Friends, by now many of us know that the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s metaphysical graphic novel series Sandman is coming to Netflix. Those of us who have been following the project are also aware of the fact that the show has nailed down much of its core cast… And herein lies the butthurt of many a basement-dwelling, gatekeeping, bigoted troglodyte, who has seemingly never cracked the cover of a Gaiman book.
There are seven of these core characters. The Endless, as they are known, are: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium/Delight and Destruction.
Recently, it was revealed that the character of Desire would be played by nonbinary actor Mason Alexander Park, and that the character of Death would be played by Kirby Howell-Baptiste – an actress of color. Apparently, some of these mental marvels who are whining in their tattered tighty-whities don’t comprehend that these are personifications of intangible archetypes.
Let’s first examine the character of Desire. Canonically, the character does not adhere to a gender binary. Throughout the story, their appearance morphs across the gender spectrum as a way of illustrating this point. They’re described as a strikingly beautiful & androgynous figure of gender-fluidity. They act simply from the emotion from which their name derives, and nothing more. The character is non-binary. Let them be played by a non-binary actor.
Then there’s Death. Death is the omnipresent figure lurking in the background of the universe, giving the first breath of life to all things, and “locking the universe” when she leaves at the end. In Gaiman’s graphic novel, Death is depicted as a lithe, young-looking woman with very pale skin, and long jet-black hair. In this case, the aforementioned troglodytes seem to have seized on the “pale skin” part. In the character’s description, however, the character is never described as “white” or “Caucasian”. In fact, if you look at the way the coloration is done in the books, she looks more translucent grey than anything else.
Let’s also not forget that another of Gaiman’s characters has also been race-swapped from page to screen – yet she has remained a fan favorite:
By their very nature, the notions of Death, Despair, Desire, Dreams, Destiny, Delirium and Destruction have:
- No gender
- No race
- No color
- No creed
- No age
Those are human constructs. They are as important to these eternal forces as the thoughts of a rodent are to a bird of prey. They are neither black nor white, left nor right, up nor down. They simply ARE.
Those who are frothing with impotent rage at the casting for this series should take heed of what Neil Gaiman himself said when he talked about Desire being non-binary: “You’d have to have read the comics to know that. And the shouty people appear to have skipped that step.”
So, to all those who would rather piss and moan about this cast list, maybe pick up a comic before challenging a story’s creator ON THEIR OWN CHARACTERS.