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Series

How George R.R. Martin rejected Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman’

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is currently the biggest new show in the world. It still has a long way to go to rival fellow novelist’s creation, George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, but time will tell. 

As it happens, there is actually a bit of a cosmic connection between the pair. Back in the days when Martin was an editor, he failed to see the potential in The Sandman and rejected Gaiman’s pitch for the idea that is now finally bearing fruit in a cinematic sense, 30 years after it was published. 

Now, the pair have come face-to-face and Gaiman has concluded without any irony, “I owe all of this to you.” This is praise that Martin was happy to accept without any backhanded sting as he happily admitted, “Yes, you do.” It’s a tale of how rejection can sometimes be more fruitful than acceptance. 

Martin was happy to accept that it wasn’t “the greatest decision [he] made in [his] editing career,” but that it all worked out in the end, and he’s pleased that the noble Gaiman doesn’t hold any grudge.

However, Martin would influence the current incarnation of the series from afar. Thanks to his heavy involvement in the success of the Game of Thrones novel-to-series adaptation, it finally seemed fitting to have Sandman follow suit. 

As Gaiman said of the 30-year screen gestation for his creation: “All of them failed because trying to make 3,000 pages into a two-hour film is frankly going to fail. When we did our pitch, they were saying the one unique selling point that we have is we have Neil Gaman, and none of the previous adaptations did.”

With the man who knows the series better than anyone (despite what some fans might think) onboard, the adaptation has finally flourished and without Martin’s initial rejection when Gaiman pitched the creation to his Wild Cards connected universe, that might never have been the case.