The Sandman cast: Who’s who and where you’ve seen the actors before

You might recognise a few faces...

The Sandman cast
(Image credit: Netflix)

August marks the release of new Netflix fantasy series The Sandman. And viewers will be pleased to know that in addition to the dark storyline and dramatic backdrops is a star-studded line-up of actors who make up The Sandman cast.

Fans of the comic book series - which The Sandman is based on (opens in new tab) - have been waiting 30 years for a live-action adaptation, and thankfully The Sandman release date (opens in new tab) is now here. Much like where The Sandman is filmed (opens in new tab) - Netflix have kept casting details very close to their chest, with the cast only slowly trickling out once filming began. 

Amongst the line-up includes familiar faces from blockbuster franchises such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Doctor Who. Here's your definitive guide to who's who and what characters they'll be playing.

The Sandman cast: At a glance

  • Tom Sturridge plays Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman
  • Gwendoline Christie plays Lucifer
  • Jenna Coleman plays Johanna Constantine
  • Charles Dance plays Roderick Burgess
  • David Thewlis plays John Dee
  • Kirby Howell-Baptiste plays Death
  • Vivienne Acheampong plays Lucienne
  • Boyd Holbrook plays The Corinthian
  • Patton Oswalt plays the voice of Matthew the raven
  • Asim Chaudhry plays Abel
  • Sanjeev Bhaskar plays Cain
  • Stephen Fry plays Gilbert
  • Mason Alexander Park plays Desire
  • Donna Preston plays Despair
  • Kyo Ra plays Rose Walker
  • Mark Hamill plays the voice of Merv Pumpkinhead

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Sandman cast: Who’s who

Tom Sturridge as Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 36 Social Media accounts: None

Tom Sturridge is an English actor who rose to fame in1996 as Tom Gulliver  in Gulliver’s Travels. More recently, he has appeared in films such as Journey’s End and Velvet Buzzsaw. He also had a recurring role in HBO’s miniseries Irma Vep and starred in the 2019 theatre production of Sea Wall/A Life - in which he was nominated for a Tony Award for best actor in a play.

Speaking about his role as The Sandman, Tom said: "He doesn't necessarily begin the way that he ends. It's a quest. He is powerless at the beginning and he requires the help of humans to regain that power. His sister Death also educates him on how extraordinary it is to try and feel someone who isn't you. And I think that's the birth of his empathy."

Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 43 Social Media accounts: Instagram (opens in new tab) and Twitter (opens in new tab)

Gwendoline Christie graduated from Drama Centre London in 2005 and has played Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones and the First Order Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. She’ll also appear in the upcoming The Addams Family spin-off, Wednesday

Speaking about her role as Lucifer, she said: "I was hugely flattered and excited for the opportunity to play someone so evil. Lucifer is a lifetime of disappointment and distilled rage. I am someone who, as a performer, can look androgynous, and that felt right for this Lucifer."

Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 36 Social Media accounts: Instagram (opens in new tab) and Twitter (opens in new tab) 

Jenna Coleman was a member of the theatre company In Yer Space while at school when she won an award for her performance in the play Crystal Clear at the Edinburgh Festival. She was offered a place to study English at the University of York, but turned it down in order to accept the role of Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale. Since then, she has starred in Mr. Selfridge, Victoria, The Cry and Doctor Who (opens in new tab).

Speaking about playing Johanna Constantine in The Sandman, Jenna said: "I love playing her, because she’s kind of roguish, cynical… and it’s all about a humor, and deflection, and her dryness, and wit, but underneath it is this kind of really wounded lone warrior. I think having those two things playing, and it’s all about like deflecting it, and not letting anybody close. It feels like there’s so much depth to play with."

Charles Dance as Roderick Burgess

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 75 Social Media accounts: None

Charles Dance was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company during in the 1970s. He made his screen debut in 1974, in the ITV series Father Brown, but is more recently known for his roles in The Crown, Game of Thrones and The Imitation Game.

Charles has not yet spoken about his role as Roderick Burgess in The Sandman, but it is reported that he will be one of the first actors to appear in the series.

David Thewlis as John Dee

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 59 Social Media accounts: Instagram (opens in new tab)

David Thewlis trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In 1985, he appeared in an episode of the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses, as a member of Rodney's short-lived band. Since then, he has gone on to star in the Harry Potter series, Wonder Woman and The Omen to name a few.

Speaking about joining The Sandman cast, David said: "We had a wonderful time. It was a wonderful experience and it's going to be something quite bizarre."

Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 35 Social Media accounts: Instagram (opens in new tab)

Kirby Howell-Baptiste began acting at the Anna Scher Theatre. She is best known for her roles in Killing Eve, The Good Place and Barry. Speaking about her character in the series, Death, Kirby said: "Most of the time when we see a representation of Death, it's so focused on the end. But this character says, 'I was there in the beginning, and I'll be there in the end.'"

She added: "Death is born of life. I think there's something very beautiful and cyclical about her position in the world, because it's so much about the full journey that she is there for. That lends itself to a more feminine energy — there is this much more nurturing, caring side to Death than we've ever seen before."

Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 27 Social Media accounts: Twitter (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab)

Vivienne Acheampong was a substitute teacher before getting into acting. Now, she is best known for her roles in The Witches, The One and Death in Paradise (opens in new tab). Speaking about joining The Sandman cast, she said: "I loved the whole concept, and I loved [Lucienne], who’s this calm, intelligent presence. 

"I’m really interested in this theme of dreams, too. I’d just lost my dad about a year before this project came about, and my dreams became really important to me because my dad was in them a lot. I thought, 'I’d love to get this part,' and then I bloody got it. Even now, I can’t believe it."

Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 40 Social Media accounts: Instagram (opens in new tab)

Boyd Holbrook studied acting with the William Esper Studio's two-year Meisner Acting Program and with Shane Ann Younts' two-year voice and speech program, and he received an SCPS Certificate in 16mm film from New York University. He is known for his roles in Logan, The Predator and Gone Girl.

In his role as The Corinthian, Boyd had to act without eyes. Speaking about the experience, he said: "At the beginning, when we first started talking about this, I was a little concerned as a lot of acting is done through the eyes. The soul is lying in your eyes.  But there's so many other things going on with The Corinthian. It became, not a handicap, but an impediment that he has. But it's almost a sensory thing as well. It was a lot of playing in darkness, a lot of finding your way. I got given a character that I've never been able to play before, who was just a fun time to play."

Stephen Fry as Gilbert

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 64 Social Media accounts: Twitter (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab)

Stephen Fry was offered a scholarship to Queens' College, Cambridge, for matriculation in autumn 1978 and later graduated with upper second class honours in English Literature. As well as writing several novels and plays, his acting credits include Wilde, V for Vendetta and Bones.

Speaking about joining the cast of The Sandman, Stephen said: "It’s part of what we call the DC Universe but it’s really its own thing. I’m really looking forward to that, I’ve not been in anything quite like it before. I suppose the Hobbit counts as a fantasy world. I’m playing a kind of Edwardian writer figure called Gilbert."

Mason Alexander Park as Desire

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 27 Social Media accounts: Twitter (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab)

Mason is a non-binary actor who discovered acting through a summer camp in Texas. They graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. They are known for their roles in iCarly, Cowboy Bebop and Before You Know It. 

Speaking about their role in The Sandman, they said: "I’m a big fan of comic books and I’ve been collecting them with my dad for a very long time. There was a point where I was researching nonbinary and gender nonconforming individuals in literature, and Desire is one of the most prolific and one of the first, especially in the comic book world. I knew that this was someone that I thought I looked and sounded like. It’s hard to put into words how touched and honoured I am by the excitement for the show."

Donna Preston as Despair

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 36 Social Media accounts: Twitter (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab)

Donna trained at Rose Bruford, a drama school in Sidcup. She is known for her roles in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Hitman's Bodyguard and Apocalypse Wow. Clearly excited about the series, she said of her role in The Sandman at the show's premiere: "Am I still dreaming?"

Mark Hamill as the voice of Merv Pumpkinhead

The Sandman cast

(Image credit: Getty)

Age: 70 Social Media accounts: Twitter (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab)

Mark Hamill majored in drama at Los Angeles City College and his early career included a recurring role on the soap opera General Hospital. He is also known for starring in the Star Wars franchise (as none other than Luke Skywalker), Avengers Assemble and Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman said of Mark's casting: "His Merv is hilarious. Merv was always, in the comic - on the one hand - a kind of comic relief, but, on the other hand, the voice of sanity, the voice of just going, 'This is actually kind of nuts'. He gets to be that person."

Will Tom Ellis be in The Sandman?

Tom Ellis played Lucifer in the Lucifer series (opens in new tab), however, he will not feature in The Sandman. Instead, Gwendoline Christie, as mentioned above, will take on the role of Lucifer in The Sandman.

Explaining why they chose to go in a different direction in terms of casting Lucifer for The Sandman, Neil Gaiman, the author of the comic series in which the Netflix show is based on, said: "Because [Tom's] Lucifer, while inspired by the Lucifer in Sandman, is so far away in terms of Sandman continuity by the end of LUCIFER, that it's easier on everyone to go back to the version in the comics. 

"And this way you don't know what our Lucifer is going to do. Tom's is lovable," he added.

Video of the Week

Robyn Morris
Robyn Morris

Robyn is a freelance celebrity journalist with ten years experience in the industry. While studying for a degree in Media and Cultural Studies at London College of Communication, she did internships at Now and Heat magazines. After graduating, she landed a job at Star magazine, where she worked her way up to features editor. She then worked at Future as Deputy Celebrity Content Director across Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly and Woman & Home magazines.