Netflix’s The Sandman: it’s dreams, danger and drama in the epic new series

Netflix’s The Sandman: it’s dreams, danger and drama in the epic new series

Comic book fans have waited a long time for The Sandman, now the big-budget fantasy series is finally coming to the small screen. 

One thing’s for sure, Netflix knows how to do fantasy well. From the epic storylines of The Witcher to the expert world-building of Shadow And Bone, the streaming platform has brought us plenty of brilliant fantasy series over the last couple of years.

And now, it’s adding yet another to its list, in the form of The Sandman. Based on the DC Comics series by Neil Gaiman, the TV adaptation was first announced way back in 2019, and it’s set to hit screens next month.  

Tom Sturridge as Dream with Vanesu Samunyai as Rose Walker in The Sandman.

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Thanks to its star-studded cast and much-loved base material, excitement for The Sandman has only increased as the release date draws ever closer. And if the new trailer is anything to go by, that excitement is very justified.

Keep reading to check out everything we know about Netflix’s The Sandman so far, including what the series is about and who is set to star.  

Eleanor Fanyinka as Rachel and Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine The Sandman.

What is The Sandman about?

DC Comics fans may already be familiar with the premise of the series but the official synopsis from Netflix describes the big budget drama as a “rich, character-driven blend of myth and dark fantasy woven together over the course of 10 epic chapters following Dream’s many adventures.”

It reads: “There is another world that waits for all of us when we close our eyes and sleep – a place called the Dreaming, where The Sandman, Master of Dreams (Tom Sturridge), gives shape to all of our deepest fears and fantasies.

Tom Sturridge as Dream, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death in The Sandman.

But when Dream is unexpectedly captured and held prisoner for a century, his absence sets off a series of events that will change both the dreaming and waking worlds forever. To restore order, Dream must journey across different worlds and timelines to mend the mistakes he’s made during his vast existence, revisiting old friends and foes, and meeting new entities – both cosmic and human – along the way.”

Speaking about his decision to get involved with this production, Neil Gaiman said: “For well over 30 years, my part in Sandman adaptations was just to try and stop bad ones from happening. And fortunately, I was always successful in this. We got to 2020 and Sandman was the biggest DC Comics property that still had not been adapted – it was widely considered one of the jewels in the crown; it was the adult comic that changed everything. This adaptation is the first time that I’ve been willing to come on board.”

He continues: “Technologically, I really think we’re in a place right now where we’re getting to make Sandman in a way that we could not have dreamed of making even 15 years ago, even 10 years ago. So it’s now possible to make Sandman, but not easy. It’s really hard. But the resources are there, the people are there, the skill set is there, and the determination is there – and the fact that we now have an entire generation of high-level creative people who have grown up reading Sandman who love it and want to bring it to life with authenticity.” Judging from the action-packed new trailer, fantasy fans will not be disappointed. 

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The cast of The Sandman

Tom Sturridge stars in The Sandman as Master of Dreams, but he didn’t land the part easily; in fact, the creative team auditioned about 200 actors before casting him as Morpheus.

Sturridge stars alongside an enviable list of acting talent including Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, an escaped nightmare who wishes to taste all that the world has in store; Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven; Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, the chief librarian; the brilliant Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer; acting icon Charles Dance as the charlatan Roderick Burgess; and Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine the “tough, brilliant, tricky haunted necromancer and successful occult adventuress for hire”. Star Wars fans might even notice the voices of Luke Skywalker himself, as Mark Hamill voices the character of Mervyn Pumpkinhead. 

Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer

David Thewlis plays John Dee, who is on a quest for truth that may destroy the world. Stephen Fry plays Gilbert, who is “Rose Walker’s debonair protector”. Joining the cast are Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Mason Alexander Park as Desire, Donna Preston as Despair, while the rest of the cast includes and Vanesu Samunyai, John Cameron Mitchell, Asim Chaudhry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Joely Richardson, Niamh Walsh, Sandra James-Young and Razane Jammal.

Tom Sturridge and Jenna Coleman in The Sandman.

Speaking to Neil Gaiman about his starring role, English actor Sturridge admitted he wasn’t well versed in the comics before signing up. “The honest truth is I had no experience of the comics. I was aware of their cultural impact, but I hadn’t read them. The first thing I did was get a hold of one and have a look at it, and then I started to dive into the story. Beyond auditioning for the character, I just fell in love with Sandman as a piece of literature. What became terrifying about the audition was not so much trying to become him, but being so excited to potentially be a part of this world. Now I’m an obsessive Sandman fan. I feel I may have read it all the way from start to finish several times now, and I feel like I know it intimately.”

Sturridge also said the role was an “awesome responsibility. Everyone has passionate opinions about the character, and so I’m frightened to live up to those opinions and ideals. But at the same time, one of the things that I think is key to Dream is his sense of responsibility. I feel that one of the things that we share is this sense of duty, and so I’m hoping that those fears will actually help me.”

Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne in The Sandman.

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Watch the trailer for Netflix’s The Sandman

When is The Sandman coming to Netflix?

An official release date has been announced as 5 August 2022 so not long to wait. 

Images: Liam Daniel/Laurence Cendrowicz via Netflix © 2022

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