San Diego Comic-Con has become a home for some of the biggest parts of pop culture, with highly-anticipated movies, television shows, and more being celebrated at the event. At this year's event, that included The Sandman, the long-awaited adaptation of the DC Comics series of the same name. Hosted by Mythbusters' Kari Byron with panelists Neil Gaiman, Allan Heinberg, Tom Sturridge, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Gwendoline Christie, Joanna Constantine, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, Vanesu Samunyai, and Patton Oswalt, the panel provided fans with several new looks at the epic series. Keep reading for our recap of everything you need to know from The Sandman panel!
The panel opens with a clip of John Dee entering the diner. Byron comes out onstage and introduces the panelists.
Gaiman says it feels "really good" to get the adaptation finally made, and is "so excited and so proud" of it. Heinberg says he's been a fan of the comics from the beginning, and calls working on the series "a dream." He worked with Gaiman and David Goyer to make an adaptation that honored the source material as faithfully as possible. He argues that streaming is the only way to do the story properly.
Gaiman shouts out Lucinda, the show's casting director, who also worked with him on Stardust. He says every casting process was different, and that Sturridge, in particular, was the first of over a thousand auditions for Dream.
Christie was offered her role directly, and it was "incredibly easy." Coleman was cast after Gaiman had worked with her
Park tweeted at Gaiman asking if Desire had already been cast, which Gaiman was impressed by.
Howell-Baptiste had an opposite casting process from Sturridge, having been at the end of thousands of auditions for Death. Holbrook reveals that the casting process had taken so long, he almost forgot about it. Oswalt had been cast before Heinberg even joined on board, and Gaiman jokes that Oswalt fit into "the raven costume." Oswalt
Sturridge says that he cares "so deeply about this piece of literature." He spent months rereading the comic over and over to immerse himself within it. He calls each episode its own "film" inside of a larger narrative
Acheampong loves her character and Dream's relationship, as well as the idea that her character knows every book ever written or told.
Holbrook calls The Corinthian "the creator of your worst nightmare", and "the patron saint of serial killers in the waking world." He also teases his character's relationship with Jim, which he's excited for fans to see.
Gaiman reveals Lucifer's initial comic appearance was inspired by David Bowie's early days as a folk singer, and calls Christie's portrayal "an androgynous junkie angel." Christie compares the "spirituality" of Sandman to Star Wars.
They debut an exclusive clip from the beginning of Episode 3, involving Joanna Constantine. Joanna officiates a wedding that turns into an exorcism, awakening a demon out of the groom. Dream then shows up and talks with the demon, before Joanna banishes the demon to hell. Dream says Joanna doesn't know what she's done, and Joanna says she does know what she's done — she's tripled her fee.
Coleman teases that Joanna's role in the show is very comic-accurate to "Dream a Little Dream of Me." Samunyai teases that Rose and Dream learn a lot from each other.
Oswalt says that he's been a Sandman fan since the beginning, which made the idea of playing an aloof character on the show a challenge.
Gaiman queues up the next clip, which is from Episode 6, which "changes everything." The scene shows Dream and Death talking on a park bench — Dream is upset that his kingdom and sense of purpose are gone, and Death calls him "the worst excuse" for an anthropomorphic figure out there.
Howell-Baptiste researched the relationship that Eastern and Western cultures have had with Death. She says she loved Death when she first read the comic, but never could've imagined playing the character.
Park learned to trust the text of the series first and foremost, and felt totally immersed in the practical sets of the series. They say that Heinberg and Gaiman helped "fill the gaps" of some of the specifics of the dynamics of the Endless siblings.
It's time for fan questions. One fan asks about Funko POPs (particularly of Merv Pumpkinhead) and merchandise, and Gaiman says he is not aware of it yet. Gaiman reminds the crowd that Mark Hamill is voicing Merv and says he's perfect. He says he hopes the series will have a lot of different merchandise.
A fan asks Park about how the preparation process differed from performing in theater. They say that the limited amount of time they spent filming actually worked in their favor, because they could just focus on filming in the moment.
A fan asks Gaiman how he's kept the adaptation true to the source material, and he says he feels honored that every company he's worked with has wanted the adaptation to be faithful. He compares the audience to "yogurt starter", arguing that if they like Sandman and the show, they will convert the world "into yogurt."
A fan asks how the various artistic styles of the show will translate onscreen. Heinberg highlights the various directors and members of the creative team for establishing the visual variety of the show. Gaiman reveals that he convinced Dave McKean to come out of retirement to create the end credits, which will be different for every episode.
Christie praises the comics and the amount of work that went into making them, and praises Gaiman and Heinberg for also leaving things open to her interpretation. She reminds everyone that Lucifer was a God's favorite angel before falling.
Heinberg shouts out more of the creatives involved with the show.
A fan asks Gaiman how he's balanced honoring the original material, with allowing it to breathe and evolve as he has over the course of time. Gaiman says one of the weirdest parts of this process has been "trusting" the younger version of himself that wrote the series. He reveals that he, Heinberg, and Goyer did attempt to make some changes, only to realize that it had worked better in the comics.
A fan asks if Gaiman's 1602 series will ever be adapted, and he reveals that he had asked the previous executives at Marvel if an adaptation would happen, and was initially told no.
A fan asks Oswalt if he's ever eaten Ratatoullie, and he reveals he has.
The panel ends with a new trailer.
The Sandman will debut on Netflix on Friday, August 5th.0comments