After Lucifer Fan Asks Why Tom Ellis Isn't Reprising Role For Netflix's Sandman Series, Creator Neil Gaiman Answered

tom ellis as lucifer on lucifer and gwendoline christie as lucifer on the sandman
(Image credit: Netflix)

Fans of author Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comic book series have been hoping, praying, and waiting for Dream’s story to be adapted for many, many years now. After decades of false starts, we’ll finally be able to watch an actual television show based on the ever-popular property once The Sandman can be viewed with our Netflix subscriptions in the near future. While we were all waiting for The Sandman, though, a little show called Lucifer became quite popular, with Tom Ellis’ portrayal of the titular character being based in Gaiman’s Sandman lore. Now that a Lucifer fan has asked why Ellis won’t be reprising his role for the new series, Gaiman has responded, and in a way that all Sandman fans will likely agree with.

What Did Neil Gaiman Say About Why Tom Ellis Isn’t Playing Lucifer In The Sandman?

For those who never got on the Lucifer train when the show was either on Fox or after its move to Netflix after a cancellation that upset many viewers, the supernatural police procedural starring Tom Ellis as the Devil himself, was based on The Sandman spinoff comics by Neil Gaiman. So, it makes a lot of sense that Lucifer fans would want to know why Tom Ellis has been replaced as the mischievous character by Game of Thrones alum Gwendoline Christie. After one fan asked that very question on Twitter, Gaiman responded:

Because his Lucifer, while inspired by the Lucifer in Sandman, is so far away in terms of Sandman continuity by the end of LUCIFER, that it's easier on everyone to go back to the version in the comics. And this way you don't know what our Lucifer is going to do. Tom's is lovable.

Speak. The. TRUTH, Neil Gaiman! Alright, Lucifer fans, do not come for us! We love Tom Ellis and what he brought to the character on his show. Truth be told though, Gaiman is completely correct. The Lucifer that you got on the Netflix series (which wrapped things up nicely when it ended in September of 2021) was very different from the one in the comics, with his story also being very different. Ellis’ version of Lucifer, if you take away his angelic powers, is basically a really naughty Bridgerton-style rake, while Gaiman’s Lucifer is…way fucking scarier because he cares little for humanity, despite the fact that he also doesn’t make anyone commit evil acts.

As mentioned, the storylines for these (not really) competing Lucifers also diverge quite a bit. Both abandoned Hell to live in Los Angeles and run a nightclub / piano bar called Lux with Mazikeen, but that’s about where the similarities in plot end. So, even though Gaiman (and some comic book fans) still have respect for Tom Ellis’ "lovable" Lucifer, what The Sandman series needed was to create a character more in line with the one seen in those original Neil Gaiman stories and surprise Lucifer viewers.

Hopefully, it won’t be long now for The Sandman (which also stars Tom Sturridge, Jenna Coleman, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Patton Oswalt, Charles Dance, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, and many more) to debut as part of the 2022 Netflix TV schedule. When it does, you can bet that millions of people will be there to take in all of the supernatural drama, as well as Gwendoline Christie’s Lucifer in all of the character’s dangerous glory.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.