The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman recently opened up as to why Welsh actor Tom Ellis, who portrayed Lucifer in the Fox and Netflix spin-off based on the same in-universe character, would not reprise his role as the devilish Lucifer in Netflix’s adaptation of the classic Vertigo comic series.
It’s an academic fact that, when it comes to multiple adaptations of the same material, recasting happens. Unfortunately, such a practice being a known part of the Hollywood game doesn’t make such changes any easier on fans who have come to love an actor’s particular interpretation of a character.
Speaking with fans on Tumblr who were upset that Ellis was not continuing on in the role that made his career, Gaiman explained that the change was made because “the theology and cosmogony of Lucifer is a long way from Sandman’s.”
“It’s “inspired by” Sandman,” Gaiman said of the Lucifer series. “but you can’t easily retrofit the Lucifer version to get back to Sandman, if you see what I mean.”
He concluded, “It seemed easier and more fun to have the Sandman version of Lucifer be, well, much closer to the Sandman version of Lucifer.”
In other words, the Lucifer in the original graphic novel barely resembles the Devil played by Ellis in his titular series. However, that said, Ellis’ interpretation was closer to the source material, where the former ruler of Hell presented as male.
Being a fallen angel, and thus technically genderless, Christie’s Lucifer will likely present a much more androgynous take on the character, much like Tilda Swinton did when she played the Archangel Garbiel in Constantine (and, for that matter, the Ancient One in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Seeing as Sandman’s Lucifer was modeled after David Bowie, an injection of androgyny may be the goal of Christie’s casting.
Gaiman has admitted that he is delighted that Christie has been cast, writing on Twitter, “I’m so very glad that @lovegwendoline is the Ruler of Hell in Sandman on @netflix,” shortly after the full casting list for The Sandman was announced.
Christie will be joined by Tom Sturridge as Dream, Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, and Taron Egerton in an undisclosed role believed by many to be the salty wizard John Constantine.
As of writing, no official premiere date has been announced for Netflix’s The Sandman.
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