It has been a long time coming, but we finally have our first glimpse of footage from The Sandman, Netflix’s adaptation of the DC Comics graphic novels created by Neil Gaiman. The streaming giant also released several character posters for the series during its Tudum global fan event. And in addition to The Sandman, we got a tantalizing new teaser for Stranger Things S4, the opening credits for Cowboy Bebop, and new trailers for Army of Thieves and The Witcher S2, among other goodies.
The Sandman teaser
As I’ve written previously, the titular “sandman” is Dream, aka Morpheus, among other names. He is one of seven entities known as the Endless, and he is seeking to set right his past mistakes. The other Endless are Destiny, Destruction, Despair, Desire, Delirium, and Death (portrayed as a perky punk/goth young woman). They became almost as popular as Dream himself (especially Death) and were featured in several spinoff comics. The series opens when Morpheus, the King of Dreams, escapes from a 70-year imprisonment by an occultist—who actually wanted to capture Dream’s sibling Death but trapped the Sandman by mistake.
Gaiman has been heavily involved with this Netflix adaptation, which bodes well for the project. Tom Sturridge snagged the coveted role of Morpheus, Lord of the Dreaming, no doubt due in part to his well-sculpted cheekbones. As for Dream’s Endless Siblings, Kirby Howell-Baptiste plays Death, Donna Preston plays Despair, and Mason Alexander Park plays Desire. Game of Thrones alums Gwendoline Christie and Charles Dance play a gender-swapped Lucifer and the charlatan magician Roderick Burgess, respectively. (Burgess is styled after real-life occultist Aleister Crowley and is Crowley’s arch-rival within the world of DC Comics.)
The cast also includes Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, one of the (failed) nightmares created by Dream; Vivienne Acheampong as a gender-swapped Lucienne, chief librarian of the Dreaming; David Thewlis as John Dee/Doctor Destiny; Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, occult detective and ancestor of DC Comics antihero John Constantine; Patton Oswalt as the voice of Dream’s raven emissary, Matthew; Razane Jammal as Lyta Hall; Kyo Ra as Rose Walker, who encounters the Corinthian while searching for her lost brother; Stephen Fry as Rose’s guardian, Gilbert; Sandra James-Young as Unity Kinkaid; and Sanjeev Bhaskar and Asim Chaudhry as Cain and Abel, respectively.
Dream’s initial capture by Roderick Burgess and his acolytes is the focus of this brief first-look teaser. We see Dance’s Burgess and Co. gathering for a dark ritual. “Tonight we will achieve what no one has ever attempted: We will summon and imprison Death,” Burgess proclaims. There’s some spooky chanting, a blood offering, a few mystical artifacts (“a coin made from stone,” “a feather pulled from an angel’s wing”), and voila! Except we all know the spell didn’t work as planned, and they capture Death’s sibling, Dream, instead. (That shot of a robed and masked Morpheus in the center of the circle is iconic.) The final image shows a caged (shirtless) Morpheus glowering as an off-camera voice says, “You’re gonna need all the help you can get.”
Netflix has yet to announce an official premiere date for The Sandman. It was rumored to be dropping late this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets pushed into early 2022. Regardless, color me excited to see more.
Stranger Things S4 teaser
Netflix dropped a teaser for the fourth season of Stranger Things back in May, hinting strongly at the return of Eleven ‘s (Millie Bobby Brown) childhood tormenter and “Papa,” Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine). And we already knew that David Harbour will be returning as Hopper, along with the rest of the main cast: Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, Natalia Dyer, Noah Schnapp, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Caleb McLaughlin, and Sadie Sink. We also know it will be the first season to take place largely outside of Hawkins, since Eleven and the Byers have moved away, and Hopper seems to be imprisoned by the Russians.
Maya Thurman-Hawke returns as Robin, Brett Gelman will be back as Murray Bauman, Cara Buono returns as the Wheeler matriarch, and we’ll be seeing more of Priah Ferguson, who plays Lucas’ sassy younger sister, Erica. Among the new cast members is Robert Englund of Nightmare on Elm Street fame, which is a nice little link to classic ’80s horror.
This S4 teaser is very different, tonally speaking, from what we’ve seen thus far. It conjures up a haunted house and some major Scooby Doo vibes. It opens with a ’50s-era family moving into a large mansion known as Creed House. But all is not hunky dory: there are strange sounds, flickering lights, and the occasional disemboweled cat left by the porch. There’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of the two children lying (presumably) dead on the floor, hinting at tragedy. Then we cut to the present, in which the Hawkins gang explores the now-abandoned house for “clues.” (Nobody appreciates Dustin’s Sherlock Holmes reference.) What does this have to do with seasons past? The final shot features a ticking grandfather clock, and then suddenly it’s ticking in… the Upside Down.
We don’t yet have a premier date for Stranger Things S4, but expect it to drop sometime next year.