Morpheus is free in first footage from Netflix's The Sandman
At long last, the time has finally come to see Neil Gaiman's magnum opus on the screen. Netflix unveiled the first footage from its upcoming adaptation of The Sandman on Saturday as part of the streaming platform's TUDUM fan event.
Originally created by Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg, The Sandman is the story of Morpheus, the king of dreams (several characters refer to him simply as Dream, as in the very embodiment of the concept). At the beginning of the story, Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) is taken prisoner by human sorcerers who were hoping to capture his sister, Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Unsure of what to do with the supernatural being they've actually caught, these wannabe wizards leave him trapped in their basement for decades until one day he finally escapes to reclaim his kingdom.
The footage released by Netflix revealed a first look at Sturridge as the character, as well as Game of Thrones veteran Charles Dance playing Roderick Burgess, leader of the cult of sorcerers who imprison him. Boyd Holbrook can also be heard as the voice of the Corinthian, a.k.a. Nightmare.
The original comic was first published in 1989, so that's when Morpheus made his escape. But the Netflix show is moving it up to the present, keeping Morpheus imprisoned just a few decades longer in the same way the Marvel movies extended the length of Captain America's ice nap. Now Morpheus will have to make sense of our modern world. One element of this modernization of The Sandman is in the casting. Several characters who were depicted as white in the comics are being played by Black actors in the show.
"The journey to this point has indeed been a long one," Gaiman said during TUDUM. "This decades-long gestation I think was in fact a bit of a blessing." He added how he and Netflix were "able to make something that was true to the comics while still being fantastic television."
Sturridge expressed how "terrified" he was when he found out he got the role because he comes with firsthand knowledge of the fan love around the Sandman comics.
"I stand here before you beyond anything else as a supreme fan of Sandman," he said. "These are books that I adore, I revere, and I love. And to have the opportunity to live inside of them for the 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 [addressing the fans] 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."
Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who plays beloved character Death, Morpheus' closest sibling, also made an appearance and voiced a similar sentiment.
"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 acknowledged. "This role was a responsibility as well as a privilege, and I can promise you I did not take that lightly."
Death was revealed by way of three character posters, which also highlighted Morpheus and Mason Alexander Park's Desire.
If the new footage makes you excited for The Sandman, earlier this week Audible released the second installment of their audiobook adaptation of the series.
Watch the footage above.