“If dreams disappear, then so will humanity.” Wise words from the King of Dreams himself. Now that The Dreaming has come to life on our screens, perhaps The Waking World can sleep peacefully. We are, of course, talking about the most anticipated live-action adaptation of The Sandman that is now streaming on Netflix. Multiple attempts made in the past to recreate Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece never measured up. In fact, even the Game of Thrones creator, George R. R. Martin, passed up the opportunity years ago.
George R. R. Martin turned down The Sandman
Recently, Netflix uploaded an exclusive video of George R. R. Martin interviewing The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman after watching the pilot episode. “It’s beautifully done. Gorgeous to look at. wonderfully acted, and very very faithful to your story.“, stated Martin, thoroughly appreciating the on-screen representation of the graphic novels. Neil Gaiman, in turn, also showered Martin with praise of his own, saying “I was genuinely inspired by what you managed with Game of Thrones.”
It’s fascinating to think that had things gone a little differently, The Sandman would’ve been a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin. For his Wild Cards universe of superhero storytelling, Gaiman originally pitched The Sandman character to Martin. While Martin declined Gaiman, he turned to DC Comics instead, and there was no turning back then.
“George has never let me forget that I owe Sandman to him.“, said Neil in a moment of candor. George immediately replied with a chuckle and a, ” Yes, you do.” Possibly regretting his past mistakes, George added, “It’s not the greatest decision I made in my editing career.” Keeping in line with the subject matter, Martin speculated, “maybe in some alternate world or in some realm of dream, I accepted it.” One can’t help but wonder what could’ve been!
Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin on their shared performers
Delving more into the adaptation process, Gaiman shared, “It’s that thing where you take the books that we loved and the people, and now we’re getting to see versions of those people moving around saying those lines, and those things are happening to them.” Neil also gave a special shout-out to actor Charles Dance, one of the common “roughly treated” links between The Sandman and Game of Thrones. The English actor played the Magus Roderick Burgess in The Sandman and also portrayed the cold-hearted Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones.
They even share their love for Gwendoline Christie, who once portrayed the fierce Brienne of Tarth and is now embodying the formidable ruler of Hell as Lucifer Morningstar. “She’s wonderful in so many ways.”, said Neil, showering “the nerd” within Christie with genuine admiration. He also informed that Gwendoline “cared about the stuff” and she “was the person on the Game of Thrones set who’d read the books.” He said it was “incredibly obvious” for the “incredibly powerful” Gwendoline to be the beautiful devil in the world he created.
While George and Neil did not get to collaborate on The Sandman, there are still a lot of stories that haven’t been written yet. We, for one, are wistfully hopeful that we will see a joint venture between the two of them create magic on screen. Till then, watch The Sandman streaming on Netflix and let us know your thoughts.