Like many subscribers I've been bingeing The Sandman on Netflix, the beautiful, thrilling and often very funny adaptation of Neil Gaiman's legendary comic book. But binge-watching has an element of bittersweetness to it, because while I'm having a rare old time I know I'll miss the series when I've binged the final episode. So I'm delighted to hear from Netflix that it was keeping a secret: a brand new two-part episode that you can stream right now.
The new episode is a two-parter based on two of the most popular Sandman stories, Calliope and A Dream of a Thousand Cats, and "...Cats" is a mix of live action and animation – so presumably it's going to be even more dreamlike than the episodes we've seen so far. According to award-winning animator Hisko Hulsing, "we endeavored to make the animated version of A Dream of a Thousand Cats as mesmerizing and hypnotic as we could by utilizing the magic of real oil paintings on canvas. We combined the paintings with classically drawn 2D animation, based on realistic 3D animation of telepathic cats in order to create a trippy world that feels both grounded and dreamy at the same time."
It'll sound pretty special too. Wait till you see the cast list.
Which actors appear in The Sandman Episode 11?
In addition to Neil Gaiman himself voicing Crow/Skull Bird, the cast includes Tom Sturridge as Morpheus and a stellar cast that includes David Tennant, Sandra Oh, Diane Morgan, Michael Sheen, James McAvoy and Joe Lycett.
The other part of the episode, Calliope, is live action with director Louise Hooper (The Witcher, Flesh and Blood, and the Lost Hearts episode of Sandman season 1) at the helm and a cast including Derek Jacobi, Anita Shuman and Arthur Davill – as well as Nina Wadia, Souad Faress and Dinita Gohil, reprising their roles as the three Fates. Calliope is played by Melissanthi Mahut (Assassin's Creed: Odyssey).
What's particularly tantalising about this is that Netflix hasn't yet filmed – or at least, made available – all of the stories in the books it's made Season 1 from. Could another Sandman extra episode drop while we wait for Season 2? For many Sandman fans, that'd be a Midsummer Night's Dream come true.