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The Sandman: Why Color-Blind Casting Was an Absolute Necessity

The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman explains why Netflix’s adaptation needed to take a color-blind approach to casting the Endless.

The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman has explained why it was necessary for Netflix’s anticipated adaptation of the beloved Vertigo comic to take a color-blind approach to casting the members of the Endless family.

“The thing that got me grumpiest was when people on Twitter would go, ‘This is not the gamine-esque, white, goth-y Death that I’ve had in my head for all these years, why are you betraying us?'” Gaiman told Total Film magazine regarding how certain “fans” responded to the announcement that Kirby Howell-Baptiste, a Black actor, would be portraying Death of the Endless in Netflix’s The Sandman.

RELATED: The Sandman’s Neil Gaiman Slams Backlash Over Gwendoline Christie’s Lucifer

“But watch 1,000 Death auditions. Hundreds of the actors we saw were gamine-esque, some white-skinned,” he continued, emphasizing, “It’s the Endless — we did colour-blind casting, because why wouldn’t you? The comics establish that the characters look like whatever we want them to look like.” Gaiman concluded, “Anyway, Kirby’s amazing. And I think that people who have been grumbling that she doesn’t look like Death are going to not be grumbling [any more] once they see her be Death.”

Howell-Baptiste is not the only member of The Sandman‘s cast Gaiman has defended against bad-faith backlash. The author also came to the defense of non-binary actor Mason Alexander Park, who is set to play Desire of the Endless, one of Death’s siblings. “I give zero fucks about people who don’t understand/haven’t read Sandman whining about a non-binary Desire or that Death isn’t white enough,” Gaiman said when the series’ cast was announced. “Watch the show, make up your minds.” Park would later publicly thank Gaiman for his support. “Man, I thought that was really wonderful,” they said.

RELATED: The Sandman: New Character Posters Offer an Eyeful of The Corinthian and Johanna Constantine

Starring Tom Sturridge in the lead role of Dream of the Endless, aka Morpheus, The Sandman is slated to drop on Netflix on Friday, Aug. 5. In addition to Sturridge, Howell-Baptiste and Park, the series stars Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar, Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian, Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine​​​​​​​ and Donna Preston as Despair​​​​​​​ of the Endless, not to mention Patton Oswalt as the voice of Matthew the Raven and Star Wars‘ Mark Hamill as the voice of Mervyn Pumpkinhead, among many others. The show’s 10-episode first season will adapt Preludes & Nocturnes, the first arc of the original Sandman comic.

The Sandman premieres Aug. 5 on Netflix.

Source: Total Film

Noah E. Dominguez is a news editor at Comic Book Resources who joined the site as a news writer in the summer of 2018. He even writes features on occasion. He has also written for sites like WhatCulture and Gaming Access Weekly (formerly Gamer Assault Weekly), and holds a degree in mass communication. What will he do next? Stay tuned. You can follow him on Twitter at @NoahDominguez_

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