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James McAvoy to star in Neil Gaiman’s new Sandman audio adaptation

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The Vertigo comic becomes an Audible exclusive in July

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Morpheus holds a finger to his lips while sand slips from his fingers in a panel from Sandman Image: DC Comics

After over 30 years in various stages of development, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s seminal Sandman comic is finally arriving this summer.

Announced on Wednesday, The Sandman, a multi-part Audible Original drama series, will arrive to the podcast and audiobook platform on July 15. Adapted and directed by accomplished audio dramatist Dirk Maggs, and overseen by Gaiman, who serves as creative director, executive producer and narrator, the new adaptation stars James McAvoy (His Dark Materials, the X-Men films) as Dream, a godlike being who, after being imprisoned by an occultist for 70 years, finds himself on a quest to rebuild his ethereal kingdom. The podcast is set to adapt the first three volumes of the graphic novel series: Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, and Dream Country). Gaiman’s series originally ran from 1989 to 1996, but has since been continued in a number of directions.

Joining McAvoy in the cast are Riz Ahmed as the Corinthian (a nightmare), Justin Vivian Bond as Desire (Dream’s sibling), Arthur Darvill as William Shakespeare (yep, that one), Kat Dennings as Death (Dream’s sister), Taron Egerton as John Constantine (yep, that one), William Hope as Doctor Destiny (a supervillain), Josie Lawrence as Mad Hettie, Miriam Margolyes as Despair (Dream’s other sister), Samantha Morton as Urania Blackwell (a superhero), Reginald D. Hunter as the Martian Manhunter (a superhero), Bebe Neuwirth as the Siamese Cat, Andy Serkis as Matthew the Raven (Dream’s familiar), and Michael Sheen as Lucifer (yep, that one).

“This is a rich audio adaptation of The Sandman Graphic Novels, brilliantly crafted by Dirk Maggs, with an all-star cast,” Neil Gaiman in a statement from the original announcement. “I’ve loved being there to talk casting, there to read the scripts and offer occasional advice, and there in the studios, watching magic get made and recording the narration. I can’t wait until the world hears what we’ve done.”

“This audio iteration of The Sandman is huge in scope and ambition and based exclusively on Neil’s original notes and scripts for his iconic DC series. Our production dives deep into Neil’s imagination, as if he is writing these tales beside us, lifting out details and story elements few have been privy to until now,” added Maggs. “Audio uniquely complements the comic book artists’ visual imagination and Neil’s creative brilliance, while our amazing cast and Jim Hannigan’s music add new emotional punch. This project’s three-decade incubation period has been worth every minute of the wait. It’s the very essence of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.”

Audible will roll out the first part of the series on July 15, but Audible didn’t specify how many installments are in the works. The podcast is just the beginning of Sandman fever: Announced last July, Netflix is also in the works on a TV adaptation of the series, shepherded by The Dark Knight screenwriter David S. Goyer.

More information on pre-ordering the audio drama can be found on Audible’s website.