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Neil Gaiman on why 'The Sandman' will "surprise" fans

The world of Neil Gaiman’s fantastical creations has long been populated with interesting characters and meandering storylines. Gaiman has made a name for himself as one of the ultimate storytellers, using his uncanny mind’s eye to deliver narratives that entertain and enthral audiences. For his Netflix adaptation of The Sandman, Gaiman is determined to do simply one thing: surprise people.

Despite the text being revered as some of the finest comic book writing ever, an accolade it has clung on to for decades, Gaiman revealed to Empire that the new Netflix version of the story will be a moveable feast, chopping and changing pace and style to allow for the stories many facets to be told all at once.

“You watch Episode one and think, ‘Oh, I get this thing: it’s like Downton Abbey, but with magic,'” he told the publication. “Then you’ll be wondering, ‘What the hell is this?’ by Episode two when you’re meeting Gregory The Gargoyle in The Dreaming. Episode five is about as dark and traumatic as anything is ever gonna get, then you’ve got Episode six, which is probably the most feel-good of all the episodes.”

The change in approach will not only thrill fans but, ultimately, make The Sandman stand out from the ever-increasing crowd of superhero content. “If you didn’t like an episode of Game Of Thrones, you probably won’t like any other episode of Game Of Thrones,” noted the storyteller. “With Sandman, it’s all about surprising you. It’s all about reinventing itself. It’s all about taking you on a journey you’ve not been on before.”

While the artistic desire to keep the audience guessing is something we’ve recently seen pulled off with aplomb by Marvel, their Wandavision using a format that allowed for multiple stylistic changes, there’s good cause for Gaiman to be wary. Comic book fans are notoriously hard to please, and while Gaiman has previously stated he is “making Sandman” and “not reinventing it”, any wholesale changes will naturally incur the wrath of the original text’s hardcore fanbase.

Fans should rest with comparative ease, however. Unlike universal flop Cowboy Bebop, this iconic title will be helmed by the original creator and should, therefore, have its feet firmly on the ground. Below, watch the first snippet of The Sandman.