Why is Death Black in 'The Sandman'? Here's Neil Gaiman's Explanation

Image credit: Legion-Media

If you're still not over racially diverse casting of 'The Sandman', maybe the writer himself can explain it to you.

In Netflix's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's graphic novel 'Sandman', Death is portrayed by British actress Kirby Baptiste-Howell, who is Black – and that appeared to be an issue for many people, even those who have never read the novel before Netflix announced the show.

The showrunners, as well as Gaiman himself, were accused of bowing to the "woke" movement by introducing a diverse cast. However, Gaiman – a big fan of online communication with both fans and critics – was quick to weigh in the disputes and defend the casting.

"If it makes it easier, assume it was Franklin's death," Gaiman tweeted, responding to one of the tweets taking issue with Death casting. "Everyone else she visited saw their own Death. We stuck with Franklin's, because human brains were never intended to process the Endless."

According to Gaiman's canon, this is true to every Endless, not just Death. For instance, Dream also looks like a pale young man most of the time, but he is perceived by different people differently – and even animals see him as an animal.

Many fans are perfectly fine with the way Gaiman sees it.

"This also makes that Dream is White because Alex is White. As an audience, we continue with the characters as we meet them; they change when it makes sense for the story to showcase that ability," one fan noted on Reddit.

Baptiste-Howell's performance has been largely praised by fans, with people noting that it was refreshing to see a version of Death that is kind and delicate rather than intimidating and merciless.

'The Sandman' is currently streaming on Netflix.

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