Featuring the likes of David Thewlis, Charles Dance, Gwendoline Christie, and more, Netflix's adaptation of The Sandman is undeniably star-studded. But there's one very famous cast member who isn't exactly seen on screen throughout its ten episodes: Mark Hamill.
In the show, the Star Wars legend lends his voice to Mervyn Pumpkinhead, the chain-smoking, straight-talking, joke-cracking janitor who looks after The Dreaming for Tom Sturridge's titular Morpheus. With the series now on Netflix, Neil Gaiman and showrunner Allan Heinberg explain to Total Film how the Luke Skywalker actor came to be involved in the adaptation.
"We got [Mark Hamill] in the same way that we got an awful lot of people, which is that there are Sandman fans out there," Gaiman says. "You know, Patton Oswalt [who voices Matthew the Raven], I first encountered back in 1992 when he stood in line for three hours to get his copy of Sandman: Season of Mists signed, so we got to sort of punch above our weight. Mark Hamill loved the comics. I remember talking with [Allan] about what Merv's voice should sound like, I don't remember which one of us suggested Mark Hamill, but we never really thought we'd get him."
"I mean, he's brilliant," Heinberg chimes in. "In addition to his film work, he's a brilliant voice actor and my favourite Joker of all time from Batman: The Animated Series. So he's at the top of our lists, always, for that sort of thing."
"We were very lucky with Sandman in that we kept getting the people who were at the top of our lists," Gaiman recalls. "You know, Stephen Fry agreed to be Gilbert, because Stephen Fry loves Sandman, and wanted to do that and wanted to be that. So it gives us a little magic power that we wouldn't otherwise have in casting."
Also starring Boyd Holbrook, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Joely Richardson, and Jenna Coleman, The Sandman lifts storylines straight from Gaiman's graphic novels. It follows Dream (Sturridge), a powerful cosmic being who is forced to cross different worlds to retrieve his tools and stop rogue Nightmares after being imprisoned for over a century by a ruthless magic user. Turns out, the latter had been trying to capture Death in the hope of resurrecting his dead son, but the spell went awry. Morpheus was mixed up in it – and his absence has caused chaos across Earth, Hell, and all that in between.
It is available to stream now. If dark fantasy isn't your bag, and you're overwhelmed by the amount of content on the streamer, then check out our guide to the best Netflix shows for some viewing inspiration.