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Netflix's genre Twitter account confirmed Thursday morning that Sturridge will play the title role, known as both Dream and Morpheus, over the course of the epic and celestial adventures. One of the seven Endless, the gaunt embodiment of dreams and stories looks like a combo of Gaiman himself and The Cure's Robert Smith, with the goth levels turned all the way up. The similarly waifish Sturridge, known for roles in Pirate Radio and Velvet Buzzsaw, will lead the series from Gaiman, executive producer David S. Goyer, and writer/showrunner Allan Heinberg.
And Sturridge isn't the only casting confirmation. Game of Thrones alums, Gwendoline Christie and Charles Dance, are attached to the series as Lucifer (Hell's head honcho) and Roderick Burgess (a blackmailer and magician) respectively. The ensemble also includes: Vivienne Acheampong (The Witches) as Lucienne, chief Librarian of Dream's domain' Boyd Holbrook (Logan) as The Corinthian, an escaped nightmare; and Asim Chaudhry (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Yesterday) as Cain and Abel — "the first victim and first predator" — who are loyal subjects that reside within Dream's native realm.
"For the last thirty-three years, the ‘Sandman’ characters have breathed and walked around and talked in my head. I’m unbelievably happy that now, finally, they get to step out of my head and into reality,” Gaiman said in a statement. “I can’t wait until the people out there get to see what we’ve been seeing as Dream and the rest of them take flesh, and the flesh belongs to some of the finest actors out there. This is astonishing, and I’m so grateful to the actors and to all of The Sandman collaborators — Netflix, Warner Bros., DC, to Allan Heinberg and David Goyer, and the legions of crafters and geniuses on the show — for making the wildest of all my dreams into reality."
As Collider reported in late September of 2020, Sturridge won the role over the likes of Tom York and Colin Morgan, and is now set as the first actor cast in the long-coming screen version of the 75-issue comic.
Speaking at DC FanDome last summer, Gaiman explained the adaptation's direction:
"What we're doing with Netflix is saying 'OK, it's still going to start in 1916, but the thing that happens in Sandman #1, the point that the story starts, is not 1988. It's now, and how does that change the story?'" Gaiman said. "What does that give us? What does that make us have to look at that we wouldn't have to look at if we were setting it as a period piece? What is that going to do to the gender of characters? What's that gonna do to the nature of characters?"
The production on The Sandman series has been delayed due to COVID-19 concerns, but pre-production has been in full swing. With its lead now set, things will hopefully be ramping up for this wild ride.