How did you guys spend your long weekend? Did you hang out with friends and family (vaccinated folks, I hope)? Perhaps, you just stayed inside and watched movies or read a book? Well, if you’re Neil Gaiman, acclaimed writer/novelist/TV producer, you took to Twitter to fight back against the toxic fandom that seems to be all up in arms about the casting of the upcoming Netflix adaptation of “Sandman.”
For those unaware, “Sandman” is a new Netflix series that is currently in production and is the long-awaited adaptation of the iconic comic book series of the same name written by Neil Gaiman. You would think fans of the comic book series would be incredibly excited to finally know the story is getting the full support of a major studio and will bring to life the characters that have been so beloved for decades. Well, this is 2021 and the internet is the internet. We can’t ever have good things.
Almost immediately upon the recent announcement of the full cast of “Sandman,” a group of outspoken, toxic fans (aka trolls) took to social media to cry foul as established characters were set to be played by folks with different gender identities and different ethnicities. Specifically, the role of Death, played in the show by Kirby Howell-Baptiste, stoked debate as the character is portrayed by a Black woman in the show when she is white in the comics. (Though it really shouldn’t matter anyway, as the character is the physical embodiment of a metaphysical idea and not based on an actual human, but I digress.)
So, in response to the various tweets Gaiman saw on Twitter about how he was crazy to make “Sandman” a series with a diverse and inclusive cast, the writer took to social media to take these trolls to task.
Perhaps the most pointed reply came from Gaiman’s response to a fan that accused him of “not giving a fuck” about his own work. You know, because he had the nerve to cast a (*gasp*) Black woman as a comic book character.
“I give all the fucks about the work. I spent 30 years successfully battling bad movies of ‘Sandman,’” tweeted Gaiman. “I give zero fucks about people who don’t understand/ haven’t read Sandman whining about a non-binary Desire or that Death isn’t white enough. Watch the show, make up your minds.”
One upset person talked about how Gaiman should have cast a Black person in any other role “if the point was to help represent black people as visible in western culture,” Gaiman wasn’t having that argument either.
“No, the point was to find someone who could believably say those lines, embody the character of Death, and boss Tom Sturridge’s Morpheus around in a big sisterly way. We saw lots of auditions of actresses of all skin colours,” he tweeted in response.
When another disappointed “fan” talked about how the casting of “Sandman” makes it feel like “another story with another characters,” Gaiman shot back, “No, no it really isn’t.”
Absolutely. So what is it that’s changed that you think the fans won’t like? Because I’m watching the Dailies and the rough cuts, and it’s about as Sandman as it can possibly be, and she’s still the Death you loved.
Ultimately, Gaiman summed up his feelings about everything involving “Sandman” and the casting by tweeting, “There are people who like ‘Sandman,’ and people who like other things. For 34 years I’ve written ‘Sandman’ for the kind of people who like Sandman and not really worried about the people who don’t. Why change now?”
“Sandman” is in production now and a release date has yet to be announced.