Tom Sturridge and Neil Gaiman preview Netflix’s The Sandman!

Sandman fans rejoice! We finally have something new to talk about, in the form of a new image from the series and an interesting interview with writer Neil Gaiman and actor Tom Sturridge, who plays Morpheus. There’s a lot to digest here, so let’s get into it.

The Sandman follows Morpheus, aka Dream — the literal personification of dreams — as he goes about his duties as one of the Endless, a family of siblings who are actually anthropomorphic personifications of different aspects of the human condition. It’s heady stuff.

At the beginning of the story, Dream is mistakenly captured by an order of occultists who wanted to capture his sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). He’s trapped for decades, and when he eventually escapes he must embark on a quest to reclaim the totems of power that have been stolen from him in his absence: his ruby, his helm, and his pouch of sand. This kicks off the sprawling epic through Neil Gaiman’s imagination.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about casting the show, Gaiman said that he watched upwards of 1500 different auditions for the title character. As it happens, Sturridge’s audition was one of the first he was sent.

“Having watched all those other auditions, we were able to go to Netflix and say, ‘it’s Tom.’ We know it’s Tom,” Gaiman said. Netflix ended up actually paying Tom Sturridge not to look for other jobs until the casting was complete. Talk about easy money.

Part of the reason Sturridge is the perfect actor to play Dream is because he is also a huge, long-time fan of the comics. “I think The Sandman pervades culture,” he said. “Even the name Morpheus, King of Dreams, kind of haunted me in my youth.”

Tom Sturridge (Dream) remembers his first day on The Sandman set

As we said, The Sandman starts with Dream enduring a long imprisonment, which was quite a way for Sturridge to begin his new job. “It was definitely a baptism-by-fire to be introduced to the people I was going to spend nine months with naked, climbing into a glass box — which, because of the way it’s built, couldn’t be broken apart easily,” he said. “I would genuinely sit in it for hours at a time, which was very COVID safe!”

Sturridge seems like an ideal match for Morpheus, but that didn’t stop Gaiman from giving him some on-the-day advice. Specifically, he wasn’t too impressed with the Batman-esque voice he was using. “I growled at him once and said, ‘stop being Batman.’ He was trying to get a bit whispery.”

“I remember you said to me that everything he says has to feel like it was etched in stone,” Sturridge said. “He’s never improvising. He has experienced and perceived every thought, dream, and moment, and therefore he knows what you’re going to say. That was very helpful.”

Check out a new image of Morpheus in The Sandman

Entertainment Weekly also released a new shot from the series. It features Morpheus in a badness leather jacket brooding and cradling his helm like a baby. As many fans have pointed out, it looks like it could be a shot from Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune. Take a look:

The Sandman does not have a release date yet, but is confirmed to be dropping this summer. Next month, Netflix will hold its Geeked Week event, where we will probably get a release date and a trailer. Watch this space!

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