The Sandman: Neil Gaiman Explains Why Tom Ellis Can't Be THIS Lucifer

Look, we're not looking to shock your system this early in the week… but did you know that there are some The Sandman "fans" out there who still have righteous problems with the casting for Netflix's upcoming series adaptation from creator, EP & co-writer Neil Gaiman (Good Omens); EP, co-writer & showrunner Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman); and EP & co-writer David S. Goyer (Foundation)? We told you that was some pretty "shocking" news… because as we all know, what's a day ending in "Y" without the next Twitter "controversy," right? This time around, it has to do with the casting of Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, and… c'mon, you know where this is going, right? While we were silly enough to think the issue had been put to rest the last half-dozen times it came up on social media, once again Gaiman is having to explain to some folks out there that while Tom Ellis was a great Lucifer, he's not the Lucifer for this Netflix series… Christie is.

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Image: Screencap/Netflix

Here's a look at Gaiman's initial response from earlier today when the "Ellis as Lucifer" topic is raised again:

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Image: Screencap

Though agreeing that some folks would complain if Ellis never starred in his own series and was cast directly as Lucifer in The Sandman because they come to Twitter "for the endorphin release of shouting at someone else about something they don't really know anything about I suppose, Gaiman also shared his appreciation for how one fan views the different Lucifers in a "multiverse" way that respects everyone's art. "I get puzzled when people who say they are comics fans get grumpy with something they've heard we are doing on TV. Just assume the comics one is Earth-Vertigo and the Netflix one is Earth-Sandman and they will exist, side by side. You can like both." Now here's a look back at the "Geeked Week 2022" trailer that included some new looks at the upcoming adaptation:

Gaiman and Sturridge covered a number of topics in a recent interview, including how they approached translating Morpheus's literary-like speech to the small screen, what it was like for Sturridge to film naked early in production & much more:

For Gaiman & The Creative Team, There Was No Doubt That Tom Sturridge Was their Morpheus: "Having watched all those other auditions, we were able to go to Netflix and say, 'It's Tom. We know it's Tom.'"

Sturridge Understands Why the Casting Process Needed to Take So Long: "It was entirely necessary because this is a character who is so utterly beloved — by me more than anyone. That requires you to spend time with a human being to discover if they can live up to the dream you have of who he is," he explained. "I think 'The Sandman' pervades culture. Even the name Morpheus, King of Dreams, kind of haunted me in my youth."

Kicking Off Filming Naked Was a "Baptism-by-Fire" for Sturridge: "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. I would genuinely sit in it for hours at a time, which was very COVID safe," the actor said with a laugh.

Focusing on Morpheus' Physical Look First was "Quite Satisfying" for Sturridge: "I cared very much about the physicality and image of Morpheus. We've all seen those pictures, we know about his skeletal, muscular, otherworldly physique. Something that's very exciting about the physical aspect of things is you can solve that problem. I can make my body look like that — it requires A, B, C, and D — in a way that I can't easily get into the soul of an Endless. There was something quite satisfying about beginning with a task that was achievable, and I worked hard to create this physicality that I felt was unusual."

Gaiman on the Importance of Translating Morpheus' Style of Dialogue from Page to Screen: "Morpheus' dialogue is incredibly specific. It was probably the thing I was most obsessive about. Someone would have written a fabulous script, [showrunner] Allan Heinberg would have rewritten a fabulous script, and I would have seen it at every iteration, but there would always be a point at the end where I would still be noodling on the Morpheus dialogue: Making sure the words were right, that the rhythms were right."

Sturridge on What Gaiman Said to Him About Portraying Morpheus: "I remember [Gaiman] said to me that everything he says has to feel like it was etched in stone. 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."

Gaiman Put a Quick Stop to Sturridge's "The Dark Knight" Approach: "I growled at him once and said, 'Stop being Batman. He was trying to get a bit whispery" (though Sturridge wanted to make it clear that it was his "literally my first day" but he found the advice "incredibly helpful").

A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he's made during his vast existence.

"For the last thirty-three years, the Sandman characters have breathed and walked around and talked in my head. I'm unbelievably happy that now, finally, they get to step out of my head and into reality. I can't wait until the people out there get to see what we've been seeing as Dream and the rest of them take flesh, and the flesh belongs to some of the finest actors out there," said Gaiman in a statement coinciding with the initial casting news. "This is astonishing, and I'm so grateful to the actors and to all of The Sandman collaborators — Netflix, Warner Bros., DC, to Allan Heinberg and David Goyer, and the legions of crafters and geniuses on the show — for making the wildest of all my dreams into reality."

The Sandman announcement key art. (Image: Netflix)
The Sandman announcement key art. (Image: Netflix)

Stemming from Warner Bros. TV, Netflix's The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge, Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, Donna Preston, Jenna Coleman, Niamh Walsh, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Kyo Ra, Stephen Fry, Razane Jammal, Sandra James Young, and Patton Oswalt.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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