An up-to-date guide to everything known about Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman coming to Netflix in 2022.
The Sandman, based on the DC comic book, is one of Netflix’s most anticipated shows in 2022. Here’s a rundown of everything we know so far about the streaming service’s upcoming show.
For decades, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman was considered unfilmable.
Naturally, there have been numerous attempts to adapt it to both the big and small screens – yet Gaiman repeatedly quashed them down, waiting for the ideal moment. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gaiman collaborated on a film adaptation in 2014 that was eventually canceled because of creative differences. nHowever, when Netflix indicated interest in faithfully serializing The Sandman comics with a huge budget and the promise of a great cast, it’s difficult to say no.
In July 2019, the streamer released a press release stating that they were brave enough to produce a live-action adaptation of the Sandman graphic novels. In fact, making it would also break DC Entertainment’s previous record for the most expensive TV series. The dream team was put together with showrunner Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman), producers David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) and Neil Gaiman.
What is The Sandman on Netflix and why should you be excited?
The Sandman is a sweeping fantasy that transcends space and time, taking us to mythical places and strange realms. It’s jam-packed with renowned people, both legendary and historical, who you may recognize. For example, William Shakespeare, Thor, Orpheus, and many other individuals appear. Then there are DC canon characters like Martian Manhunter and John Constantine to be expected as well owing to its position in the DC Universe. It also includes some lesser-known DC personalities such As Element Girl and Hector Hall.
The 10-volume comic book, also known as Dream of the Endless, Morpheus, Kai’ckul, Sandman, and numerous other names, follows its titular character. His name — and appearance — varies depending on who is viewing him. We follow him on his mission as the Ruler of Dreams while witnessing him fulfill his responsibilities.
In September, Netflix hosted a TUDUM press conference during which we saw the show in action for the first time (after a Geeked Week behind-the-scenes premiere in June 2021). The teaser is just a minute long, but it includes the beginning of the entire saga: Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance) and his fellow occultists from the Order of Ancient Mysterious performing a ceremony to capture and cage Death. However, things go wrong when Dream (Tom Sturridge) is taken instead of his sister as a result of this ritual, which starts the series.
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How many episodes will be in The Sandman? What comics will Netflix’s The Sandman cover?
Season 1 of The Sandman will consist of 11, hour-long episodes.
The entire graphic novel series, starting with “Preludes and Nocturnes” and continuing to “The Doll’s House,” as well as the first half of volume three, “Dream Country,” has been adapted for television. The goal, of course, is to adapt all of the graphic novels without the program being canceled midway through — something Netflix has a history of doing. Take the recent cancellation of Cowboy Bebop, for example. That said, Gaiman previously stated that there are several safety nets in place to ensure this does not happen.
The official series synopsis from Netflix reads: “A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven, 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.”
Don’t worry if you were concerned about The Sandman sticking to the source material. If the preview is any indication, it will adhere closely to the plot of the original book. Netflix has also put up a side-by-side comparison, just to allay your concerns.
Dream does not have stars in place of his eyes, one of his most significant characteristics in the comics. The reason for this is that the stars don’t convey Dream’s emotions as effectively as normal eyes do.
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Who are The Endless in The Sandman and which actors play them?
Dream is one of a group of seven cosmic beings known as the Endless. They’re personifications of elements and ideas fundamental for life that are anthropomorphized. Dream’s six siblings are Death, Desire, Destiny, Despair, Delirium, and Destruction. As expected, Netflix isn’t skimping on the budget with this adaptation. First and foremost, let’s take a look at the seven Endless and their characters to get an idea who they are and who is playing them. Keep in mind that certain characters have not yet been casted.
Dream, played by Tom Sturridge: The protagonist of the series. Dream is a dark and gloomy ruler of his realm, The Dreaming, where everyone goes when they fall asleep. Dream may be recognized by his pale skin and three totems of power: a ruby, a pouch of sand, and his helm forged from the bones of a dead God, as is typical among his siblings.
Kirby Howell-Baptiste plays Death, Dream’s older, wiser sister: Perhaps the series’ most prominent character is Death, who is Dream’s amusing and energetic goth sister. Her personality is the perfect counterpoint to her brother’s. She has always worn an Ankh with an Eye of Horus under her eye, no matter what form she takes throughout the series.
Desire, played by Mason Alexander Park: Desire is everything you want in a character. They are neither male nor female, and their domain is the Threshold; a literal statue of itself. Desire has a scent of summer peaches, is generally clothed in white, and has a broken glass heart sigil.
Desire’s twin sister Despair, played by Donna Preston: a sorry sight is a naked, overweight, pallid woman who is frequently bleeding as a result of the hooked ring she uses to mutilate herself. If there’s one member of the Endless you want to avoid meeting, it’s her.
Delirium, not yet cast: In the world of The Outsider, Delirium is a brilliant and happy young girl who, while living somewhat removed from reality, is rich with color and energy. She has a robust temperament, but she is usually pleasant and enthused. What she says seldom makes sense or refers to the topic of conversation. Delirium was formerly known as Delight before changing over time with no explanation. Throughout the series, this has remained an enigma.
Destiny, not yet cast: Destiny is a man who possesses complete knowledge of everything that has transpired and will occur. He lives in the heart of an impenetrable hedge maze, where all routes lead to him. Although he is blind, he holds an enormous tome – the Book of Souls – linked to his body with shackles. Everything that happens in history is recorded in the book. Destiny’s book, on the other hand, has missed certain things that have occurred; however, this is a story for another day.
Destruction, not yet cast: He who is Destruction causes, well, destruction and change. However, after realizing he is not required for man to fulfill his role, only the Endless’ last member destroyed his position. Rather than wielding his sword, Destruction lives out his days in peace and tranquility, creating works of art that do not require it. It’s doubtful we’ll see him on Netflix because he doesn’t make an appearance in the comics until volume 7, “Brief Lives.”
Now let’s take a look at some of the other castings and have a character breakdown for each member:
Lucifer, played by Gwendoline Christie: Christ Christie is best known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. Yes, the same character has been played by Tom Ellis in the Lucifer TV series. The Sandman, on the other hand, takes place in its own continuity, therefore it’s Christie instead. Lucifer is a major figure in the first volume “Preludes and Nocturnes,” and he appears from time to time throughout the series.
Roderick Burgess, played by Charles Dance: The Order of Ancient Mysteries, led by Edward Burgess, is the main adversary of the story. He’s the one who starts the saga with his failed attempt to capture and incarcerate death. Dance appears to perfectly portray him in the teaser.
Lucienne, played by Vivienne Acheampong: Lucien has transformed into Lucienne, with a significant alteration from the source material. In the comics, Lucien is the resident pointy-eared librarian of The Dreaming. He maintains records of every book that has ever been conceived, even if it hasn’t been written down.
Cain (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and Abel (Asim Chaudhry): Cain is the first hunter, and Abel is the first victim. Yes, they’re identical to the biblical figures. Cain dwells in The House of Mystery, but Abel resides in The House of Secrets. The pair serve as a comic relief as Cain continuously kills Abel in horrific ways, but he never stays dead. While Cain is vicious and cruel, Abel is friendly and delicate. It’s rather harsh in the comics; I can only image how it will appear on screen.
The Corinthian, played by Boyd Holbrook: As a result, we have the Corinthian nightmare. The Corinthian is precisely that. Dream designed the Corinthian, which is as vicious as they come. In one issue of “Collectors,” for example, he establishes his own serial murderer convention. Of course, you can’t discuss him without bringing up his most distinctive feature: sets of teeth in place of eye sockets instead of eye sockets.
Jenna Coleman plays Johanna Constantine in the Netflix series Sandman, rather than DC occultist John Constantine. In the comics, Johanna is an ancestor of John, but the show appears to have given her a backstory based on John. Dream asks for Johanna’s help in finding his sand pouch.
Matthew the Raven, voiced by Patton Oswalt: Another character Neil Gaiman took from the wider DC universe and developed in his comics is Matthew, who was previously known as Matt Cable in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing comics. Dream’s devoted messenger is Matthew.
John Dee, played by David Thewlis: Volume 1 begins with the evil scientist Dr. Dee, better known as Doctor Destiny. He works to terrify the globe after getting hold of the Dreamstone while Morpheus was imprisoned. One of DC’s most disturbing comics is issue #6, in which he uses the ruby to take control of a diner group using his powers on women. This same tale will be continued in episode 5 of the TV series. You’ve been forewarned; this is true.
Lyta Hall, played by Razane Jammal: Lyta Hall is the daughter of Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, one of the lesser-known DC characters. When her kid, Daniel, was created within the Dreaming, Lyta became a part of the narrative.
Ethel Cripps, played by Joley Richardson (Old) and Niamh Walsh (Young), is the mother of John Dee. She was a member of the Order of Ancient Mysteries and formerly dated Roderick Burgess.
Rose Walker, played by Kyo Ra: Rose is a Vortex, which has been passed down through her family. Rose goes to England in “The Doll’s House” to meet her grandmother Unity.
Unity Kinkaid, played by Sandra James Young: When Dream was captured by Roderick Burgess, it caused a worldwide “sleepy sickness” pandemic. One of those who fell ill from this disease was Unity Kinkaid. Whilst she was in a unwakable sleep, she was raped by Desire. Fast forward decades and Rose Walker is her granddaughter.
Gilbert, played by Stephen Fry: Fiddler’s Green is not a person, but simply a location called Gilbert. It is a component of the Dreaming. Fiddler’s Green escaped his realm and became a wise man named Gilbert when Dream was imprisoned.
What does the cast have to say about The Sandman?
In bringing these characters to life, the cast has a significant duty and they are well aware of it. Almost everyone in the cast is playing a character that has never been done before on screen. The actors may now speak about their experiences and begin to build up the buzz as filming comes to an end. For example, during Netflix’s TUDUM event, two stars – Tom Sturridge (Dream) and Kirby Howell-Baptise (Death) – took a moment to offer their thoughts on the show while appearing onstage together.
For the first time, Howell-Baptiste addressed how much Death is adored by so many people. Death is a well-liked character among geeks all around the world, and he’s one of the most frequently cosplayed characters ever.
Apart from all of that, in graphic novels, Death is everyone’s favorite super cool goth. And as we learned from Audible’s adaptation of The Sandman, Kat Dennings brings a fantastic performance as Death with an American accent. However, British actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste has informed Collider that she will retain her native accent in the Netflix version. “I don’t know if the cosmic entity known as Death is confined to any particular spot on this planet,” she added. “Death is a Brit in this version because I am British; therefore, yes, death is a Brit in this case.”
As expected, Tom Sturridge shared similar thoughts about playing the titular character. “When I found out I’d been asked to play Dream, I was terrified of a moment like this because I know how important he is to you, simply because of how important he is to me,” he said.
Behind the Scenes of Netflix’s The Sandman
Sandman is lucky to have one of the best set designers in show business in Jon Gary Steele. This is the same guy who built the gorgeous, vast sets for Outlander and many other shows. There’s no better person to hire than when you’re bringing the Dreaming to life. You may also view some of his amazing work in Netflix’s previously released behind-the-scenes preview. In Gaiman’s words: “Holy Sh*t.”
Let’s have a look at some of the highlights from the behind-the-scenes preview, beginning with Gaiman’s amazement at the Undercroft. Next, witness a peek at The Corinthian’s “Cereal Convention,” which is really a convention for serial killers put together by The Corinthian.
Four distinct set designs are used in these stills. One of them, clearly, depicts John Dee taking control of several innocent people at a diner. Another appears to show Dream visiting Lucifer.
Finally, here’s a closer look at Dream’s three totems of power — his helm, his ruby, and a pouch of sand — in live-action.
Will The Sandman crossover with Netflix’s Locke & Key?
Naturally, because Netflix is producing Sandman and Locke & Key, some fans are demanding a crossover event. Fans have been calling for it specifically since the comics have previously crossed over with Locke & Key: Hell and Gone. However, if you were wondering whether such an occurrence was even feasible, Joe Hill’s answer has put your mind at ease.
“I’ve seen a few articles now teasing the possibility of a Locke & Key/Sandman crossover on Netflix & thought I’d jump in for a clickbait check. Nope!” Hill wrote on his Twitter page. “Like most Sandman hardcores I’m looking forward to a big, sweeping, faithful adaptation of Neil’s stories. Can’t wait.”
Does Netflix’s The Sandman have a release date?
In October 2020, The Sandman will begin filming. Of course, the epidemic caused significant delays, pushing it back a few months. Principal photography has now concluded and the team is currently working on post-production. We don’t have a release date yet, but Netflix has included the series in their lineup for 2022. It’s likely to be released in April or May 2022 since the first season only covers around two volumes of the story.
Indeed, a successful adaptation of the comics has already occurred. We can’t speak about The Sandman without mentioning Audible’s incredible, New York Times best-selling audio drama, which was directed by Dirk Maggs and narrated by Neil Gaiman. The audiobook features an all-star cast that includes James McAvoy (Dream), Kat Dennings (Death), Riz Ahmed (The Corinthian), and Andy Serkis (Matthew) among its members. Let’s hope Netflix’s version is able to match or exceed the success of the original. One thing is certain: the program currently finds itself in a favorable position for success.
That’s all we have on Netflix’s The Sandman for now. Let us know whether you’re excited about the forthcoming adaptation in the comments.