the sandman finally comes on screen and Neil Gaiman can’t wait for that moment.
Gaiman joined the Netflix series’ cast, including Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Jenna Coleman and Kirby Howell-Baptiste, for a Hall H panel Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con. The team debuted some clips and the full trailer, which is below.
The event was the pinnacle of the comic book, which was first published in 1989 before getting stuck in a lengthy adaptation process and finally landing on Netflix in the summer of 2019. Go see what we’ve made,” Gaiman told the crowd. “It feels really good.”
Showrunner Allan Heinberg said his plan was to “stay as true to the book as possible,” adding, “Netflix has been incredibly supportive of that mission.”
The story revolves around Dream breaking free from captivity and seeking to stabilize his world. The show’s team talked about the lengthy casting process, including landing Sturridge in the lead role.
Gaiman recalled that Sturridge auditioned for Dream in the beginning, but the team saw many more actors after that. “By the end of the process, we would see about a thousand auditions,” said Gaiman. “And it was still Tom.”
Sturridge praised the show for having a completely different world in each episode and recalled being a fan of the source material. “I cared so much about this piece of literature,” he said. “It just took me months to read it over and over until it was in my bones and in my blood.”
He continued, “The key to our story is that Dream goes on a journey and becomes someone he’s not in the beginning.”
For the role of Lucifer, Gaiman recalled his original concept of the character, inspired by a David Bowie-type figure who saw Gaiman as a “junkie angel.” He joked about Christie playing Lucifer: “Gwendoline brings the junkie angel in spades.”
For her part, Christie continued to riff on this, “I’m a one-stop shop for junkie angel.” She went on to say, “I was really so happy when Allan and Neil came over to me sandman.”
The actress also said she enjoyed playing such a nefarious role. “The idea of being the essence of evil through the eyes of these people was the most beautiful moment I could wish for,” she said.
Two voice actors in the series are Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven and Mark Hamill as Mervyn Pumpkinhead. Oswalt, who has been a fan of the comics all his life, said that his character provides comedic relief and that playing a role not featured in the original books was a unique challenge.
“I’m playing a character that is completely new to this world,” Oswalt said. “He’s running to make up for this huge world he’s been thrown into.”
Howell-Baptiste, who plays Dream’s sister Death, said she spent a lot of time thinking about the idea of bringing death to life. “How do you give a human form to a concept, to death?” she asked. The actress said she spent time figuring out how to make her character feel comfortable.
“I had a personal loss that I think I was able to cope with playing Death,” she added.
For Gaiman, he said he managed to stay focused on bringing the show to the screen because of the respect that others continued to have for the material: “Nobody wanted to change what I did.”