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Neil Gaiman Had to Be Sure The Sandman Wasn’t Another Howard the Duck

Neil Gaiman says the Howard the Duck movie made him realize how important it was to prevent a bad adaptation of The Sandman from being produced.

According to The Sandman writer Neil Gaiman, there’s a simple reason why it took so long for an adaptation of the beloved comic series to be made.

Speaking with Total Film, Gaiman explained why he always kept The Sandman close to the vest when it came to film and TV. “It may sound silly, but when I was 14 or 15, my favourite comic was Howard the Duck,” he revealed. “I was so excited when I heard George Lucas was making a movie. And then [the film] came out. Howard the Duck became a bad joke. I never wanted that to happen to Sandman, and I saw scripts that would have made that happen.”

Related: Is The Sandman Part of the DC Universe?

Howard the Duck, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, was released in 1986 to largely negative reviews. Critics and audiences panned the film for its uneven tone, hollow plot and unlikeable characters, though the movie has since gained a cult following. Gaiman said that while he hoped a Sandman adaptation would materialize eventually, his number one goal was preventing a low-quality version from being released. “…The important thing was to stop bad versions being made,” he said. “Once a bad version is made, you never quite come back from that.”

Several producers have attempted to bring a Sandman adaptation to life since the 1990s, to no avail. Warner Bros. came close to launching a Sandman film in the mid-2010s when David S. Goyer announced a collaboration between himself, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gaiman, but Gordon-Levitt dropped out due to creative disagreements with the studio. TV adaptations from Logan‘s James Mangold and The Boys‘ Eric Kripke were also considered but ultimately passed on. In 2019, Netflix announced a live-action Sandman series would finally come to fruition, with Allan Heinberg as showrunner and Gaiman and Goyer as executive producers.

Related: Netflix’s Sandman Reveals Our First Glimpse of Death’s Iconic Debut

Season 1 of Netflix’s The Sandman will adapt the first story arc of the beloved comic series, originally penciled by Sam Kieth, inked by Mike Dringenberg, colored by Robbie Busch and lettered by Todd Klein. The show will introduce Dream (Tom Sturridge), aka Morpheus, a powerful mystical being who presides over the dream world. After being held prisoner on the mortal plane for decades, Dream escapes and begins searching for his lost totems — a helmet, a pouch of sand and a ruby — in order to regain his former power.

The Sandman arrives on Netflix on Aug. 5.

Source: Total Film

Haley Rose-Lyon is a news editor for CBR. She likes badass lady heroes, unnatural hair colors, miniature things, emo music, and eating an entire watermelon for dinner. She’s also a comic book letterer.

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