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SYFY WIRE Supernatural

'Supernatural' creator Eric Kripke on how a failed 'Sandman' adaptation inspired the Winchesters

Eric Kripke's Supernatural owes a lot to Neil Gaiman's tale of the King of Dreams.

By Matthew Jackson
Supernatural - Sam and Dean

For 15 seasons and more than 300 episodes, Supernatural told the story of two brothers hunting monsters, confronting angels, and just trying to live with themselves and each other. For fans of the series, it remains a towering, imaginative work in the 21st century TV landscape, and according to its creator, it owes quite a bit to another towering piece of genre pop culture. 

In the years before The Sandman made its way to Netflix as an ambition live-action adaptation of writer Neil Gaiman's epic dark fantasy saga, numerous writers and filmmakers tried their hand at bringing the property to the screen in many different incarnations. Eric Kripke, who created Supernatural and now shepherds the superhero satire The Boys, was one of them. Recently, a fan reached out to Gaiman on Twitter and asked about Kripke's take on Sandman, which Gaiman noted was always doomed to be hampered by the restrictions of network television. 

Kripke responded with his own thoughts on Gaiman's assessment, and in the process confirmed that if you saw a lot of the Sandman comics flavoring is show, it wasn't an accident. 

There are certainly no shortage of stories out there about failed Sandman adaptations, including one that Gaiman set out to deliberately torpedo on his own rather than see it brought to the screen, but it sounds like in Kripke's case, there just wasn't a way to make it happen within the confines of a network. Still, it's very interesting to reflect on Supernatural in the context of The Sandman. The series begins as a very straightforward odyssey of two brothers who go out into the night in their trusty Impala to hunt creatures, and eventually grows to encompass an epic saga of angels, gods, lost souls, and much more. In other words, Kripke wore that Sandman influence on his sleeve.

The Sandman Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix, and the Supernatural spinoff The Winchesters airs this fall on The CW.

Looking for more supernatural thrills and chills? Check out SYFY's original SurrealEstate. The first season is streaming now on the SYFY app, and Season 2 is coming soon.