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Netflix’s ‘The Sandman’: Cast, Characters, and Plot

It's like a dream come true.

The Sandman Dream with helmet

Neil Gaiman’s wonderful Sandman series started in 1989 and ended its original run in 1996. Since 1991, people have been trying to get it made into a movie. After years of sitting in development hell, Netflix received the rights to produce the series into a television show in 2019. For the last two years, Sandman fans have been salivating for any news on the project.

Information has been scarce until the June 2022 Netflix’s Geeked Week. A 30-minute panel with the cast and crew gave us a much bigger look into this highly anticipated show. Besides behind-the-scenes information, we got a release date and a longer trailer. Here is what we know so far about the plot and characters for the first season.


From what I’ve seen, the plot will follow very close to the original comics. In 1916, an occult society captures Dream/Morpheus when they tried to contain Death. Dream remained imprisoned for 105 years (changed from the comics) until his escape. During his time away, the Kingdom of Dreams fell apart and humanity suffered. Now Dream must bring balance back to his realm.

Cast and Characters

The Sandman Cast List
(image: Netflix)

Dream/Morpheus – The ruler of the Dreaming has a lot to put back together after being a captive for so long. First, he must gather his three magical totems. Tom Sturridge (Sweetbitter, Mary Shelley) plays Dream.

Lucienne – A gender-swapped version of the librarian of the Dreaming and one of the few that always remained loyal to Dream. She protects all the books ever dreamed of, even those that were never written. Vivienne Acheampong (The One, The Witches) plays Lucienne.

Lucifer – Ruler of Hell and advisory of Dream. Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) plays Lucifer.

The Corinthian – An escaped nightmare who has had too much free rein while Dream was gone. Watch out for his eyes. Boyd Holbrook (Narcos, Beckett) plays The Corinthian.

Cain and Abel – Based on the Biblical brothers, the two live in the realm of Dreams. Sanjeev Bhaskar (Yesterday, Unforgotten) and Asim Chaudhry (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, People Just Do Nothing) play the siblings, respectively.

Death – Dream’s sister and the goth dream girl we all leave with in the end. Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place, Barry) plays Death.

Desire – Dream’s younger sibling who embodies all the bad and good of human desire. Mason Alexander Park (Cowboy Bebop, The Legend of Vox) plays Desire.

Despair – Desire’s twin and the one we are often left with when desire abandons us. Donna Preston (Apocalypse Wow, Hard Cell) plays Despair.

Johanna Constantine – An ancestor of DC’s John Constantine, Johanna is a butt-kicking detective of all things occult. Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who, Victoria) plays Johanna.

Roderick Burgess – A wealthy man who imagines himself to be a great and powerful sorcerer. Charles Dance (Game of Thrones, The King’s Man) plays Roderick.

Ethel Cripps – Mistress to Burgess and mother to John Dee. Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck, The Rook) plays Ethel and Niamh Walsh plays young Ethel.

John Dee – An insane man who tries to uncover the truth about the world, no matter what chaos it brings. David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Landscapers) plays John Dee.

Rose Walker – A young woman searching for her brother who forms a connection with Dream. Kyo Ra (in her debut role) plays Rose.

Unity Kinkaid – Rose Walker’s wealthy benefactor who suffered a sleeping sickness during Dream’s imprisonment. Sandra James-Young (East Enders, His Dark Materials) plays Unity.

Lyta Hall – Rose Walker’s friend, who is a recent widow. Razane Jammal (Paranormal, Doubt) plays Lyta.

Gilbert – The kind bodyguard and friend of Rose Walker. Stephen Fry (The Dropout, V for Vendetta) plays Gilbert.

Matthew the Raven – Once a human, Matthew died while asleep and decided to live on as Dream’s raven companion. Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille, M.O.D.O.K.) voices Matthew.

Mervyn Pumpkinhead – The sarcastic janitor in the Kingdom of Dreams. Mark Hamill (Star Wars: A New Hope, Batman: The Animated Series) voices Mervyn.

Seeing comic-accurate sets and costumes already had me excited about this show. But seeing this passionate and talented cast has me really looking forward to August 5th, where I will not move until I have consumed the entire series. How are you feeling about this cult classic finally coming to life?

(feature image: Netflix)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. She fangirls over the X-Men, folklore podcasts, and historical fantasy. When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse and offspring.