Neil Gaiman on Why Tom Ellis Was Not Cast as Lucifer in ‘The Sandman’

Neil Gaiman on Why Tom Ellis Was Not Cast as Lucifer in ‘The Sandman’

The writer of the original Sandman comics, Neil Gaiman, has answered a question that was on many fans’ minds ever since the Netflix show’s principal cast was announced—why is Tom Ellis not reprising his role as Lucifer Morningstar in the upcoming Sandman show? Gaiman has defended the casting choice and has said that it is in the best interests of the show.

The Sandman is one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time. Created by Gaiman along with artists like Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg, the series debuted under DC’s Vertigo imprint in 1989. It continued successfully for 75 issues and ended in 1996.

The main character is Dream, often called Morpheus or the Lord of Dreams, and it is around him that the comics revolve. The other characters are Death, Despair, Delirium, Destruction, Desire, and the Devil. The Sandman comics are a classic example of Gaiman’s stylean illusory combination of history, mythology, horror, and ethereal entities.

Efforts to adapt the series have been going on for a long time. It nearly saw the light of day in 2013 when Joseph Gordon-Levitt took up the project. But it did not progress due to creative differences. When fans came to know that Netflix was in the process of adapting the series to a tv show, they were beyond relieved.

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Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones | Source: IMDb

The principal cast was announced a few days ago, and while most lauded the choices, especially Tom Sturridge as Dream, many wondered why Game of Thrones actor Gwendoline Christie was playing Lucifer when Tom Ellis has captured the hearts of everyone as Lucifer Morningstar. After all, the Lucifer comics are a spin-off of the Sandman comics, and now that they both have shows on Netflix, it would make perfect sense for the character to be played by the same actor.

One fan asked Gaiman on his Tumblr account about Gwendoline Christie’s casting and whether it will block the two shows from sharing the same universe. Here is how the author answered:

The theology and cosmogony of Lucifer is a long way from Sandman’s. It’s “inspired by” Sandman, but you can’t easily retrofit the Lucifer version to get back to Sandman, if you see what I mean. It seemed easier and more fun to have the Sandman version of Lucifer be, well, much closer to the Sandman version of Lucifer.

Neil Gaiman

Ellis had appeared in Arrowverse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” last year to the surprise of many, but it had taken a lot of clever planning to connect the two shows (Lucifer and Arrow) so that neither contradicted any event that had taken place earlier in either of the shows.

Apart from Christie and Sturridge, it has been announced that Boyd Holbrook is set to play the nightmare The Corinthian. Vivienne Acheampong will star as Lucienne, Charles Dance as black magician Roderick Burgess, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Cain, and Asim Chaudhry as Abel.

No specific date has been announced for the premiere of The Sandman, but with the coronavirus pandemic hampering production everywhere, the first season is likely to debut in 2022.

Are you a fan of The Sandman comics? What are you expecting from the TV show?

About The Sandman

The Sandman is an American fantasy drama TV series based on the 1989–1996 comic book written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. The series was developed for Netflix and is being produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.

The first season adapted the first two comics in the series, Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. In 1916, Dream, the king of Dreams and Nightmares and one of the seven Endless, is captured and imprisoned after an occult ritual. After being held captive for 106 years, he escapes and sets out to restore order to his kingdom of The Dreaming.

The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge as Dream, with Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar in supporting roles.