Update, May 13: Neil Gaiman has confirmed more tantalizing details about the first-ever adaptation of Sandman outside of comic pages, including the all-important release date: July 15, exclusively on Audible. Fans can pre-order the collection as a standalone $35 purchase or receive the whole thing as part of a paid, ongoing Audible subscription.
While no audio samples have yet been released, Gaiman took the opportunity to confirm the cast’s principal players, with Gaiman making an unsurprising turn as the story’s narrator. The massive cast reveal begins with celebrities such as Riz Ahmed (Venom, Rogue One), Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls), Taron Egerton (Rocketman, Kingsman series), Andy Serkis, and Michael Sheen, with James McAvoy in the middle of it all as Morpheus. The full announced cast is embedded in the above gallery, and you can learn more about the comic’s unique audiobook adaptation below.
Last summer, we reported that a TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s seminal graphic novel series, The Sandman, was in development at Netflix. Now comes news that we’ll be getting a multi-part audio drama adaptation of the series in the interim, via Audible Original. Audio adaptations of beloved properties used to be a rare occurrence—NPR’s 1981 radio drama of the original Star Wars trilogy springs to mind. But in an era where we’re all plugging into podcasts on a regular basis, such adaptations make a new kind of sense.
The audio drama is being directed by Dirk Maggs, who also directed the audio drama adaptations of Good Omens—which Gaiman co-authored with the late Terry Pratchett, and Amazon adapted into a miniseries last year—and Gaiman’s novel, Anansi Boys. The author himself will narrate, as well as serve as creative director and executive producer. No voice cast has been announced yet, but given Gaiman’s bona fides, expect to see (erm, hear) a lot of big names in the mix. Here’s Gaiman’s official statement (via Nerdist) about the project:
“Almost 30 years ago, Dirk Maggs approached DC about adapting The Sandman into audio form. It didn’t happen (although it was how Dirk and I first crossed paths) and I’m glad it didn’t happen, because we are in a Golden Age of audio drama right now, and Dirk and I are much better at what we are doing.
This is a rich audio adaptation of The Sandman graphic novels, brilliantly crafted by Dirk Maggs, with an all-star cast. I’ve loved being there to talk casting, there to read the scripts and offer occasional advice, and there in the studios, watching magic get made and recording the narration. I can’t wait until the world hears what we’ve done.”
For the uninitiated, the titular “sandman” is Dream, also called Morpheus, among other names. He is one of seven entities known as the Endless, and he is seeking to set right his past mistakes. The other Endless are Destiny, Destruction, Despair, Desire, Delirium, and Death, portrayed as a perky punk/goth young woman—they became almost as popular as Dream himself and were featured in several spinoff comics.
The audio drama will cover the first of the series’ ten volumes, Preludes and Nocturnes, in which Morpheus, the King of Dreams, escapes from a 70-year imprisonment by an occultist (who actually wanted to capture Dream’s sibling Death but trapped the Sandman by mistake). From there, per the official synopsis, “Morpheus goes on a quest to reclaim his lost objects of power and rebuild his realm.”
That should tide Lord Morpheus acolytes over until the Netflix series finally sees the light of day. Of course, there are still those who maintain The Sandman is essentially unfilmable, even given today’s cutting-edge technology. An earlier film adaptation was so bad that Gaiman deemed it “not only the worst Sandman script I’ve ever read, but quite easily the worst script I’ve ever read.” But the Netflix project sounds more promising, since Gaiman will serve as an executive producer for the series, along with David Goyer, whose filmography is nothing to sneeze at.
Listing image by YouTube/DC Comics