After years of attempts (and decades of fans' fervent wishes), The Sandman has finally been adapted for the small screen. Based on Neil Gaiman's 75-volume DC Comics series, the fantasy saga depicts a world where the Endless—personifications of human phenomena like dreams, death, and desire—perform their duties and keep balance in the world (while also butting heads with each other and other non-human beings).
Now that the first season has hit no. 1 on Netflix, and millions of fans have watched Dream's journey to reestablish his power after over a century's imprisonment, we need the details on when the next batch of episodes might hit the streamer. Luckily, the show's creative team (which includes Gaiman himself and showrunner Allan Heinberg) are already thinking ahead to a possible Sandman television universe.
How does 'The Sandman' season 1 end?
The first season of the Netflix adaptation spans the first two volumes of the comic series' timeline. It included the answer to Rose Walker's fate, as Unity Kincaid sacrificed herself to become the new vortex, followed by Dream declaring a new era now that he's more in touch with humanity. He also confronts Desire, who apparently set off the whole vortex saga while Dream was imprisoned, as their latest scheme against the king of Dreams.
The big cliffhanger comes with the show's last scene in Hell, which reveals that Lucifer is still angry after Dream defeated her in episode 3. She now has a plan to bring down Dream, using with the armies of Hell to invade the Dreaming, the Waking World, and "one day, even the Silver City." The season ends with Lucifer promising to do something that will "make God absolutely livid, and bring Morpheus to his knees."
Has 'The Sandman' been renewed for season 2?
Yes! Netflix finally announced (opens in new tab) the show's renewal this week, three months after the series' premiere. The confirmation also came with a quote from Gaiman, reading, "There are some astonishing stories waiting for Morpheus & the rest of them… Now it’s time to get back to work. There’s a family meal ahead... And Lucifer is waiting for Morpheus to return to Hell."
The official renewal comes as good news to fans wondering when the green light would come through, especially since the show's creative team had already been planning new episodes. In an interview with Den of Geek (opens in new tab), executive producer David S. Goyer revealed writing for season 2 is already underway. Whenever the highly-likely green light comes through, filming can hopefully begin quickly.
The creative team has also been thinking ahead for the show's entire run, with Gaiman telling Bustle (opens in new tab) that season 1's production even included filming some scenes that would be necessary in the far-off future.
"We’ve shot footage in Season 1 that we would need if we ever get to Season 5. It’s there, and it’s stored,” Gaiman told the outlet. "We know how we would do the entire Sandman storyline up to and including the last one, Sandman Overture."
As for when we could expect new episodes, the vast scope of the series, which balances VFX and practical effects to make those stunning scenes, means that production takes a while. The first season began filming in October 2020 and just made it to Netflix in August 2022. Even with a speedier schedule, we'll probably at least be waiting until early 2024.
Who in the cast will return for 'The Sandman' season 2?
Season 1 of The Sandman had a lot going on, with two arcs—Dream's journey to regain his symbols of power, and his mission to contain the vortex/Rose—propelling the sprawling plot. The fantasy falls along the lines of anthologized shows like Doctor Who, where one main protagonist and his companions/helpers go from place to place, having mini-adventures that feed into the fight against a main antagonist. Season 1's overall baddie was The Corinthian, but the story's done with him by the finale, as well as with the Burgess family and Rose & Co.
The best bets for who will return next season are found among the Endless and the residents of the Dreaming. That includes Tom Sturridge (Dream), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Death), Mason Alexander Park (Desire), Vivienne Acheampong (Lucienne), Patton Oswalt (Matthew the Raven), and Gwendoline Christie (Lucifer).
As for the supporting characters among the living, several of season 1's characters are either mentioned or pop up again throughout the comics' run. Between re-appearances and flashbacks, we may get appearances from those who had bigger arcs, like Charles Dance (Roderick Burgess), David Thewlis (John Dee), Jenna Coleman (Johanna Constantine), Razane Jammal (Lyta Hall), or Vanesu Samunyai (Rose Walker).
What would 'The Sandman' season 2 be about?
Season 1's epic final scene sets up Lucifer Morningstar to be the overall Big Bad of season 2. This will take the TV adaptation through the comics' Season of Mists storyline, in which Lucifer leaves Dream to handle the fallout of an unexpected choice. In a Variety (opens in new tab) interview, Gaiman expressed his excitement over the ruler of Hell and the King of Dreams' rematch.
"I take too much f***ing pleasure in saying to people who do not know anything about what’s coming up in 'Sandman,' 'If we do Season 2, we’re going to be having the rematch and Morpheus is going to be going back to hell. And Lucifer has some surprises in store that Morpheus is not expecting.' And they are all like, 'Ahh!' And I’m like, 'Yeah, and I know how that’s going to work, and you don’t. And everybody who’s ever read Season of Mists knows how that’s going to work and you don’t. But that’s good because not everybody will have read Season of Mists and this is going to be so much fun.”
The story of Dream and his ancient love-interest Nada is also a large part of the Season of Mists, and Heinberg confirmed in a Rolling Stone (opens in new tab) interview that season 2 would include the story of how the two fell in love and how she ended up in Hell. Dream and Nada's relationship was already teased in episode four of season 1, where Nada (Deborah Oyelade) was introduced as the woman in Hell who recognized Dream (played in another form by Ernest Kingsley Jr.), calling him "Kai-ckul." Dream later explains to Matthew the Raven that they used to be in love, and that she was in Hell because she "defied" him.
Season 2 will actually go even beyond the Season of Mists storyline. In an interview with RadioTimes (opens in new tab), Gaiman confirmed that season 2 will cover stories from the next three volumes of the comics (Dream Country, Season of Mists, and A Game of You). "Our plans for the second season is the second two graphic novels, which technically, in this case, will be books four and five, with some bits of the short stories in book three scattered among some other stuff," he told the outlet.
This means season 2 may have a similar set-up as season 1, with one overall arc focusing on the Endless and other immortals, with a second focusing on a mortal. A Game of You brings back Barbie (Lily Travers), Rose's blonde friend who seemed to be heading for a divorce from her husband Ken (Richard Fleeshman). The fifth volume sees the divorcée returning to her dreamland (which we saw in season 1) after her animal sidekick Martin Tenbones appears in the waking world. She has to face off against the villain of her dreams, the Cuckoo, with the help of Dream.
We're also guaranteed to meet the rest of the Endless over the course of the series. In addition to Dream, Death, and Desire, who show up in season 1 (along with a brief appearance by Despair), there's also Destiny, Delirium, and Destruction (Spoiler alert: Destruction is the missing Prodigal mentioned in season 1). An Endless family gathering sets off the events of Season of Mists, it's pretty much guaranteed that Destiny and Delirium will show up at some point in season 2.
What have the cast and crew said about 'The Sandman' season 2?
Both Gaiman and Heinberg have made their intentions for the series clear, saying in several interviews that they have plans for multiple seasons and even spin-offs. During the show's London premiere, Heinberg told NME (opens in new tab), "We’ve got as many as they’ll let us have. If enough viewers show up, we can go for quite a long while. We want to do all of it, we want a spin-off miniseries. We’d love to make it for as long as they’ll have us."
Heinberg also told Rolling Stone that the show could depict more of the side characters' stories if the show is successful enough to get multiple seasons, pointing out Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman) as an interesting character
"In success, we could talk about doing all kinds of things," he told the outlet. "If we’re able to do more standalone anthology issues, then it would take longer than if we were just staying on Dream’s track. And we’d love to do more Johanna Constantine in the present. The Corinthian could return, because he’s not really in the comic again – except for one cameo – until later. So it depends on what people respond to, and how many viewers we have and how much success we have as a Season One show. It could go on for quite some time, if we had the viewers."
Dream himself, Tom Sturridge, has also opened up about what he's looking forward to exploring later in the series, saying that he'd like to explore the Endless' complicated family dynamic.
"I think it would be exciting to have all of the Endless in the same room," the actor told Bustle. "And to see how that family of extraordinary beings interacts with each other."