If The Sandman has taught you anything, it should be that sometimes pretty remarkable things can happen while you sleep.
Just in case you haven’t yet heard the news, The Sandman dropped a surprise bonus episode last night at midnight. And not just any episode. This two-part standalone chapter kicks off by adapting one of the most popular Sandman stories to emerge out of the original comic series: “A Dream of a Thousand Cats.” This story, told entirely from a cats-eye point of view, suggests that today’s status quo of humans keeping cats for pets may not have always been the case. We don’t want to say too much more in case you haven’t yet seen or read it, but know that “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” represents Neil Gaiman at some of his most playful and imaginative. (Though as some people on social media have already pointed out, you might not want to watch the episode with your cats…just in case it gives them any ideas.)
Netflix’s “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” is brought to life through some remarkable animation that utilizes real oil paintings on canvas. According to director and production designer Hisko Hulsing, the paintings were combined with classically drawn 2D animation that was based on realistic 3D animation of the cats resulting in a true feast for the eyes.
“A Dream of a Thousand Cats” also features some noteworthy actors voicing the cats and other creatures you meet throughout the episode (including a handful of humans). Sandra Oh takes on the key role of “The Prophet,” while Rosie Day voices the central “Tabby Kitten,” James McAvoy embodies the “Golden-Haired Man,” David Tennant and Georgia Tennant voice Don and Laura Lynn, Michael Sheen is Paul, Anna Lundberg plays Marion and Gaiman himself cameos as “The Crow/Skull Bird.”
The bonus episode also adapts the standalone story “Calliope,” which shows what happens when an author struggling with writer’s block takes possession of one of the original Greek muses. Unlike its preceding tale, the “Calliope” segment is live action and features Arthur Darvill as Richard Madoc, Melissanthi Mahut as the muse Calliope and the legendary Derek Jacobi as Erasmus Fry. “Calliope” also features the return of the three Fates and yes, Tom Sturridge as Morpheus.
Together, the two stories form half of what is The Sandman’s third graphic novel volume, Dream Country. As fans likely know, Dream Country differs from its two preceding volumes, Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House in that it’s a collection of standalone tales rather than one serialized narrative. Will we see its other two chapters adapted at the start of a potential season two? The third story in Dream Country is the World Fantasy Award-winning “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”…so let’s hope so.
But if you don’t want to leave your chance to discover what’s next up to fate (we know how testy she can be), you can now read the rest of Dream Country, as well as everything that comes after it as the entirety of The Sandman’s core series has now been added to DC UNIVERSE INFINITE for the first time. Now you can read all of the comics that were adapted for The Sandman’s debut season, plus later storylines like the phenomenal Season of Mists (were you wondering what Lucifer was cooking up in that final episode 10 scene?) and A Game of You (which reveals what happens to Barbie after she leaves the cheating Ken). If you’re new to the comic series, we do suggest starting from the beginning and there’s never been a better time than now. The first eight issues of The Sandman are free-to-read to anyone who registers for the site (you’ll need a subscription for the rest) and you can discuss them with fellow fans right now in the Official DC Book Club over in the DC Community. Many of the book club participants are reading The Sandman for the first time as well.
Taken together, these two surprise Sandman drops mean one truly enticing thing—the dream’s not over yet.
All eleven episodes of The Sandman, starring Tom Sturridge as Morpheus, are now streaming on Netflix. For more dreams, fables and recollections, visit our official Sandman TV page.