Considering the long-discussed adaptation of The Sandman only recently appeared on track, under the supervision of David S. Goyer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it came to a surprise to some that the film doesn’t appear on Warner Bros.’ sprawling DC Comics film slate. However, the omission shouldn’t be read as a dire sign; in fact, there’s a perfectly straightforward explanation.
“It’s not a DC Comics film,” The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman wrote on his blog. “It’s a Vertigo film. That’s a different slate of films, and a different announcement.”
Of course, fans of the seminal Vertigo series could be excused for jumping to the wrong conclusions: The Sandman has had a long and disappointing relationship with Hollywood, with a film adaptation languishing in development throughout the late 1990s. DC more recently was in talks first with HBO and writer-director James Mangold and then, in 2010, with Supernatural creator Eric Kripke for a television series, but neither attempt panned out.
Gaiman’s choice of words — “a different slate of films” — may suggest other planned adaptations of Vertigo comics, including Fables and 100 Bullets, remain in development and are simply awaiting announcement. Whether Guillermo del Toro’s frequently mentioned Justice League Dark might be part of that slate is anybody’s guess. (For his part, the filmmaker recently told SPINOFF, “Well, I know they are basically behind closed doors, determining the destiny of the whole DC Universe. And that is way above my pay rate.”)