‘The Sandman’: A Complete Guide to the Cast and Their Characters

The Sandman‘s release date on Netflix is finally upon us, and the adaptation will draw fans of Neil Gaiman and Sam Kieth’s beloved comic series — along with newcomers who have never read the source material. For those entering this world for the first time, The Sandman‘s large cast and roster of characters may prove difficult to follow. That’s why we’re covering all the major players here.

Tom Sturridge leads ‘The Sandman’ cast as Dream

Tom Sturridge as Dream in the cast of Netflix's 'The Sandman.' He's sitting in a chair with light blue curtains behind him.
Tom Sturridge in ‘The Sandman’ | Liam Daniel/Netflix

The cast of The Sandman is led by Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, also known as Dream. Sturridge’s character is one of seven powerful being called the Endless. And the Netflix series will follow him as he’s captured by a human, then forced to rebuild his realm after decades away.

To return the Dreaming to its former glory, Dream must track down the artifacts that strengthen his power, as well as the other beings who once lived there. He’ll also deal with threats to the Dreaming and the waking world. Fans can expect to spend the most time with him as the other characters orbit in and out of his journey.

Boyd Holbrook plays Sandman’s nemesis, The Corinthian

Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian in 'The Sandman' for our breakdown of cast and characters in the show. He's standing in front of a window and mixing drinks.
Boyd Holbrook in ‘The Sandman’ | Liam Daniel/Netflix

Several characters upset Dream’s plans throughout The Sandman, but Boyd Holbrook’s The Corinthian is the most hellbent on bringing the Lord of Dreams down. Holbrook’s character is a creation of Dream’s, and he spends much of the series stirring up trouble outside of the Dreaming. Dream attempts to rein him in at the beginning of the show, but thanks to his capture, The Corinthian eludes him.

Even upon Dream’s escape, The Corinthian does everything he can to avoid facing his former master. He doesn’t seem to care who’s caught in the crossfire, making him an unpredictable and entertaining villain.

Vivienne Acheampong is the Dreaming’s librarian, Lucienne

Vivienne Acheampong as Lucien in the cast of 'The Sandman.' She's sitting at a desk with papers in front of her.
Vivienne Acheampong in ‘The Sandman’ | Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

Actor Vivienne Acheampong joined the cast of The Sandman as Lucienne, the librarian of the Dreaming — and one of the only characters to stick around after Dream’s disappearance. Lucienne is essentially Dream’s right hand, helping with all his endeavors. He doesn’t always appreciate it, but fans will no doubt take to Acheampong’s character. Lucienne is easily one of the most likable additions to the Netflix series.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste plays Death

Kirby Howell-Baptiste in the cast of Netflix's 'The Sandman.' In the image, her hair is down and curled and she's wearing a black tank top.
Kirby Howell-Baptiste in ‘The Sandman’ | Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

The other Endless crop up throughout The Sandman, with Tom Sturridge’s character having good and bad interactions with his siblings. Kirby Howell-Baptiste portrays Death, arguably one of the most likable Endless — despite representing one of the most difficult concepts.

Fans get an entire episode centered on Death and Dream, and the pair have a much better relationship than Dream does with his other siblings. Death also offers the most optimistic outlook on their duty to the waking world, something that sets her apart from the others.

Gwendoline Christie is Lucifer Morningstar

'The Sandman' cast member Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar. She's wearing a red outfit, has black wings, and is leaning over a table.
Gwendoline Christie in ‘The Sandman’ | Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

Another one of the Endless, Lucifer Morningstar lords over The Sandman‘s version of Hell — and the show couldn’t have cast a better actor for the role than Gwendoline Christie. Best known for playing Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones, Christie tackles Lucifer with an impressive amount of nuance. Lucifer doesn’t exactly get along with Dream, but the devil still demands respect. Fans will no doubt find themselves hoping to see more of her.

Mason Alexander Park and Donna Preston make a dynamic duo as Desire and Despair

Donna Preston and Mason Alexander Park as Despair and Desire in 'The Sandman.' In this image, Despair is leaning on Desire, who is patting her head.
Donna Preston and Mason Alexander Park as Despair and Desire | Netflix

The final two Endless fans meet during The Sandman Season 1 are played by cast members Mason Alexander Park and Donna Preston. Park portrays Desire in the series, while Preston brings Despair to life. The duo may not seem like natural allies, but they seem to get along much better than they do with Dream.

Mason Alexander Park recently played Gren in Cowboy Bebop, so those who keep up with Netflix originals may recognize the actor. Preston has spent more time on the big screen but has recently appeared in Apocalypse Wow and Hard Cell.

Vanesu Samunyai cast as Rose Walker in ‘The Sandman’

Vanesu Samunyai who plays Rose Walker in the cast of 'The Sandman.' She's got green, yellow, and purple in her hair and is wearing a white blouse with trees and flowers on it.
Vanesu Samunyai in ‘The Sandman’ | Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

During his journey to restore his realm, Dream doesn’t just run into other Endless. He also comes into contact with quite a few human characters. Among them is Rose Walker, who is portrayed by The Sandman cast member Vanesu Samunyai (previously known as Kyo Ra). The Netflix series marks Samunyai’s acting debut.

When The Sandman introduces Rose, she’s searching for her younger brother. Her investigation leads her into Dream’s sights — as well as The Corinthian’s. Needless to say, there’s more to Rose and her brother’s story than first meets the eye.

Eddie Karanja charms as Jed Walker

Eddie Karanja as Jed Walker in 'The Sandman.' He's wearing a yellow and red superhero suit and standing on a street with bikes tossed in it.
Eddie Karanja in ‘The Sandman’ | Liam Daniel/Netflix

Actor Eddie Karanja plays Jed Walker, the little brother Rose spends her character arc searching for. Without giving much away, Jed’s begun coping with reality through his dreams. That makes it possible for Rose to find him — but it also puts him on other, more dangerous characters’ radars.

Stephen Fry plays Gilbert in ‘The Sandman’ cast

Stephen Fry as Gilbert in the cast of 'The Sandman.' He's holding a cane and standing before mountains.
Stephen Fry in ‘The Sandman’ | Netflix

Stephen Fry joins the cast of The Sandman as Gilbert, an older man who watches over Rose Walker. Rose lives with several unlikely allies, but Gilbert is among the most important. He’s essentially family, and he’ll do just about anything to ensure she’s safe. Viewers will recognize Fry from his long acting career, which includes projects like Gosford Park and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Jenna Coleman plays Johanna Constantine

Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine in the cast of 'The Sandman.' She's wearing a white coat, and another woman is behind her.
Jenna Coleman in ‘The Sandman’ | Liam Daniel/Netflix

Previously cast in shows like Victoria and Doctor Who, Jenna Coleman shows up briefly in The Sandman Season 1. Coleman plays Johanna Constantine in the Netflix series, a woman fascinated by the Dreaming — and doing everything she can to learn more about it. Naturally, this catches Dream’s attention, and not necessarily for the better.

Still, Johanna proves a charming character with a heartbreaking backstory of her own. The series spends an entire episode digging into her character, and it also sees Coleman playing one of her ancestors during a later chapter.

Actor Charles Dance captures dream as Sir Roderick Burgess

Charles Dance as Sir Roderick Burgess in 'The Sandman.' He's speaking to another man and holding a drink.
Charles Dance in ‘The Sandman’ | Ed Miller/Netflix

Charles Dance only appears at the beginning of The Sandman, but his role in the cast is one of the most important. After all, Dance’s character — Sir Roderick Burgess — is the one who sets Dream’s story in motion. He’s the man who inadvertently summons the Lord of Dreams while trying to ensnare Death. He’s every bit as unlikable as he sounds, and he’s good at portraying that type of character. After all, he also played Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones.

Joely Richardson plays Ethel Cripps in ‘The Sandman’ cast

Joely Richardson as Ethel Cripps in 'The Sandman' cast. She's holding out an artifact in the photo.
Joely Richardson in ‘The Sandman’ | Netflix

Joely Richardson is one of the most recognizable stars from The Sandman cast, boasting previous roles in Nip/Tuck and The Rook. She doesn’t have a ton of screentime in the new Netflix series, but she gets enough to make an impact.

Richardson plays Ethel Cripps, who finds herself engaged to Roderick Burgess during The Sandman‘s earlier timeline. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she flees his estate and takes some of Dream’s most valuable belongings with her.

You’ll recognize John Dee actor David Thewlis

'The Sandman' cast member David Thewlis as Dr. John Dee. He's sitting at a coutner with a tub of ice cream in front of him.
David Thewlis in ‘The Sandman’ | Liam Daniel/Netflix

Although The Corinthian stirs up much of the trouble that takes place throughout The Sandman, John Dee certainly gives him a run for his money. The son of Roderick Burgess and Ethel Cripps, John finds himself in possession of an object not intended for humans. He attempts to use it to create a “better world” — though that’s probably not how most people would interpret it.

Viewers will no doubt recognize Thewlis from his time playing Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter movies. His character in The Sandman is a far cry from Harry’s Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, but Thewlis’ acting remains compelling.

Patton Oswalt is 1 of the more comical additions to ‘The Sandman’ cast

Matthew in 'The Sandman,' who is a raven voiced by Patton Oswalt. The raven is looking up at a man whose feet can be seen in the photo.
Patton Oswalt as Matthew in ‘The Sandman’ | Netflix

One of the most comical — and lovable — additions to The Sandman cast is Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven. That’s right, Oswalt is flexing his voice acting skills once again. And Matthew adds a fun addition to The Sandman, often providing necessary comic relief.

Matthew was once a human, but he transformed into a raven following his death. Because he died in the Dreaming, he’s a part of Morpheus’ realm. And Matthew persuades Dream to let him accompany him on his adventures. Although the show’s lead is reluctant, viewers will be glad he eventually concedes. Not only does Matthew provide support for Sturridge’s lead, but he offers entertaining quips throughout the series.

These are just the major players featured throughout The Sandman, and there are many other faces to remember. To get to know them all, you’ll have to dig into the series.

The Sandman Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

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