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Netflix's Sandman casts Death, teases future storylines in sprawling ensemble announcement

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May 26, 2021, 11:00 AM EDT

Netflix's The Sandman, based on the beloved DC Comics/Vertigo series of the same name, is easily one of the most-anticipated series in production right now. Fans have been waiting years to see writer Neil Gaiman's dark world brought to life onscreen, and after various false starts it's finally happening with Gaiman's direct involvement alongside fellow executive producers Allan Heinberg and David S. Goyer.

We've known for some time now about certain key members of the cast, including Tom Sturridge as the title character, also known as Morpheus, also known as Dream. We've also heard about other key bits of casting for early stories in Gaiman's beloved series, including Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess, the dark magician who captures Dream in The Sandman #1, and Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer. Now, in a massive new casting announcement, Netflix has revealed several more key members of The Sandman's sprawling ensemble, and teased the next phase of its sweeping story in the process.

On Wednesday morning, Netflix announced three more key members of the legendary group of siblings known as The Endless, of which Dream is a member. These siblings each represent a fundamental force in the universe, and each has a major role to play in the larger Sandman story. The most important of these in the Sandman tapestry is Death, Dream's wise sister who became such a compelling part of the story that she launched thousands of cosplay tributes and two spinoff graphic novels of her own. That role will be filled by Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who Gaiman praised in a blog post accompanying the announcement.

"Significantly harder to cast than you might imagine (well, than I imagined, anyway). Hundreds of talented women from all around the planet auditioned, and they were brilliant, and none of them were right," Gaiman said. "Someone who could speak the truth to Dream, on the one hand, but also be the person you'd want to meet when your life was done on the other. And then we saw Kirby Howell-Baptiste's audition and we knew we had our Death."

Joining Howell-Baptiste's Death in the Endless will be Mason Alexander Park as Dream's nonbinary sibling Desire and Donna Preston as Desire's twin sibling, Despair. Both have larger roles to play in the Sandman story, and the four Endless cast so far will also eventually be joined (presumably, anyway) by their siblings Destiny, Delirium, and Destruction.

But that's not all. Gaiman also announced that casting is underway for the series' adaptation of The Doll's House, the second major phase of The Sandman story which makes up the second trade collection of the series. In the image below, you can see the various major players attached to this story so far, including Harry Potter alum David Thewlis as John Dee, Doctor Who's Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine (ancestor of John Constantine), Stephen Fry as Gilbert, and Patton Oswalt as the voice of Dream's talking raven emissary from the realm of The Dreaming, Matthew.

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Beginning with The Sandman #10, The Doll's House features Dream arriving back in his home realm of The Dreaming, taking a census, and realizing a few of his creations are unaccounted for. These creations, including both dreams and nightmares, are instead embroiled in the lives of various human characters sharing a boarding house, and their various encounters soon come to involve a terrifying nightmare known as The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook, who was cast earlier), a scheme by other members of The Endless against Dream himself, and several other key pieces of the larger Sandman story that will be important in future volumes.

"Every afternoon I get an email telling me that there are 'dailies' from The Sandman ready to be watched. It's the best bit of the day," Gaiman wrote. "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."

The Sandman is coming soon to Netflix.