Neil Gaiman hits back at “fans” criticising the casting of nonbinary and black actors

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The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman has hit back at so-called “fans” who have been publicly criticising Netflix’s upcoming series adaptation for casting nonbinary and black actors.

Gaiman later added that he doubts that the people criticising the castings had even read Sandman after an actual fan noted that Desire was always nonbinary. “You’d have to have read the comics to know that. And the shouty people appear to have skipped that step,” he wrote.

The backlash stems from the castings of Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, who is visually depicted as white in the comics, and nonbinary performer Mason Alexander Park as Desire – a character who is even explicitly depicted as nonbinary in Gaiman’s original work. However, Death was never written as Caucasian but is merely drawn with pale white skin to show the concept of death.

The Sandman follows “the adventures of Morpheus, lord of dreams and member of a pantheon of immortal beings called The Endless who personify certain universal concepts that, along with dream, includes death, desire, destiny, delirium, despair, and destruction.”

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The series will star Tom Sturridge (Sweetbitter) as Dream, Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) as Lucifer, Vivienne Acheampong (The Witches) as Lucienne, Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) as Rodrick Burgess, Sanjeev Bhaskar (Unforgotten) as Cain, Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing) as Abel and Boyd Holbrook (Logan) as The Corinthian, Kirby Howell-Baptise (The Good Place), Patton Oswalt (Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.), Mason Alexander Park (Transplants), Donna Preston (Loves Spell), Razane Jammal (Paranormal), Joely Richardson (Snowden), Niamh Walsh (Good Omens), David Thewlis (Wonder Woman), Stephen Fry (The Man Who Knew Infinity), Jenna Coleman (Victoria), Sandra James Young (EastEnders) and newcomer Kyo Ra.

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