Who can be the series' best defender if not the author himself?
'The Sandman' is getting its screen adaptation after more than three decades of waiting – both by fans and by the graphic novel's author, Neil Gaiman. But now that the upcoming adaptation is about to hit screens, many people are blasting it for being "woke" – mainly because of a wide range of female characters and color-blind casting.
Among the casting decisions that some social media users took issue with were Black actress Kirby Howell-Baptise portraying Death, non-binary actor Mason Alexander Park playing Desire, and Gwendoline Christie reprising the role of Lucifer.
Neil Gaiman decided to not tolerate the wave of Internet trolls who occasionally take to Twitter to bring up the "woke" accusations, despite never having heard of 'The Sandman' before.
"I know the rule is you're meant to ignore the trolls and not feed the trolls. But I would look at people sounding off on '[The] Sandman' who were obviously not '[The] Sandman' fans. What I would watch would be 60,000 '[The] Sandman' fans going, 'Of course you're doing it this way. Of course you have a non-binary Desire, Desire was always non-binary, that's brilliant casting.' Or 'Gwendoline as Lucifer, what amazing casting.' And then you'd get five or six people trying to make a lot of fuss who never read Sandman in the first place. And I mostly decided I was done with it," Gaiman told Yahoo Entertainment at San Diego Comic-Con.
On his Twitter account, Gaiman would mercilessly fend off people who take issue with "Death not being white enough" or Lucifer being "gender-swapped". The writer acknowledges that he sometimes feels like he is using "an enormous sledgehammer to squash the tiniest ants", but he just can't help it because of how proud he is of what he and 'The Sandman' team made.
It seems that his cast couldn't be more grateful to Gaiman for his fierce defense. Park praised him for taking his time to "clap back" at people who "say certain things that aren't necessarily in line with the original context". Christie, in her turn, said she wrote to Gaiman to thank him for standing up for his actors.
"I'm very moved by the love and responsibility he feels for his co-creators. And I appreciate it with all of my heart," she said.
'The Sandman' premieres on Netflix on August 5.