His works have graced our shelves for over 30 years, always promising a grand adventure in a bizarre, yet sweeping fantasy world. English author #NeilGaiman has received critical acclaim in the three decades he's committed to his writing career. Hollywood has paid a lot of interest to his large fan base, adapting much of his work into equally successful films and TV series, including the new Starz hit #AmericanGods.
While some of his novels have successfully transitioned to the big screen, there are still a number of projects in Gaiman's bibliography that have yet to grace audiences with a film or TV adaptation. Let's take a look at the Gaiman works that need to be adapted for either the big or small screen:
- Release Years: 1989-1996
- Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
- Issues: 75
Easily Gaiman's most noted and acclaimed work of his career, The Sandman universe is often cited as one of the major works to bring the graphic novel into the spotlight and help it thrive. The story of Dream, one of the seven Endless (beings more powerful than gods), and his journey to reclaim his world and what was lost after he was held captive for 70 years has been one of Gaiman's biggest successes in his career, landing on The New York Times' Best Seller List — one of the first graphic novels to do so.
A Sandman adaptation has actually been in the works for over 20 years, hitting many stalls along the way, primarily with the script-writing process. While a lot of effort was made in the late '90s from Warner Bros. to put the character onto the big screen, the studio and the people involved couldn't agree on the scripts, with many being fired over creative differences and going on to other projects. One such script received so much scorn from fans and Gaiman alike that the project officially landed in developmental hell.
The graphic novel series nearly made it to the production stage for the big screen last year, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring and producing alongside David S. Goyer and Gaiman himself. But after creative differences with New Line Cinema behind the film instead of Warner Bros., Gordon-Levitt dropped out and the adaptation was once again stalled.
The graphic novel is certainly a challenging story to bring to life, as not only are many of the events very surreal and the worlds intricately detailed, but the motivations of the characters are so complicated and extensive that it would take a strong script to do them any justice. But after the recent success Fox has had with spinning off Lucifer Morningstar from the universe into his own series #Lucifer, hope in Warner Bros.' ability to bring Dream to life in a faithful and entertaining way is not completely lost.
'The Graveyard Book'
- Release Year: 2008
- Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Children's Novel
- Books: 1
Not only is The Graveyard Book one of Gaiman's most acclaimed projects and award-winning novels, but it also earned him the title of the first author to ever win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals for the same work.
The children's fantasy novel follows a young boy named Nobody "Bod" Owens as he struggles to adjust to a normal life among the supernatural occupants of a graveyard after his family is brutally murdered. It took over 20 years for Gaiman to put this story together, drawing much inspiration from classic adventure novel The Jungle Book.
Similar to The Sandman, an adaptation for this novel has also been stuck in developmental hell for almost ten years now. Despite three separate attempts, nothing has come to fruition quite yet. The most recent progress in developing the story was Disney hiring Henry Selick (#TheNightmareBeforeChristmas, Coraline) to direct a stop-motion film in 2012; but after failing to properly line up their schedules and creative ideas, Disney and Selick parted ways. Director Ron Howard showed interest in the project and attached himself as director four months after Selick's departure, but there are still no current plans to officially begin production.
The Graveyard Book featured such a unique and entertaining twist on the classic Jungle Book story and formula that it would be a crime not to adapt this story to the big screen. The gothic fantasy feel the novel held — very similar to Gaiman's other notable children's story Coraline — is such a fresh tone amongst the children's genre that it would be a step away from the mainstream and, if adapted properly, could be one of the best Gaiman adaptations yet.
'The Ocean At The End Of The Lane'
- Release Year: 2013
- Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
- Books: 1
His most recent standalone novel is only four years old, but Gaiman's latest mystery novel is still fresh in the minds of all Gaiman readers and fans alike. The Ocean at the End of the Lane follows an unnamed narrator who returns to his hometown for a funeral and revisits a childhood friend's home, remembering events from his youth he had previously forgotten. The fantasy thriller was yet another hit for Gaiman, earning very positive reviews from critics. It even landed on The New York Times' Best Sellers List at #1, winning the 2014 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
Despite an announcement that a film of the book was in development before the novel had even been released, there has been no news in the years since, hinting at potential death for the movie. However, this novel is rife with potential for a major cinematic adaptation, with a story that may feel familiar in the formula of children versus dark magic, but features unique themes and a brilliant twist ending that might leave audiences in tears at its heartbreaking nature.
The 'InterWorld' Novels
- Release Years: 2007, 2013 and 2015
- Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
- Books: 3
With the recent surge of young adult novels that feature young men and women discovering they are capable of extraordinary things, Gaiman decided to dip his toes into the genre with co-writer Michael Reaves, and the end result was sci-fi series InterWorld. The story follows young Joey Harker, who discovers that he has the ability to walk between the trillions of alternate earths that exist, battling against the evil that threatens to tip the balance of powers of magic and science among the various earths.
Interestingly, this franchise was initially pitched as an animated series from DreamWorks in the mid '90s, but after years of production on the series stalled, InterWorld was finally converted to a novel and released in 2007. Though there have been interested parties in bringing the fantasy series to life, it wasn't until last June that a TV series adaptation would once again enter development through Universal Cable Productions, with Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller set to oversee the project.
While the grandiose settings and set pieces would be a modern movie studio's dream to adapt for the big screen, this franchise could work better as an animated series. Breaking down the trilogy of novels into a series of animated episodes could not only help to expand the story and characters in the best possible way, but could also give animators a chance to delve into every visual detail described in the novel and bring it to life in a beautiful manner.
What would you like to see of Gaiman's adapted for the big or small screens? What's your favorite adaptation so far? Let us know in the comments below!