THE SANDMAN: Neil Gaiman Explains Why The Netflix Series Doesn't Take Place In The DC Universe

The Sandman executive producer Neil Gaiman opens up on the show's lack of nods to the DC Universe, explaining why the decision was made to separate this adaptation from the world of Superman and Batman.

If you've watched The Sandman on Netflix (and we'd highly recommend that you do), then you might be surprised to learn that the comic books were set in the DC Universe. David Thewlis' John Dee, for example, is Justice League villain Doctor Destiny on the page and even resides in Arkham Asylum. 

That's not the case in this series, though, and even John Constantine is switched out for the gender-flipped Johanna Constantine played by Jenna Coleman!

Talking to Variety, comic book scribe and The Sandman executive producer Neil Gaiman opened up on why the series doesn't take place in the DC Universe as we know it. "'The Sandman' itself started out in the DC Universe, the comic, and then it just sort of wound up wandering off into its own place," the author explains.

"Its world joined up more and more with our world and became less and less a world in which costumed crime fighters fly around and so on, which meant that by the time ‘The Sandman’ finished, it had its own aesthetic which really wasn’t the DC Universe anymore."

"We didn’t want a TV show where you felt that you had to have read a whole bunch of comics published in 1988 and 1989 to understand what was going on," Gaiman continued, quickly shooting down the idea that the Justice League who faced Doctor Destiny could appear in a future season. 

"Well, a) No and b) That hasn’t been the lineup of the Justice League for about 29 years, at this point," the writer responded to the admittedly daft question. "That bunch disbanded in 1996. No, we’re not bringing in the Justice League of 1988."

There are some nods to the DC Universe, though, including a young boy imagining himself as the original Sandman created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. He faces off with the unseen villain Pied Piper, which was the show's way of paying homage to its roots. "We love DC Comics. Bringing the Jack Kirby-Joe Simon ‘Sandman’ as a 12-year-old kid’s dreams was an enormous dream."

While it's a shame The Sandman doesn't put a greater focus on DC Comics characters, it does a great job of adapting Gaiman's work and is true to their spirit. There's been no word on a season 2 yet, though the hope among fans of this property is that the show will have a long run on the streaming service. 

The Sandman is now streaming on Netflix.

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