Before the show hits Netflix on August 5th, the cast and crew of The Sandman took center stage at San Diego Comic-Con’s famous Hall H. There were plenty of interesting details and reveals during the presentation. Based on Neil Gaiman’s 1989 comic book of the same name, The Sandman questions reality and the differences it may have when compared to our dreams.
This thought process is mainly shown through Dream, the immortal protagonist of the story, who happens to be one of the seven Endless. Turning metaphysical concepts into characters was one of the main features that turned this Vertigo comic into a beloved story, as it allowed Gaiman to explore deep and thoughtful ideas more easily, while still retaining subtlety in his work. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
[Warning: Spoilers from Netflix’s The Sandman SDCC panel are below!]
The casting process and the first look at Netflix’s The Sandman
Hosted by Kari Byron, the panel included guests such as Neil Gaiman himself, Allan Heinberg, Tom Sturridge, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbook, Gwendoline Christie, Jenna Coleman, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, Vanesu Samunyai and Patton Oswalt.
The first clip shown during the panel introduced the character of Dr. Destiny (David Thewlis) as he entered a diner. This clip was shown right before the introduction of the cast on stage as a way to set the mood for the rest of the presentation.
Allan Heinberg, one of the creators of the show, proceeded to talk about how intense the casting process was, looking for the ideal people to play these complex characters. He explained how the team had to watch thousands of tapes to get to the right cast, which he was very proud of.
While they were speaking about the casting process, some of the actors talked about how delighted they were to be a part of this project. This included Acheampong, who mentioned that playing Lucienne was interesting because of the bond she shares with the protagonist, Dream.
On the other hand, Gwendoline Christie talked about how playing Lucifer was fun because she was given a lot of creative freedom to play what she referred to as “The very essence of evil”. It is clear by the testimony of the cast involved that this project will be an absolute blast!
Additional clips and a deeper conversation with the cast of The Sandman Panel
After that conversation, the second clip of the night was revealed, and it featured Constantine (Jenna Coleman) officiating what looked like a wedding at first, before turning out to be a ritual for banishing a demon. Dream (Tom Sturridge) steps into the ceremony and begins to negotiate with the demon, as the clip ends.
Neil Gaiman briefly introduced the third clip of the night, given how it was based on a fan-favorite issue of the original comic book series titled “The Sound of Her Wings”. He mentioned that this particular scene would be displayed on the sixth episode of the series and, by the looks of it, will be a very accurate adaptation of the source material. It’s fantastic to see that Netflix took the time to properly adapt this already beautiful story.
After this intriguing footage was shown, the cast talked for a little longer about their characters’ relationships. They indicated that they all worked together to make each character and relationship feel as real as possible. Given how these are characters are meant to represent concepts, it was very important for the cast to be able to display comprehensible emotions.
An open Q&A in Hall H
By this point, the panel was ready to transition into the Q&A portion of the presentation. The first fan with access to the microphone asked if there would be merchandise related to the series. Gaiman replied that he wasn’t sure, but that it was something he would love to see.
The second question was about Neil Gaiman keeping the story true to the original source material. This time, the author explained how neither DC nor Netflix had asked him to change anything about the tale he wanted to tell, utilizing this creative freedom to explore characters he grew to love.
The following question was about playing Lucifer, to which Gwendoline Christie kindly replied while expressing that there comes a lot of pleasure and pressure with landing a role featured in an underground property that is loved by many people. But she feels more than comfortable exploring Lucifer’s motivations in this story.
The final question, regarding Gaiman’s ability to adapt material he wrote many years ago, was answered by the author himself, who affirmed that he trusts his younger self and believes in what he created while mentioning that it was also important to let the material grow in natural ways.
A new trailer was shown to close out the panel, where you can see Dream meeting plenty of characters from the show, as he prepares to take the first steps on his journey. The Sandman will premiere on Netflix on August 5th.
[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Diego Peralta.]