Netflix’s The Sandman is returning for “more episodes” (or season 2, as we’ll call it) after its official renewal in late 2022. Here’s the lowdown on what we’ll refer to as The Sandman season 2, including how well the show performed on Netflix, what to expect from the new episodes, where the show is in production, and lots more. Let’s dive in.
The 10-episode first season of The Sandman arrived on August 5th, 2022, covering the first two volumes of Neil Gaiman’s seminal comics, Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. Following the first season’s release, we saw a bonus animated episode (called Dream of a Thousand Cats / Calliope) drop on August 19th, 2022.
What we saw in the first season of The Sandman merely scratches the surface.
The Sandman comic spans ten core volumes, a prequel, and many spinoffs in the wider “Sandman Universe.” If Netflix wants to complete the saga, there’s potential for many seasons, but will we get them?
When was The Sandman renewed for a season 2?
It took three months, but The Sandman finally got the green light for a season 2 (or more new episodes, as all the press release suggests) on November 3rd, 2022.
As we’ve covered at What’s on Netflix, renewals come down to many factors that aren’t always available to us viewers. You can read about renewal factors that undoubtedly apply to The Sandman here. One of the big things for The Sandman will undoubtedly be its completion rate (the number of people who go on to watch the entire season).
A renewal looked close on November 2nd when a hastily deleted Tweet (with a 21-second video clip), DC Comics let wind that we will get more episodes.
The Tweet stated:
“The Dream continues. Netflix Sandman will return with new episodes based on multiple volumes of the Neil Gaiman graphic novels to explore even more stories of the Endless.”
Netflix then confirmed the renewal hours later with an official statement. Per Netflix:
- The Sandman world will continue to expand.
- The iconic series will return with even more episodes and stories to be adapted from multiple The Sandman graphic novels.
- Episode count and story details are being kept under wraps.
Netflix hasn’t officially called the show’s future season 2 but rather “more episodes.”
“Netflix has not gone on record as calling it a season 2 on purpose,” Mason Alexander Park has explained regarding the terminology of the show’s future. “And so, I will, from now on and in the future, and possibly until the end of the universe not refer to it as season 2 until we know what it is.”
Neil Gaiman, the creator of the comics and an executive producer on the Netflix series, said in a statement on the renewal:
“Millions upon millions of people have welcomed and watched and loved The Sandman on Netflix, from established Sandman fans to people who were simply curious, and then became obsessed with the Lord of Dreams, his family and their goings-on. It gives me unbelievable pleasure to say that, working with Netflix and Warner Bros., Allan Heinberg, David Goyer and I will be bringing even more of The Sandman stories to life. There are some astonishing stories waiting for Morpheus and the rest of them (not to mention more members of the Endless Family to meet). Nobody is going to be happier about this than the Sandman cast and crew: they are the biggest Sandman fans there are. And now it’s time to get back to work. There’s a family meal ahead, after all. And Lucifer is waiting for Morpheus to return to Hell…”
Showrunner Allan Heinberg told Netflix:
“I’m profoundly grateful to Netflix and to Warner Bros. — to the artists and crew who made our first 11 episodes so magical — and to the extraordinary fans of The Sandman, who advocated tirelessly — endlessly — on the show’s behalf and made it possible for us to continue telling Morpheus’ story,”
Up until renewal, Neil Gaiman had been vocal about the prospects of a second season via Twitter and even put doubt on the massive hurdle of getting new episodes.
- Gaiman said that even being number 1 in the top 10s may not be enough to get a season 2, adding, “Because ‘Sandman’ is a really expensive show,”
- Scripts for Season 2 were written in 2022, so they’re “ready to go if we get another season.”
- Asked if the show could be revived elsewhere if Netflix cancels, Gaiman said it could.
Ian Markiewicz, one of the VFX supervisors on The Sandman, spoke about season 2, saying:
“We have a really wonderful framework for what we think season 2 looks like. Allan is still touching up scripts and reworking things, but we have an arc. Up until pretty recently, I think maybe even two weeks or so, Gary, our production designer, myself and Allan meet over lunch, and we will do a script over that meeting. It’s like, “Okay, let’s look at 201,” and we’ll do our breakdowns together, where we do page turns on 201, and we say, “Okay, what do we think? Where can we film this? Can we film this in a real space? If not, what do we need to build, if we need to build it? Are we building this as a physical set, or can it be a building as a virtual set or a combination thereof? Is it physical to a certain extent, and then digital beyond that?” Just trying to break each one down to be like, “What’s the most value for this, what’s the most sensible way that covers the need for what we need it to be?” That process is happening now, which is great, and it’s really fun and exciting to be able to sort of have season 1 and behind us to know what we feel worked there, things that we wanted to sort of finesse further, and how that impacts our approach for season 2.”
How well did The Sandman perform on Netflix?
Netflix Hourly Data for The Sandman
Thanks to a myriad of resources online, we can look at how well the show is performing and benchmark it against other shows.
The biggest numbers we get from Netflix are the hourly viewing figures for the show, which we get every Tuesday. Over a month later, the show remains in the top 5 English shows streaming on Netflix. It’s decaying between 30-41% each week.
Between July 31st and September 18th, The Sandman scored 393.14 million hours watched on Netflix globally before dropping out of Netflix’s top 10 site.
Here’s how the shows hours watched breaks down week to week:
|Week Period||Hours Viewed(M)||Rank||Week in Top 10|
|July 31st, 2022 to August 7th, 2022||69,480,000||1||1|
|August 7th, 2022 to August 14th, 2022||127,500,000 (+84%)||1||2|
|August 14th, 2022 to August 21st, 2022||77,240,000 (-39%)||1||3|
|August 21st, 2022 to August 28th, 2022||53,790,000 (-30%)||2||4|
|August 28th, 2022 to September 4th, 2022||33,320,000 (-38%)||3||5|
|September 4th, 2022 to September 11th, 2022||19,590,000 (-41%)||5||6|
|September 11th, 2022 to September 18th, 2022||12,220,000 (-38%)||10||7|
In our weekly top 10 reports where What’s on Netflix contributor Frédéric Durand used CVE metrics to compare the show against other English language dramas, he put the show at a likely renewal with it tracking better than The Lincoln Lawyer and only just behind Vikings: Valhalla.
If we do direct comparisons of hours of other fledgling shows that have got renewed, The Sandman tracked around the same time as The Lincoln Lawyer and Vikings: Valhalla.
Nielsen Data for The Sandman
We’ve got a few week’s worth of viewing hour data for The Sandman via Nielsen’s top 10s; here’s how it breaks down:
|Week Ending||Nielsen Original Position||Minutes||Hours|
Nielsen captures viewing hours in the United States and pits Netflix shows against titles from Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and Apple TV+.
Completion Data for The Sandman
Completion data will be key for The Sandman, as we outlined above.
Digital i, a London-based SVOD analytics company, has previously provided What’s on Netflix data that suggests completion rates under 50% usually means that shows get the chop.
Sadly, provisional panel-level data (data has not yet been weighted and projected) is not looking good.
Per Digital i:
“Only 43% of those who started it [The Sandman] within the first 4 weeks finished the show during the same time period. We know that the 4 weeks or 28 days time period has historically been important for Netflix when evaluating a series’ success. The fact we haven’t heard about it yet could be good news, as they’re waiting to see whether the show reaches a higher completion rate over 2 or even 3 months.”
Raw Top 10 Data for The Sandman via FlixPatrol
FlixPatrol data tracks the raw top 10s for the show. They suggest that as of September 15th, The Sandman is the 8th most popular TV show in 2022 behind Ozark, Café con aroma de mujer, and All of Us Are Dead.
Their data suggests the show peaked between August 8th and August 11th and showed a steady drop-off over the next few weeks. The heat map below shows where the show is most popular, with the fantasy series performing best in Europe and the Nordics.
In the United States, the show stayed in the TV top 10s until September 9th, 2022.
How about external demand factors? Using stats from Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, Twitter, Torrents, and IMDb, TelevisionStats.com measures the popularity of shows.
Their data indicates that the show was the number 1 show in the world for 10 days but, as of September 14th, had dropped to the 19th show in the world.
What to expect from The Sandman Season 2 on Netflix?
Warning: Spoilers for the comic book are ahead!
Four New Characters to Feature in Season 2 of The Sandman
Let’s begin with the exclusive news we posted in March 2023 that casting was underway for four major characters from the comics.
Characters that will feature in season 2 include:
- Delirium – Female 18-27 – The youngest of the Endless, Delerium inhabits a sometimes ecstatic, sometimes incoherent realm, but she is always actively trying to navigate through it.
- Destruction – Male 36-42 – The Endless sibling who abandoned his realm and is described as rugged, physically imposing, disarmingly handsome with bright, inquisitive eyes, a hearty laugh, and a generous heart.
- Destiny – Male 40-50 – Eldest of the Endless and described as a stoic, all-knowing, monk-like figure who spends his days walking barefoot down the paths of his labyrinth garden.
- Wanda – Transgender female late 20s to early 40s – A driver and security agent for an exclusive high-end travel firm. Will serve as a personal guide and liaison for Dream and Delirium during their time in the waking world.
What does this mean for the story? Well, as SwirlyWords speculates, that means the intention will likely be to adapt parts of Brief Lives and Seasons of Mists in the new batch of episodes.
What’s on Netflix can also reveal that Netflix is also casting the following roles:
- King Auberon
- Queen Titania
In the case of Thor, we’ve been provided with the following character description:
“The Norse Storm God. His hair and beard are unkempt, his body is a mountain, and his voice is thunder. He carries his hammer, Mjollnir, with which he’ll happily threaten anyone in his path. Thor is brusque, rude, quick to anger, and is always game for a fuck or a fight.”
Episode 11 acts as a bridge for Season 2 of The Sandman
Responding to a question on Tumblr about why the last episode of the show has so little to do with the rest of the series, Neil Gaiman responded to “Think of Episode 11 as the bridge into Season 2.”
The Sandman season 2 will combine several short stories
In June 2023, a video circulated of Neil Gaiman talking about the upcoming season:
“It’s an awful lot of fun, because we’re taking some of the short stories and buidling them inot the body of hte main thing. We’ve got ways of flowing from one storyline into the next storyline that we didn’t necessary have. So it’s built and it’s shaped and it’s constructed.”
Likely The Sandman Season 2 storylines: Season of Mists and Brief Lives
Season of Mists will undoubtedly be the largest story arc of season two.
One of the most popular storylines from the entire comic run begins with an Endless family meeting.
This will be the first time we see the family all together, except for Destruction, but that’s an altogether different story. Bear in mind that so far, we’ve only met four of the seven endless: Dream (Tom Sturridge), Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), Desire (Mason Alexander Park), and Despair (Donna Preston).
During the meeting, we once again see Desire scheming. They tease Morpheus about his treatment of his former lover Nada, whom he condemned to Hell. Eventually, he gives in and travels to Hell to free her. Yet, when he arrives in Hell, he finds the realm empty.
It turns out Lucifer has grown tired and abandoned Hell — passing the Key to Hell and, therefore, the responsibility of it to Dream. Of course, Morpheus has his own realm to rule over; he cannot rule Hell. As a result, back in The Dreaming, he is greeted by various immortal beings, each vying to become the next Ruler of Hell.
The Brief Lives story arc is also expected to play a significant role in season 2, given the characters we know that will feature thus far.
In the Brief Lives arc, the central character is Dream and his sister, Delirium, who decides to embark on a quest to find their long-lost brother, Destruction, who has been absent for centuries. Delirium believes that finding Destruction will unite their family and restore their fractured relationships.
We’ve also speculated that season 2 could cover The Song of Orpheus to be adapted too.
Dead Boys Detective Crossover?
We should note that Netflix is also set to be the streaming home of another DC Comics adaptation from the creator, Neil Gaiman, in the form of Dead Boy Detectives. That moved from HBO Max to Netflix while in production.
Dead Boy Detectives is the title of issue #25 of The Sandman comics, taking place in the middle of the Season of Mists story arc. The story tells the tale of a boy, Charles Rowland, staying in a boarding school during the school holidays when Hell is closed and evil spirits return from the dead.
It is unclear whether The Sandman season 2 will cover this issue or whether the story will be told entirely in the upcoming Dead Boy Detectives TV show. In a previous tweet, Neil Gaiman confirmed that the DBD show is set within the same continuity as Netflix’s The Sandman.
Where is The Sandman Season 2 in Production?
Rumors of a Summer 2023 production start for The Sandman began with Mason Alexander Park telling fans at the Fan Expo in San Francisco that they expected to begin filming in the summer.
We learned in March 2023 that filming was scheduled for June 2023 through October 2023. After a holiday break, shooting would return from January 2024 to April 2024. These two periods of filming will be referred to as block one and block two. The working title of the series remains Essex.
Whether the next batch of episodes will have a similar budget (reportedly $15 million an episode).
In June 2023, we got confirmation that filming had started, with filming taking place in London at Shepperton Studio and on-location in late June 2023 in Dorset. Production teams were spotted on the Lulworth Estate, and more filming was taking place on the Durdle Door beach. Additional eyewitness reports suggest that some filming was also taking place in Parkstone Cemetery in Poole.
Spotted filming on the beach is Tom Sturridge returning as Dream and what many speculate to be Ruairi O’Connor (The Morning Show, The Spanish Princess), who has joined the cast.
Of course, one thing to note about the production is that the WGA strike will likely play a role throughout production. Neil Gaiman has been in vocal support of the writer’s strike throughout and provided fans with an update on Tumblr about how the strike could affect production, saying it would ultimately have a negative effect, saying it’ll be “shooting without anyone rewriting the scripts, which were frozen as of May 31st.”
All filming came to a grinding halt in July 2023 because SAG-AFTRA began striking on July 13th. Gaiman noted they’d shot two weeks’ worth of footage before production halted.
In another post, Gaiman said:
“SAG-AFTRA strike is on. Sandman has stopped shooting completely, along with everything else that was squeaking by without writers. I hope that the AMPTP sees reason and gets back to the table with the actors and the writers. I have no reason at this point to think they will see reason.”
When will Season 2 of The Sandman be released on Netflix?
Given the nature of how season 2 is filming, we’re currently inclined to think that we may be getting batches of episodes for The Sandman, but of course, that’s just speculation for now.
Either way, we’re not expecting the show to return to our screens in 2023; instead, airing at some point in very late 2024 or more likely given the ongoing strikes, in 2025.
In the meantime, Warner Bros. plans to release season 1 as a 4K UHD release (alongside a DVD and Blu-ray) in November 2023.
Would you like to see season 2 of The Sandman on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below.