Neil Gaiman criticises ‘The Sandman’ casting controversy
(Credit: Stanislav Lvovsky)

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Neil Gaiman criticises 'The Sandman' casting controversy

A hotly-anticipated television series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s DC comic book series The Sandman was released by Netflix in August. The programme, developed by Gaiman alongside David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg, has been praised by critics, particularly for Tom Sturridge and David Thewlis’ performances. 

The show tells the story of Morpheus/Dream, the personification of dreams, who is captured in an occult ritual and held captive for 106 years. He must set out to restore order in his realm, the Dreaming. The Sandman also stars Gwendoline Christie, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Jenna Coleman and Patton Oswalt. 

When the cast was announced last year, some fans of the comic series took issue with Mason Alexander Park and Howell-Baptiste’s casting, claiming that the choices made were in an effort to appear “woke.” At the time, Gaiman responded with a Tweet: “I give all the f*cks about the work. I spent 30 years successfully battling bad movies of Sandman. I give zero fucks about people who don’t understand/haven’t read Sandman whining about a non-binary Desire or that Death isn’t white enough. Watch the show, make up your minds.”

However, in a new interview, Gaiman addressed the situation again. He said, “The truth is nothing much has been very controversial. So the people that were getting all upset that this, when you talked to them, they weren’t Sandman fans. Occasionally, you get people shouting at us for having made up all of these gay characters who weren’t in the comics, and then we’d go, ‘Have you read the comics?’ And they’d go ‘No.’ And we’d go, ‘They were gay in the comics.’ And they’d go, ‘You’re just woke, and nobody is going to watch your horrible show.’ And then we went Number 1 in the world for four weeks. And they went, ‘It’s all bots! We hate you. You’re woke.'”

He added, “It’s a weird silliness. These complainers don’t like gay people, they don’t like Black people, and they don’t like women. And if you look at their profiles, they don’t like vaccines, they don’t like Democrats, and they’re not big on voting.” 

Gaiman also discussed why Tom Ellis, who plays Lucifer in the show of the same name, based on a character from The Sandman, is not reprising the role in the new show. “He’s a lovable rogue. He wouldn’t work in Sandman because we have to get someone that makes people scared.”