How To Make a Sandman Movie

Posted November 13, 2013 by Jonah Mills in Comic Books

With the recent announcement of Ben Affleck playing Batman there has been quite some buzz on all over the internet. However, I have only thought about two things. One is the Aflac duck commercials. That is always the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Ben Affleck. The second is what other movies DC can make. To be quite honest, I’m sick of Batman. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Batman. What I’m sick of is how much of him there is. Batman and Robin came out in 1997, with production for Batman Begins starting in 2003, and being released in 2005. That’s only six years before they started Batman up again.  Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy finished in 2012, and with Batman vs. Superman likely launching in 2015. That just isn’t enough of a break. Then I thought of what other franchises DC could adapt for the big screen. As usual, Sandman came to mind.

There’s a reason there hasn’t been a Sandman movie yet, and probably (hopefully) never will be. If you don’t know what The Sandman is, I’ll try and fill you in. It’s about Morpheus (a.k.a. The Sandman or Dream) is part of a powerful race known as the Endless that transcend time itself. That alone should tell you why it would be so difficult to adapt. There are just too many questions involved. Which of the vast amount of stories do you tell? Do you tell a self-contained story, or one that continues? The biggest problem is that it would be a very difficult task to confine just one of the stories to two hours or more of screen time. None of them really sit well on their own, and trying to create a movie out of the character Morpheus would be too large of a task. When thinking about that for the thousandth time, it finally hit me. In order to tell the best Sandman story, you don’t tell it about Morpheus.

Don’t call me crazy yet, just hold on. You don’t want to see crazy me. The thing about The Sandman series is that it doesn’t always focus on Morpheus. A large chunk of the stories are actually about characters other than Morpheus. In fact, he is rarely the main focus of any tale. Most of the stories are about humans that are somehow linked to Morpheus. So if you want to make a Sandman movie, keep the stories as they are. But now which person do you tell it about? From whose point of view can you keep the same fantasy element that is ever so prominent, without comprising the story? This answer is easy to me. You tell it about the other Sandman, Hector Hall.

This is the basic gist of Hector Hall. (Sorry if any of this confuses somebody. It’s better to read the books instead of having me explain it.) Hector and his wife Hippolyta Hall were two superheroes called The Silver Scarab and The Fury. Hector Hall died after being possessed by Hath-Set. Like most superhero deaths, he didn’t really die. Instead his consciousness lived in the dreaming, where it was discovered by two servants of Morpheus, Brute and Glob. These servants tricked him into believing that he was the Sandman. From henceforth Hector protected the “Dream Realm” (It was really a small pocket of it), and lived there with the always pregnant Hippolyta. (She never gave birth because they were living in the dream realm.) After several years of living this charade the real Sandman came to return Hector Hall to his rightful place in the realm of the dead. And to make matters worse for Hippolyta, Morpheus even claimed her unborn son. This is because he was a child of the dream realm. Hopefully you understood all of that.

She looks perfectly sane. Right?

She looks perfectly sane. Right?

If you managed to make it past that, I will now say how they should adapt that story for the big screen. You briefly start the movie off with Morpheus being imprisoned. This is the reason the events of the story are able to happen in the first place. And throughout the story you will see little bits of the pieces leading up to his escape. The only other time you see him is when he comes to return Hector’s soul. The most obvious change is that Hector and Hippolyta can’t be superheroes. That aspect wouldn’t fit well with the movie. It would just be too jarring to create a world where superheroes exist, to then switch to a darker fantasy setting. It would make more sense if they worked together in the FBI or something. So one day while they’re doing a drug bust Hector gets killed by a gangster. It makes more sense than then having Hector being possessed and killed by Hath-Set. This would make the movie as grounded as it can be.  Everything else should be mostly unchanged. You have Hector Hall get put in his place, Morpheus claiming Hippolyta’s son, and with Hippolyta becoming emotionally scarred.

That is only two thirds or one half of the movie though. The reason that’s so is because that story only existed as a way to segue into Morpheus as the main character. I know I said it’s best not to tell a story about Morpheus, but that’s only for the beginning. It would be better to be introduced to Morpheus in that way, instead of just starting off with him. The other reason why is because Hippolyta would be the most important character in the third film. Yes, I decided it would also be best to describe how I would have sequels play out, because nothing is just a single film anymore. But I’m still on the first film.

So after you deal with Hector and Hippolyta what do you do with Morpheus? From here I would have him briefly visit Cain and Abel, followed by him meeting up with Lucien in his castle. Lucien will tell Morpheus that one other nightmare that escaped in his absence, the Corinthian. In order to return him he will have to journey to Hell, where it is revealed that the Corinthian is under the protection of Lucifer. In order to have the Corinthian returned he has to battle him. This battle would be similar to the one between Morpheus and Choronzon in the book. Morpheus wins the battle, angering Lucifer in the progress. Once he wins he decided to uncreate the Corinthian. However, the way to end this movie would be with The Sound of her Wings story, in which Morpheus recounts the events to his sister Death. This would be the way you end movie one, and now on to movie two.

This is one of the most beloved issues of The Sandman, and it deserves a place in the movie.

This is one of the most beloved issues of The Sandman, and it deserves a place in the movie.

This movie will incorporate elements from several books. It starts off with the story of Nada. Nada is the person who killed herself rather than become Morpheus’s lover, because she knows what the consequences would be.  Because of that Morpheus condemned her to hell. After that you follow up with the meeting of the Endless, where Desire angers Morpheus by talking about Nada. This makes Morpheus realize that he should try and correct his mistake, so he journeys to Hell to try and retrieve her. One there he realizes that Hell is empty, and Lucifer gives him the key. Then you have all of the godly figures come and try to plead their case on why they should own Hell. This is important because it introduces Loki, who will play an important part later in the films. The biggest change to this for the movie would be to have Thessaly be introduced here, and she will offer Morpheus the location of Nada in order for the key to Hell. Morpheus gives the key to two angels, and he asks Thessaly where Nada is. Thessaly will admit she was just lying, and Morpheus reluctantly goes to his son Orpheus. Orpheus is the only person in the world that would know where she is. From here Orpheus’s story will be discussed, before Orpheus goes to him. After Orpheus reveals the location of Nada, Morpheus grants him one boon. Morpheus finds Nada, and gives her rebirth as a baby to try and fix his previous error. Once this is done Orpheus will summon request his boon. Since Orpheus is just an immortal head, he asks for the gift of death. The movie ends with Morpheus killing his son.

The third film would be an adaption of The Kindly Ones, with little to no major changes. That’s right, The Kindly Ones.


About the Author

Jonah Mills

I am quite a weird person. I put pineapple on whatever I can, literally. One of my greatest accomplishments is being able to recite every single word in Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. I will also force you to watch Doctor Who if you haven't for some strange reason.