It's already been 25 years since the original TheSandman series, a DC comic is written by Neil Gaiman was completed. The comic series, which features art by Mike Dringenberg, Sam Kieth, Shawn McManus, Jill Thompson, and others, knew critical acclaim and won multiple awards, including a prestigious World Fantasy Award for its 19th issue. As is usually the case with such successful premises, the possibility of an adaptation has been on the cards for a long time, since the 1990s.
However, the project was frozen for more than a decade, partly due to author Neil Gaiman's disagreements with the way the source material was treated. Fortunately for TheSandman fans, there's finally light in the tunnel. After a long development hell (an apt metaphor, given the nature of the comic), Sandman was finally picked up by Netflix, this time for good.
With many cast members recently announced the project finally feels solid ... but not before Lucifer, the spin-off of Sandman got an adaptation.
While Lucifer is a supporting character in TheSandman, he's the protagonist in the spin-off. At some point in Sandman, he abandons his place as ruler of hell. In Lucifer, he retires to Los Angeles where he ends up running a nightclub, "LUX" and working with the police.
A TV adaptation of Lucifer was subsequently made, initially distributed by Fox before moving to Netflix in 2019, with Tom Ellis as the titular characters. Fans have wondered whether Ellis' Lucifer will affect the Sandman show at all, given that the spin-off functions as a spoiler of sorts. Neil Gaiman has confirmed that Lucifer won't affect Sandman, apparently considering them separate works, each complete in its own right.
But what about Ellis? Will he take up the role of Lucifer in the forthcoming TheSandman show as well?
After a lot of speculation and secrecy regarding the cast of TheSandman, we can now confirm that the answer is no. Netflix took Gaiman's idea, that the two stories are separate, very seriously, not casting Tom Ellis for the role, but someone completely different: Gwendoline Christie, best known for portraying Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones.
This perplexed some fans, as Lucifer was presenting as male in the original comic. But after Brienne, Christie is experienced in portraying androgynous characters. Moreover, the depiction of angel or demon characters' in unconventional ways is common in pop culture with The Wicked and the Divine comic being a recent example with a female Lucifer.
With two Lucifers so different from one another, Netflix has made sure that fans or both TheSandman and Lucifer will not confuse the two shows or expect them to interact with one another in any meaningful way. However, fantasy shows (and not only) often play with fans' expectations in meta ways (think of Supernatural's musical episode, for instance) and actors making appearances in spin-offs or prequels for a different, smaller role isn't unheard of.
While highly unlikely, it would be interesting, from a meta-narrative perspective, to see both actors in the same scene. For the time being, we can only speculate.