're unfamiliar with the comics or wondering how the new series will play out, here are some of the most important details that you need to know.

10 This Wasn't The First Attempt To Adapt The Sandman For The Screen

The original Sandman comics ran from 1989 to 1996 and talks of a film adaptation from Warner Bros initially began in the late 90s. Roger Avary who co-wrote the screenplay of Pulp Fiction with Quentin Tarantino was involved in the project along with Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. The plot would be based on both Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll's House. However, the script met with negative reviews.

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Gaiman also expressed interest that Terry Gilliam could be a suitable director for Sandman. Later, David S Goyer said he would produce the film along with Gaiman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and it was announced that New Line Cinema would distribute it. However, Levitt dropped out due to creative differences and then, there were talks of making it as an HBO show instead of a film. Meanwhile, Fox released the detective crime-procedural series Lucifer which was based on a Sandman character. The show was later picked up by Netflix and has been renewed for a fifth season.

Finally, in June 2019, Netflix announced that there indeed would be a live-action adaptation of Sandman, in partnership with Warner Bros, with Gaiman and Goyer as executive producers and Allan Heinberg as the showrunner.

9 Gaiman's Dream Isn't The Only Sandman In The DC Universe

The titular character of the series isn't Gaiman's original creation. In fact, it is the pseudonym of several characters who have appeared in the fictional DC universe. The first appearance was in 1939 in the pulp detective character of Wesley Dodds.

Other characters including Garett Sanford, Hector Hall, and Sandy Hawkins have either been referred to or have taken on the role of the Sandman and Gaiman's run does sneak in references to them. But Gaiman's Sandman draws inspiration from the minor Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, and re-imagines him as an archetypal being who has been there since the beginning of creation.

It also maintains the continuity in the DC universe by suggesting that the other characters are all derivatives of this archetype.

8 But Gaiman Sure Did A Lot Of World-Building For It

Although the character of the Sandman isn't Gaiman's own, the writer's Gothic flair and creativity can be seen in the massive amount world-building that he did for the series.

Dream or Morpheus is just one of the Endless- archetypal personifications of human concepts. His other six siblings include Death, Desire, Delight/Delirium, Despair, Destiny and Destruction.  Dream has a realm of his own called The Dreaming which even includes a library that contains every book that anyone ever dreamed of writing.

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The world of these characters naturally intersects with the world of the living and provides the basis for a number of stories. In addition to this, there are also numerous other realms that are visited in the comics including Asgard, the Faerie Realm, Hell, and so on.

7 There May Be A Crossover With Lucifer

Given that the TV series is based on the DC comics, it shouldn't be too far-fetched to hope for cameo appearances by other DC characters. In fact, in the volume Season Of Mists, Dream visits the realm of Hell only to find out that Lucifer had entrusted the keys to Dream and had abdicated his kingdom for a vacation on Earth. In fact, he moves to LA and runs a nightclub where he also occasionally plays the piano.

This inspired a set of spin-off comics involving the fallen angel by Mike Carey and while talks of a Sandman movie were going on, Fox released an adaptation of the show, where the Devil in addition to being a night-club owner also works with the LAPD to catch criminals with the detective Chloe Decker.

The series has been renewed by Netflix for a fifth and final season but perhaps Tom Ellis (who plays Lucifer in the TV series) may reprise his role for The Sandman, given that his character plays a pivotal role in a few story arcs.

6 The Plot Of The TV Show Will Follow The Comics

Based on what has been released so far, the plot of the series is slated to follow the comics, with each season roughly following the events of one volume. Thus the first season will be based on Preludes and Nocturnes.

In it, Dream, who has been imprisoned in a huge crystal ball for over 70 years as a result of some ritual magic, breaks free and is on of a quest for revenge as well as to retrieve certain magical items that hold his power.

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Although a pretty straight-forward quest story, it has its moments of gore and horror and the last episode also marks the first appearance of Death - a punk goth teenager chick - who becomes one of the most popular characters in the comics and a departure from the Grim Reaper trope that has been literally done to death.

5 But Don't Expect To Watch It Before 2020

Although we know for a fact that the Netflix show is in the works, and that after almost three decades of hype, we'll finally get to see the live-adaptation on screen, it's still a long way off.

According to sources, the show will not premiere before 2020, and that's being optimistic. No casting calls have been announced either.

However, one may expect a cast list and a probable release date by the end of 2019.

4 Gaiman Will Be The Executive Producer

Given that Gaiman resurrected the forgotten DC character and gave him a new lease of life and a new fan-base, it makes sense that Gaiman would be very much involved in the production.

In fact, he is one of the executive producers for this, so we're assuming that he will have a good degree of creative control over it and that the series will remain true to its dark fantasy tones.

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Gaiman was also in charge of things for Good Omens- a BBC-Amazon Prime mini-series that opened to critical acclaim. So we can only hope Sandman not only lives up to but perhaps even surpasses, our expectations.

3 The First Season Will Contain Eleven Episodes

Assuming that the series is a success, one can expect that it will become as popular as Star Wars or Harry Potter or Supernatural. With 10 volumes forming the core of the story, the series might easily need 10 seasons (or more) to complete it.

But as of now, it has been confirmed that the first season will be eleven episodes long. And if it takes the American Gods route, each episode will probably of one hour duration.

However, episode names and the exact length of each episode are yet to be formally announced.

2 Folks From Warner Bros Are Involved

This is going to be a pretty big-budget thing, as it's a collaboration between Netflix and Warner Bros, with Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, and Allan Heinberg being the ones in charge of the whole thing.

In fact, as per the Hollywood Reporter, the two companies struck a "massive financial deal" to bring Sandman to the screen. So we can expect it to be pretty lavish and gorgeously-made and given the sheer number of characters populating the comics, include a huge and diverse ensemble cast as well.

1 While You Wait...Get Started On The Comics In This Order

 

Gaiman's pl

ots can be quite intricate. He always plans a few steps ahead and has a surprise waiting for the reader. And the comics is richly laden with references to history, mythology, literature, pop culture and folklore, which makes reading it a very satisfying and stimulating intellectual exercise.

This means the TV series too will be laden with Easter eggs and hidden references for astute fans to spot, so if you wish to make the most of the experience, reading or revising the comics beforehand is a very good idea.

And if you're a newbie and you're flabbergasted by the sheer wealth of material out there, fret not because there's a reading order. Instead of reading them issue-wise, just look for the 10 trade paperback volumes and read them in the order of publication, beginning with Preludes and Nocturnes and concluding with The Wake.

Once you've waded through all of that, you can read the spinoff comics, the Overtures, Dream Hunters and other comics that involve Death as the protagonist. And given that it's a whole universe, there's a lot to keep you occupied until the series duly arrive.

Till then, happy reading!

NEXT: 10 Characters We Hope To See In Netflix’s Sandman

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