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The Sandman: Netflix unveils Tom Sturridge's Dream in first footage from live-action adaptation

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Sep 25, 2021, 1:28 PM EDT

Netflix dreamt a little dream of Neil Gaiman during the streaming giant's TUDUM fan event Saturday. In the second hour of programming, fans of The Sandman got a dreamy (pun very much intended) sneak peek at the live-action adaptation of the beloved Vertigo comic.

The footage in question is ripped straight out of the source material, showing Roderick Burgess (Game of Thrones' Charles Dance) summoning Dream/Morpheus, the titular ruler of sleep (played by Velvet Buzzsaw's Tom Sturridge) via an arcane ceremony at Sussex manor. Dream's imprisonement sets the entire story in motion because when he's finally released decades later, he returns home to find his ethereal kingdom in shambles.

"I stand here before you before beyond anything else as a supreme fan of Sandman," Sturridge said while introducing the teaser. "These are books that I adore, I revere, and I love. To have the opportunity to live inside of them for these past few months has been the great privilege of my career. When I found out I'd been asked to play Dream, I was terrified of a moment like this because I know how important he is to you. Simply because of how important he is to me. All I ever wanted to do was honor that passion — for Neil and for all of you."

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Gaiman, who serves as an executive producer, described the project as "a labor of love" that's essentially been in the works for the last 30 years. "I've been working with the team at Netflix since Day 1 with the goal of shaping a story that's authentic to what makes it The Sandman story that people love while also giving us a wider perspective on this world than ever," he continued. "And knowing that there are surprises in store for even the most dedicated fans. What's astounded me through this process was how often it felt like I was walking around inside the comics."

Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who plays Death, closed out the Sandman segment by discussing her character and announcing that the show's verified social media handles are now live. Howell-Baptiste promised that these channels will exclusively debut "some really out-of-this-world content" in the near future.

"Death of the Endless is, to say the least, a character with a profound legacy who has brought real comfort to so many people," she explained. "This role was a responsibility as well as a privilege and I can promise you I did not take that lightly. Something that made this challenge possible was that this conceptually and historically frightening character had such a capacity for love, which me made love her back. I'm so thrilled to be able to share this whole series with the world soon enough."

David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman) are also executive producers, with the latter occupying the role of showrunner. Gwendoline Christie (Lucifer), Vivienne Acheampong (Lucienne), Boyd Holbrook (The Corinthian), Asim Chaudhry (Cain) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Abel) round out the rest of the talented ensemble cast.

Netflix has yet to announce a premiere date for the series. Check out three new character posters below...

Click here to watch the full TUDUM livestream