Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is so, so close to hitting Netflix and we’re so ready for the (literally) dreamy adaptation.
The highly-anticipated series, which comes after the success of Prime Video’s Good Omens adaptation, will feature a star-studded cast including Tom Sturridge (Dream), Jenna Coleman (Johanna Constantine), Gwendoline Christie (Lucifer), Charles Dance (Roderick Burgess), David Thewlis (John Dee), and Stephen Fry (Gilbert).
We’ve already been treated to an epic trailer, and we know that Neil oversaw the series incredibly closely – which will be a big relief to fans.
So, while we get over the final wait, here are some of our favourite things Neil has teased about The Sandman.
It’s faithful to the comics
It’s not often we get a super faithful book to screen adaptation, but it sounds like The Sandman has done what many couldn’t.
‘No one has wanted to change what I did,’ Neil teased at San Diego Comic Con.
Showrunner Allan Heinberg said he wanted to stay ‘as faithful to the book as possible,’ and that Netflix ‘has been incredibly supportive of that mission.’
The scene that made Neil cry
Now, we’re fully expecting to come out of this with shattered hearts and streaming eyes. But even Neil, who knows the story better than anyone else was reduced to tears during one scene.
The moment in question, which was released as a teaser before the full series, shows Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) visit an elderly violinist, telling him: ‘It’s time,’ and taking him by the hand,
Neil wrote on Twitter: ‘Small warning. I cried the first time I saw this scene in the finished episode. If you are wondering why I cast Kirby as Death, this is why.’
What made the actors so perfect
Speaking of which! Neil’s been open about the reasons he cast many of the spectacular actors who are set to bring The Sandman to life.
Neil certainly wasn’t here for any backlash over Kirby’s casting, who already seems to be the perfect Death.
‘Hundreds of talented women from all around the planet auditioned, and they were brilliant, and none of them were right,’ he tweeted.
‘Someone who could speak the truth to Dream, on the one hand, but also be the person you’d want to meet when your life was done on the other. And then we saw Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s (she/her) audition and we knew we had our Death.’
At SDCC, Neil said he saw around 1,000 auditions for Dream, and that casting director Lucinda Syson would have seen close to 6,000 – but it was Tom that was always top choice.
Neil explained: ‘Tom was there in the first email from Lucinda. She sent us four audition tapes and Tom’s was obviously the best and I figured that soon we’d have a dozen like him.
‘He was there and then we saw another 50 or 60 people and then we saw several hundred more people and it was still just Tom and by the end of the process, I think we’d seen about 1,000 auditions…and it was still Tom.’
Gwendoline stars as Lucifer in The Sandman.
Opening up about her casting, he raved on Twitter: ‘This is @lovegwendoline. She plays Lucifer in Sandman.
‘Her Lucifer is subtle, clever & the most dangerous adversary Morpheus encounters. In real life she’s the loveliest person imaginable. Sandman will be waiting for you on Netflix Aug 5. Lucifer will be waiting for you in Hell.’
Patton is one of the actors lending his voice to The Sandman, as he takes on the role of Matthew the Raven.
Neil explained as Netflix announced the casting: ‘I expected our animals to be CGI, and was both taken aback and thrilled when the dailies started coming in, and there was Dream talking to… well, a raven. But ravens don’t really talk.
‘The question was, could we find an actor who could make you care about a dead person who was now a bird in the Dreaming — one who isn’t certain what’s going on, or whether any of this is a good idea?
‘And could we find a voice performer who was also the kind of Sandman fan who used to stand in line to get his Sandman comics signed? The answer was, we could if we asked Patton Oswalt (he/him). And Patton was the first person we asked, and the first person we cast, the day before we pitched The Sandman to Netflix.’
Representing different genders was part of the storytelling early on
The Sandman has been described as ahead of its time in how it tackles gender. But for Neil, it seemed an obvious way to go.
Desire, played by non-binary actor Mason Alexander-Park, was actually always non-binary in the comics.
Asked about representing gender and race in the comics Neil explained at SDCC: ‘I don’t know if we were ahead of our time…it was just in there, baked into the foundations.’
It got bad before it got good
Neil is clearly over the moon with the Netflix adaptation, but recently admitted he wasn’t always sure a perfect adaptation would happen.
He told TotalFilm: ‘I didn’t have faith that we’d always get here, but I had faith that the important thing was to stop bad versions being made.
‘Once a bad version is made, you never quite come back from that. It may sound silly, but when I was 14 or 15, my favorite comic was Howard The Duck. Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, Frank Brunner, satire, madness, glory…
‘I was so excited when I heard George Lucas was making a movie. And then ‘A New Breed Of Hero’ came out. Howard The Duck became a bad joke. I never wanted that to happen to Sandman and I saw scripts that would have made that happen.’
It’s going to surprise us
It might feel like a bit of a cliche when we’re told that films or TV series are going to surprise us – but we’ll give The Sandman the benefit of the doubt on this one.
After all, if there’s anyone who can traumatise us and leave us in tears, as well as giving us a heartwarming moment, probably at the same time as a ‘WTF?’ moment…it’s Gaiman.
‘You watch Episode 1 and think, “Oh, I get this thing: it’s like Downton Abbey, but with magic,” Then you’ll be wondering, “What the hell is this?” by Episode 2, when you’re meeting Gregory The Gargoyle in The Dreaming,’ he told Empire.
‘Episode 5 is about as dark and traumatic as anything is ever gonna get, then you’ve got Episode 6, which is probably the most feel-good of all the episodes.
‘If you didn’t like an episode of Game Of Thrones, you probably won’t like any other episode of Game Of Throne. With Sandman, it’s all about surprising you. It’s all about reinventing itself. It’s all about taking you on a journey you’ve not been on before.’
We couldn’t be more ready.
The Sandman hits Netflix on August 5.