Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is finally getting its due, decades later, beyond the printed confines of the sprawling comic book series, and it’s doing so in a dual way. In 2020, the epic dark fantasy landed on Audible (with James McAvoy as Morpheus, Lord of the Dreaming, Kat Dennings as Death, and Michael Sheen as Lucifer) with the first three graphic novels coming to life in The Sandman: Act I, and hopefully soon, Netflix’s live-action series will roll film. To that end, the streaming service has released the first casting announcements, and there’s a surprise or two on hand.
Tom Sturridge is picking up the role of Morpheus/Dream, but what really sticks out will probably be of more interest to Brienne of Tarth and Game of Thrones fans.
And the beguiling GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE is LUCIFER, Ruler of Hell.
More news from The Sandman soon. But for now, sweet dreams, my lovelies. (6/6) pic.twitter.com/0CNC5euPWe
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) January 28, 2021
Gwendoline Christie will take on the Lucifer role, so yep, we’ve got an actress picking up that challenge (and we will have dueling Lucifers for awhile, given that Sheen’s version of the character reappears in the final two graphic novels, which will be covered in the third Audible installment). Christie’s not the only Thrones actor on board, either. Charles Dance (who portrayed Tywin Lannister) will appears as blackmailer/magician Roderick Burgess, and the rest of the cast (so far) includes Boyd Holbrook, Asim Chaudhry, Vivienne Acheampong, and Sanjeev Bhaskar.
Along with Netflix’s announcement, Gaiman tweeted the news with a promise of much more to come: “Seven down, hundreds to go.”
There. A whole set of tweets written just before bed and set to go out when I'm fast asleep. I'm vaguely worried that I've mistimed them, but too late now. Here are the first seven members of the #Sandman cast to be announced officially. Seven down, hundreds to go. pic.twitter.com/DksGLyMkBf
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 28, 2021
Of course, I’m on the edge of my seat to hear who shall portray Death in the live-action series. When we spoke with Gaiman about the Audible series, he spoke highly of Kat Dennings while expressing that he was excited to see her move far beyond what he saw with 2 Broke Girls. “One of the things that I love about her performance as Death is that, with Kat, we get her cheerful side, her funny side, to land a gag,” Gaiman said at the time. “But we also get her deep, we get her angry, we get her very, very real… it’s funny but absolutely heartbreaking… It’s kind-of magical.”
After having listened to Kat as Death in the Audible version of this story, I’m putting it out there: She belongs in this live-action series, too. She’s got the spirit of the character down, and Dennings can definitely pull off the look as well.
Netflix describes the series as fans would expect, writing, “The Sandman follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he’s made during his vast existence.” And at around the same time, an Audible press release announced that The Sandman: Act II and The Sandman: Act III are coming. In the release, Gaiman declared, “It was thrilling to be a part of the fastest-selling Audible fiction title and to watch it break records. I’m excited to discover what other surprises the genius Dirk Maggs has up his sleeve in the next volumes of Audible’s The Sandman.” The comic-book legend added, “It’s like making movies for the ear that go straight to the brain. And soon it will be time to meet the whole family, then to go back to Hell once more, as Morpheus confronts Lucifer in Season of Mists.”