Fans of Neil Gaiman's epic graphic novel series The Sandman have waited for ages to see the story come to life on screen. Gaiman has been notoriously cautious about Sandman adaptations and it was only with his support and blessing that the series moved forward at Netflix.
The Sandman premieres on the streaming platform on August 5 in the US and the UK and it could be one of the biggest shows in Netflix history.
In order for the series to come to life, casting needed to be spot on. Gaiman praised casting for the series and is fiercely supportive of the team that's bringing his most popular body of work to life.
Take a look at the trailer below and then let's meet the cast of the new Netflix series The Sandman.
Tom Sturridge as Dream (aka Morpheus)
Tom Sturridge plays Dream, also known as Morpheus, a member of the seven Endless and ruler of the Dreaming. He’s the embodiment of the actual Sandman, responsible for everyone’s dreams. Dream is captured through a ritual and is held captive for over a century. When he finally breaks free he finds his kingdom in chaos and he must find a way to restore his reign while also working to get his powers back.
Sturridge told Den of Geek that it was "daunting" to step into such a beloved role. But as a fan of Gaiman's work, "the Dreaming is Middle Earth, Narnia, our favorite parts of Hogwarts — everything that I've cared about in fantasy in literature rolled into one."
Sturridge might be best known for his role as Carl from Pirate Radio. His most recent role was as Eamonn in Irma Vep and before that he played Jake in Sweetbitter.
Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar
Gwendoline Christie is no stranger to blockbuster franchises. She’s probably best known for her role as the stately but fierce Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones and she’s also well known in the Star Wars universe as Captain Phasma. In addition to playing Lucifer Morningstar in the Sandman, she will also star in Tim Burton’s Wednesday series for Netflix.
Lucifer Morningstar is the devil, known for their unapologetically devilish ways. Gaiman’s character gained notoriety in the wildly popular Netflix series Lucifer, where the titular devil was portrayed by Tom Ellis. Ellis’ Lucifer was a departure from his comic book counterpart, though, which is why the decision was made to bring in Christie as Lucifer so that the two versions of the characters can stand apart from each other.
Christie told Den of Geek that she was excited to play such an evil character coming off of her role as heroic Brienne of Tarth. "Lucifer is a lifetime of disappointment and distilled rage. [Lucifer] isn't interested in doing the right thing, only in satisfying their immediate needs, no matter how petty."
Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death
Gaiman describes Death as "Dream’s wiser, nicer and much more sensible sister." She’s also considered to be the most powerful of all the members of the Endless even though Dream always gets top billing. She’s kind, but she knows she has a job to do so she focuses on doing it.
In Gaiman’s world, Death is there to give every living creature the breath of life upon birth and she’s there when they shuffle off the mortal coil as well. Death is viewed as a mother figure for the Endless, offering advice to Dream and trying to keep twins Despair and Desire out of trouble.
The search to find the perfect Death was a tough one, but Gaiman says that as soon as they saw Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s audition, "[they] knew [they] had [their] Death." Howell-Baptiste has appeared in a number of roles; she starred as Simone Garnett in The Good Place and as Taylor Harding in Why Women Kill. She also provides the voice for the hit Netflix animated series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. Her most memorable role, though, might be as Elena in Killing Eve.
Mason Alexander Park as Desire
Mason Alexander Park captured the attention of The Sandman casting team and suddenly there was no one else who could bring Desire to life. "We were thrilled when they got the part," Gaiman said. Park is known for playing Hedwig during Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s first Broadway national tour. They also starred as Gren in the Netflix live-action version of Cowboy Bebop.
Desire is known for their meddling ways, which can border on cruel. It makes sense for a creature that embodies desire itself; there’s a reason that "fleeting desire" is an expression because desire can be exactly that: fleeting. A person’s desires can turn on a dime and so too can Park’s character.
Park talked with Den of Geek about Desire’s true nature. "It’s kind of amazing that there’s both good and, I don’t want to say evil because Desire is in no way evil, but malicious intent. Desire’s always up to something, so you get to play with both sides."
Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian
Boyd Holbrook told Den of Geek he’s become an even bigger Neil Gaiman fan as he’s prepared for the role of the Corinthian, but there was one thing that worried him. "I was a little concerned about the glasses he wears," he said. "Acting is in the eyes, man."
Holbrook might be best known for his role in Narcos, but he’s also appeared in Behind the Candelabra, Gone Girl and Logan. He’ll also appear in the upcoming Indiana Jones 5.
As roles go, the Corinthian is the embodiment of a nightmare, with vacuous white eyes hidden behind the aforementioned glasses. Dream created the Corinthian with a purpose in mind, but when Dream goes missing, that purpose is gone.
"I think he’s a mischievous rascal, who loves sucking everything out of life that he can in terms of stimulation," Holbrook said. "He literally was a captive prisoner who’s now out in society and able to run amok because there are no consequences for him."
Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine
Gaiman said Johanna Constantine was created to fill the role of John Constantine in the past. She’s an occult adventurist based in the 18th century and she’s John Constantine’s great-grandmother several times over, but showrunners wondered what she’d be like in the present as well.
"Jenna Coleman," Gaiman said, "gave us the Johanna of our dreams — tough, brilliant, tricky, haunted and probably doomed."
Those are big shoes to fill, but if anyone can step up to the challenge it’s Doctor Who alum Coleman. As Clara, Coleman explored the galaxy opposite Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s iterations of the famed Time Lord. She’s also starred in The Serpent and Victoria.
Not only does Coleman get to play a new version of John Constantine, she gets to play the modern-day version of her character as well. She told Den of Geek that it was "so fun" and that "she absolutely has a kind of cruelty to her. [She’s] a lot more villainous for sure."
Meet the rest of The Sandman cast
- Vivienne Acheampong (The One) as Lucienne
- Patton Oswalt (The Goldbergs, Mystery Science Theater 3000) as Matthew the Raven
- David Thewlis (Harry Potter, Wonder Woman) as John Dee
- Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) as Roderick Burgess
- Donna Preston (Apocalypse Wow) as Despair
- Razane Jammal (Paranormal, Doubt) as Lyta Hall
- Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck, The Tudors) as Ethel Cripps
- Niamh Walsh (Good Omens) as Young Ethel Cripps
- Kyo Ra as Rose Walker
- Stephen Fry (Gosford Park) as Gilbert
- Sandra James Young (EastEnders) as Unity Kinkaid
- Sanjeev Bhaskar (Yesterday) as Cain
- Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing) as Abel
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Sarabeth joined the What to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long. She's also a huge baseball fan, and hockey is a new favorite.
When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts the My Nights Are Booked Podcast and a blog dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She also published her first novel, Once Upon an Interview, in 2022.