We learned back in January of the first few casting decisions for Netflix’s ambitious, sprawling adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s comicbook fantasy The Sandman. As part of those announcements, Gaiman mentioned “hundreds to go” and if the streaming service’s news today isn’t quite at that level, it’s certainly a big bunch. Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, Donna Preston, Jenna Coleman, Niamh Walsh, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Kyo Ra, Stephen Fry, Razane Jammal, Sandra James Young and Patton Oswalt are the latest recruit news.
Sandman, for those who might be unfamiliar, was a 75-issue DC/Vertigo comics series published in the 1990s. Gaiman’s own one-line synopsis was: “The lord of dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision,” but there’s obviously a lot more to it than that, with the sprawling series taking in pantheons and mythologies from across the globe, via threads about fantastical quests, serial killers, road trips, and short stories only tangentially connected to the core narrative. Many tales featured Dream’s siblings, the Endless: Destiny, Death, Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirium.
Already announced for the show are Tom Sturridge playing Dream, Gwendolyn Christie as Lucifer, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Amid Chaudry playing Cain and Abel, Charles Dance in the role of Roderick Burgess, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, and Boyd Holbrook bringing The Corinthian to life.
Howell-Baptiste is on to be Death, Dream’s older, wiser, nicer sister. Park is Desire, another of the siblings, alongside Preston’s Desire. Coleman will be Johanna Constantine, an 18th century occult adventurer (and John Constantine’s great-great-great grandmother), with Walsh and Richardson playing the expanded role of Ethel Cripps at two different ages. Thewlis has the role of John Dee, Ethel’s dangerous son.
Gaiman also reveals that shooting has moved on to the second story in the run, The Doll’s House, with Ra as Rose Walker, Jammal as Lyta Hall, Fry as Gilbert and Oswalt playing the voice of Matthew, Dream’s trusted Raven emissary. According to the author, Oswalt was apparently the first person cast, before the creator and the producers pitched the show to Netflix.
“Every afternoon I get an email telling me that there are “dailies” from The Sandman ready to be watched,” Gaiman says in a blog post. “It’s the best bit of the day. Once every couple of weeks I get an email letting me know that there’s a finished episode waiting for me to watch it. It’s the best bit of the month.
The Sandman is being made, and it’s… well, it’s The Sandman. Which is the best thing of all.” Netflix has yet to announced when this one will hit our screens, but based on the cast so far, the best answer is: not soon enough.