Neil Gaiman reveals The Sandman movie’s terrible plot: “The worst script I’ve ever read”

Cameron Frew
Tom Sturridge in The Sandman

Neil Gaiman has opened up about the infamous binned script for The Sandman movie, once described as “the worst script” he’d ever read.

After decades of stop-start development, creative differences, and bad ideas, The Sandman has finally made it to the screen – and it was worth the wait, with fans anxiously awaiting the green light for Season 2.

Gaiman’s seminal comic book, following the Lord of Dreams and the other Endless in their existential squabbles, has always been destined for an adaptation, but it proved notoriously difficult to crack.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was set to star in a movie in the 2010s, but it fell apart after he left the project. And then there’s Jon Peters’ proposed Sandman movie, which Gaiman was forced to sabotage.

Neil Gaiman details The Sandman movie plot… and there’s a big spider

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Gaiman discussed The Sandman script written under Peters.

“I haven’t read that whole script, [but] I’ve read as much of the script as I could take. And I’m not sure if it would’ve been an action movie or quite what it would’ve been. It was a mess… it never got better than a mess. It had giant mechanical spiders in it. The way that it worked,” he said.

It turns out, Peters had a bit of a thing for giant spiders in his heyday. In his original plans for Superman Lives, Tim Burton’s take on the Man of Steel with Nicolas Cage, he wanted Superman to fight a “Thanagarian Snare Beast.”

Tom Sturridge as The Sandman
Tom Sturridge stars as The Sandman in the Netflix series.

The writer hadn’t heard about Peters’ obsession, but the script had bigger problems. “Much more important than that, Lucifer, Morpheus, and the Corinthian were identical triplets,” he continued.

“They were a family of identical brothers, and it was all a race to see who could get the ruby, the helm, and the bag of sand before midnight on 1999, before the new millennium started, because whoever got it would be the winner. That was the plot.”

Gaiman hated the script so much that he sent it to Ain’t It Cool News. “They wrote a fabulous article about how it was the worst script they’d ever been sent,” he said.

“And suddenly the prospect of that film happening went away. And instead Jon Peters turned his attention to Wild Wild West,” which just happens to feature… a giant spider.

The Sandman Season 1 is available to stream on Netflix now.