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The Real Reason Tom Ellis Isn't Reprising Lucifer For Netflix's Sandman Series

"Lucifer" had something of the unusual run when it comes to television shows. The series, which is based on the character from "The Sandman" comics created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg, aired for three seasons on Fox before being surprisingly canceled. After a big fan campaign, premium streaming network Netflix picked "Lucifer" (via TV Line) up for an additional three seasons, and it finished up in late 2021. The series proved to be a big success for Netflix, and the final season garnered an incredible 1.5 million viewing minutes during its first week on the service (per IndieWire).

Either way, the show's popularity obviously led to questions over whether or not series star Tom Ellis would reprise his role in the upcoming Netflix adaptation of "The Sandman." However, in early 2021, "Game of Thrones" star Gwendoline Christie was unexpectedly cast in the role of Lucifer instead (per Deadline). This, of course, has not stopped fans from wondering exactly why Ellis was not brought back for "The Sandman." Now, thanks to someone very close to the property, fans finally have a definitive answer.

Neil Gaiman says Tom Ellis' Lucifer is too different from the comic version

Recently, Neil Gaiman was asked why they didn't bring back Tom Ellis for the role of Lucifer in "The Sandman," and Gaiman gave a pretty succinct answer on his Twitter. "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," he explained in the tweet. "And this way you don't know what our Lucifer is going to do. Tom's is lovable."

It's honestly a fair point by Gaiman. While "Lucifer" was heavily inspired by the comic book character, the show never embraced any of his comic stories. Instead, "Lucifer" was more akin to police procedural shows while mostly putting most of its fantasy elements on the backburner. Plus, over the course of six seasons, the character went through a lot of development, which culminated in Lucifer mostly overcoming his darker nature and actually becoming quite likable. Starting over fresh with Gwendoline Christie arguably removes the expectation that the character will act as the "Lucifer" version of the character that would naturally occur if Ellis were to reprise the role.