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Everything we need to know about Netflix’s 'The Sandman'

“Rules and responsibilities: these are the ties that bind us. We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. I will do what I have to do. And I will do what I must.”― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Book of Dreams

Neil Gaiman has been widely revered for creating The Sandman comic series, which was one of the very few comic book titles to feature as a New York Times bestseller. Along with artists Mike Dringenberg and Sam Kieth, Gaiman has published over 75 issues, from the first one appearing in January 1989, concluding in March 1996. Netflix made Gaiman fans ecstatic when they announced the adaptation of this author’s seminal series.

After the author’s work repeatedly failed to make it to cinema screens, it is highly intriguing to see what the streaming platform has to offer and how they shall bring Gaiman’s extraordinary talent to the fore. He’s gifted in creating anthropomorphic creations out of metaphysical elements embedded in mythology and spirituality, so it should be a wild ride. 

The titular Sandman, also known as Dream, is one of the seven Endless siblings. Also known as Morpheus, besides amassing billions of years of age and various other names, Dream is the personification of dreams itself and resides in “The Dreaming” realm. He loves having control and struggles with the changing times, something which is portrayed throughout the series. He is held captive by a sinister occult ritual for 70 years, during which chaos and mayhem overtake his well-guarded realm, forcing Morpheus to swear vengeance upon those who wronged him. In captivity, he goes into a state of introspection, reflecting upon his past sins, vowing to undo them despite various setbacks. 

Brimming with vulnerability, sins, madness and engrossing plotlines, the series has a lot to live up to. With Netflix and Gaiman teasing the fans with numerous cryptic tweets, we decided to compile everything e know about the upcoming series here to help fans wade through the information. With the help of the folks at What’s On Netflix and Nerdist, we have listed below everything that we know so far about the highly anticipated show, Netflix’s The Sandman

Everything we need to know about Netflix’s The Sandman

When is the first season of The Sandman coming to Netflix?

Neil Gaiman, in an exclusive interview with Digital Spy, revealed the possible release date for the series. He said that they were targeting to release the series in 2021 itself. Due to various shoot halts due to the pandemic, we can only hope for a late 2021 release. 

How is production going?

The cast and crew were set to film in May 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic halted production, pushing it back by an unprecedented amount of time. Gaiman had originally said that they “were meant to start shooting at the end of May”, but the pandemic had caused everything to “pause”. In April 2020, he said that “the scripts for the first season are written, casting had started, directors hired, sets were being built. Everything was ready to go into production, and then we moved into a pause.” 

Gaiman further added, “As soon as the world is ready to make TV drama, The Sandman will move smoothly back into being made. In the meantime, we are taking the opportunity to get the scripts as good as we can.” However, according to a September tweet, and later, a confirmation tweet, the crew began filming on October 19th, 2020. 

How many episodes will there be?

The first season of The Sandman shall have 11 exciting episodes. As Neil Gaiman’s tweet mentioned, “The first season will be eleven episodes. That’s the start of it all. Preludes and Nocturnes and a little bit more”. 

What can be expected from The Sandman?

Netflix had made an ominous announcement stating how there shall be ten episodes (plus one). Gaiman clarified that the series’ first season would cover events from the first volume of the comic series and certain parts of volume 2, The Doll’s House. Since the second volume of the comic series starts with another vital narrative, one can only hope for the following seasons to deal with it. Gaiman has also promised not to steer away too much from the comic narrative, hoping to stay faithful to the original comics, despite being staged in the present, nearly three decades after the events in the original comics took place.

“The Netflix version is going to begin in 2021, so Morpheus will have been kept prisoner in the Netflix version for 105 years rather than 70 years,” said Gaiman to  Digital Spy. “We’ll take that one, see what that does. It’s already in the scripts, it does interesting things because… if we were creating this character now, what gender would the character be?” he added, “If we were creating the character now, who would they be? What would they be doing? And going on from there.”

Who is starring in this series?

The series has an elaborate and talented ensemble cast who have already set the bar quite high, and we expect nothing but stellar performances from them in their respective roles. Tom Sturridge shall be playing the titular role of the Sandman, aka the Lord of Dreams who watches over the realm of Dreaming. He has been described as an “honourable, principled being”, “an arrogant god”,  “a bit obsessive about his duties”, and “ruthless when displeased”. His “obsessiveness can leave him out of touch with humanity”.

Boyd Holbrook shall play the “supernaturally handsome” The Corinthian who allegedly shall embody “ humanity’s darkest, most sadistic, homicidal impulses when they are not bound by compassion, empathy, and love”. Charles Dance shall be seen as the “fraud”, “energetic, intensely charismatic”, “narcissist” “self-proclaimed sorcerer & prophet” Roderick Burgess who is extremely dismissive and cruel to his youngest son Alex. 

In a much-coveted role, Gwendoline Christie, who stole hearts with her role as the Brian of Tarth in Game of Thrones, shall appear as Lucifer; however, her position remains undecided with respect to Death or Desire. Vivienne Acheampong shall be playing the role of Dream’s librarian, Lucien while Sanjeev Bhaskar shall be seen as Cain, Dream’s neighbour with an obsessive desire to murder his brother Abel, played by Asim Chaudhry, who sincerely hopes to have a good relationship with his brother someday, despite the former’s repeated attempts at murdering him. 

Some other cast members include: 

  • Nina Wadia as Fate Mother 
  • Steven brand as Marsh Janowski 
  • Emma Duncan as Bette Monroe 
  • Stacey Abalogun as Nurse Edmund 
  • Razane Jammal as Lyta Hall
  • Joely Richardson as Ethel Cripps
  • Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine (unknown whether it shall be a gender-reversed role)
  • Niamh Walsh as Young Ethel Cripps
  • David Thewlis as John Dee
  • Kyo Ra as Rose Walker
  • Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death
  • Mason Alexander Park as Desire
  • Donna Preston as Despair
  • Patton Oswalt as the voice of Matthew the Raven
  • Stephen Fry as Gilbert
  • Sandra James Young as Unity Kincaid

What does Neil Gaiman have to say about the series?

Allan Heinberg, known for his brilliant work in Grey’s Anatomy and Wonder Woman, shall serve as the showrunner, executive producer and writer, joined by Gaiman himself as well as David S. Goyer, known for his brilliance in The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Krypton etc. Gaiman has said that they are “making Sandman”, “not reinventing it” which would mean that the series would stay faithful to the original text in spirit and plotlines.

In another tweet, Gaiman mentioned, “I’m hoping we can make something on television that feels as personal and true as the best of the Sandman comics did. Just set thirty years later than Sandman the comic.”

What is the connection between Lucifer and The Sandman?

The TV show Lucifer has no surface connection with The Sandman except the recurring character of Lucifer, the Prince of Hell himself. While Tom Ellis has created quite the buzz by reprising the suave role of the humanised Devil — who is also the owner of a luxurious nightclub and the cheeky partner to a serious detective — fans were disappointed to know that he shall not be returning as the Devil on the Sandman. 

While some fans were convinced that the new show led to the cancellation of the much popular Lucifer, rumours were quickly shut down. When asked why Gaiman did not choose Ellis to reprise the role, he clarified by saying, “The theology and cosmogony of Lucifer is a long way from Sandman’s. It’s “inspired by” Sandman, but you can’t easily retrofit the Lucifer version to get back to Sandman if you see what I mean. It seemed easier and more fun to have the Sandman version of Lucifer be, well, much closer to the Sandman version of Lucifer”, as recorded by Screenrant.  

However, it is pertinent to note that the two characters, although embedded in the urban-fantasy genre, shall be vastly different, and Gwendoline Christie, who has managed to amass a massive fan following owing to her brilliant performance in Game of Thrones, will surely bring the much-required twist to the character. In a gender-bending role that shall most likely be unique and fascinating, fans cannot wait to see what she has to offer. Lucifer shall mostly likely have appearances in Preludes of Nocturnes, which will be a part of the first season. 

Will other DC characters have cameo roles?

Certain DC characters make notable appearances throughout the comic book series, including Batman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and more. However, it is doubtful for the Netflix series to include them in cameos if Warner Brother’s consents. However, characters such as Doctor Occult, Black Spider and Mister Miracle could make small cameos. 

Here is a short sneak peak into how the Netflix show is being developed:

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