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7 Spin-Offs That Could Make The Sandman the Next Big Fantasy Franchise



The Sandman characters

The Sandman is one of the most critically acclaimed comic series of all time. Created by Neil Gaiman and a host of talented artists over the years, The Sandman ran for 75 issues from 1989 to 1996 and told the story of Dream the Endless, the lord of Dreaming. The critically acclaimed series told stories that stretched across time and explored conceptual themes of creation, life, death, and the power of a good story. Numerous filmmakers have attempted to adapt the series as a movie or television show for almost three decades, making the title as much a high priority as Superman or Batman. The Sandman premiered its first season on Netflix on August 5, 2022, and while no word yet remains on a season two, fans are already eagerly anticipating what comes next.

Yet the story of The Sandman is so much greater than just the 75 issues that make up the original run. The title was so popular that DC’s mature imprint Vertigo kept the story going for years with various spin-offs and one-shots, and in 2018 launched The Sandman Universe

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, a line of comics that expanded The Sandman corner of the DC Universe with new titles, concepts, and creative teams. This is a franchise rich with detail, and various corners to explore that span different points in history and across different genres.

Netflix has said it has been looking for its own Harry Potter-style franchise or Star Wars, and they may have found it with The Sandman. With a rich wealth of material to draw from, the streaming service in partnership with Warner Bros. could essentially create a whole universe of stories spinning out of The Sandman that could theoretically run year-round, like Star Trek does on Paramount+ or the MCU and Star Wars do for Disney+. The fantasy genre itself has been booming on television, with Amazon Prime set to debut Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and HBO Max a new Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon, The Sandman Universe might be Netflix’s best attempt at creating the next great fantasy franchise and here are seven titles they should consider.

The Sandman introduces Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman), an original character for the series that is a gender-swapped version of John Constantine, even down to having the character’s exact backstory with a girl named Astra. Given the character Constantine is one of the most popular characters in the DC Universe and held their own long-running series Hellblazer, the series’ creators would have plenty of material to draw from for a spin-off series focused on Johanna.

Related: How 2022 Might Become the Biggest Year Yet For the Fantasy Genre

However, the only issue is that HBO Max is developing its own Constantine series. Originally Warner Bros. held very strict rules about more than one incarnation of a popular character, as noted by Arrow killing off Deadshot shortly after the announcement of Suicide Squad in 2006 or how Justice League Unlimited was not allowed to use any Batman villains due to The Batman on Kids WB (which itself was restricted from using Ra’s Al Ghul, Scarecrow, and Two-Face due to plans for Batman Begins). Now Warner Bros. has sort of been more open to different incarnations, but one has to wonder that two competing Constantine shows on two rival streaming platforms would not be something they would allow. If they were to, however, there are plenty of Constantine stories to tell and Johanna could forge her own path.

This is a tricky one, as DC has already adapted Lucifer as a television series. The 2016 Fox series which moved to Netflix starring Tom Ellis was a loose adaptation of the Lucifer comic created by Mike Carey that ran from 2000 to 2006. That TV show began within the parameters of a television procedural, but as the series went on it brought in more elements from the comic along with its own spin.