‘The Sandman’: Everything We Know About The Netflix Series So Far
Neil Gaiman’s beloved comic book epic The Sandman is finally reaching screens after a long and frustrating journey from the page. Series fanatics have been excited ever since the series was announced in 2019, but quiet anticipation has turned into fevered excitement as the first cast announcements have finally been released.
Netflix is positioning the series with the hopes of catching the adult fantasy crowd that flocked to Game of Thrones, another complex and densely written series that nonetheless made the crossover to huge mainstream success. Much of the GOT audience never read the books, and the likelihood is that a large part of the audience for The Sandman will be going into the TV show without having read the comics as well.
If you want to get excited about the new series, to join in the anticipation for the series and cheer about the announced cast, then check out this quick “catch-up” on where the comic book series began and who the main players are. Then, we can break down which actors will be bringing those roles to life.
When The Sandman begins…
…the Lord of the Dreaming, known as Dream and Morpheus and hundreds of other names, lives in the realm of sleep. He lives a remote life in a vast estate, his only company the residents of the Dreaming and his employees: Lucien, the loyal head librarian of the library that contains every story ever dreamed; Cain and Abel, the ancient Biblical siblings; Merv Pumpkinhead, the handyman whose last name is apt; and Matthew, a raven with the soul of a recently deceased human.
Dream’s existence is shaken by a confrontation with a magician named Roderick Burgess that pulls Dream from his home and keeps him from his responsibilities in the realm of sleep. His absence affects the world in wondrous and frightening ways, and Dream grows weaker as his exile drags on.
A chance intervention frees Dream to return to his realm, but much has changed. He must rebuild his power and his kingdom, heading on a journey that takes him from the horned gates of hell to the streets of America seeking a killer named The Corinthian.
All the while, Dream struggles to reclaim his position in the Dreaming and his place in his eternal family alongside his siblings Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destiny, and Destruction, known collectively as The Endless…
And so the journey is ready to begin!
So who are the performers that will be inhabiting these iconic figures?
Let’s begin with the villains:
Actress and model Gwendoline Christie will appear as the androgynously beautiful and powerfully manipulative Lucifer. Though she has appeared in both The Hunger Games and Star Wars franchises, she is most well known to fans as Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones. It will be fascinating to watch Christie, whose performance in GOT was one of strength and nobility, play the opposite end of the spectrum as the brilliant and deceitful fallen angel.
An equally appealing surprise is Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian. Holbrook, whose career exploded when he starred on Netflix’s Narcos and recently popped up in franchise entries Logan and The Predator, will be portraying the nightmare made flesh. His wiry frame and energy are spot-on for this role that he can really sink his teeth into.
And finally, as the mysterious and untrustworthy Roderick Burgess, we head back to Game of Thrones and one of the more memorably monstrous supporting actors, Charles Dance. He was memorable in everything from The Last Action Hero to Alien 3 to Gosford Park, but never more than as Tywin Lannister, the deadliest dad in Casterly Rock.
Then there’s Cain and Abel, humanity’s first killer and victim. Comedian Asim Chaudhry, star and co-creator of People Just Do Nothing who popped up in the Black Mirror episode “Bandersnatch,” will be playing Abel. Sanjeev Bhaskar, actor, and writer on The Kumars who may be most well-known in the U.S. for his work on Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, will be playing Abel’s murderous brother.
As Dream’s personal librarian, the show’s creators decided to gender swap Lucien to Lucienne, and actress Vivienne Acheampong will be filling that role. She was a cast member on the sketch comedy series Famalam, and HBO Max subscribers got a chance to see her Robert Zemeckis’ remake of The Witches.
As for the pale, brooding Lord of the Dreaming himself? Tom Sturridge will be stepping into the robes of Dream. Sturridge, a third-generation British actor who has played everyone from Henry VI in The Hollow Crown to Lord Byron in Mary Shelley, has the necessary period chops to pull off the morose monologues of Morpheus.
There have been no announcements about casting for Matthew the raven or Merv Pumpkinhead, and honestly, these are the two likeliest comic characters to not make the leap to the screen. But what about Dream’s family, The Endless? They’re absolute necessities to tell the story, and Death herself pops up fairly early on in the comics, so her character will likely appear in the first season of the TV series.
The likely answer is that these roles will remain a secret for as long as possible. We predict some surprising and possibly very big-name cast members to pop up as the Endless, and Netflix will probably save some of that publicity power for the run-up to the first season’s release.
One thing is for certain, though: after literal decades of stops and starts trying to bring Neil Gaiman’s award-winning series to big screens and small, it is finally happening. This is no longer just a Dream…
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