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How Neil Gaiman Almost Spoiled The Secret 11th Episode Of The Sandman Season 1

"The Sandman" fans were thrilled when, in 2019, Netflix first announced an 11-episode season based on the legendary comics (via Bleeding Cool). Of course, when Season 1 did finally drop in 2022, it did so with only ten episodes. However, places like IMDb still listed 11 episodes — and studious fans took note. "Why does IMDb say there are 11 episodes when there are only ten?" u/zgale98 posted on "The Sandman" subreddit.

Indeed, two weeks after the first ten episodes of Season 1 hit Netflix, a "surprise" 11th episode followed. Showrunner Allan Heinberg acknowledged that some fans may have paid closer attention to the announcement of 11 episodes. "There may have been hints earlier," he told Variety. "So I think we were a little bit like, 'Have we let the cat out of the bag?' before we even knew there were cats in the bag, but we did the best we could." Luckily, by the time it was officially announced that "The Sandman" was getting a two-part bonus episode, it seems that many had forgotten about that initial 11-episode order, and fans largely felt like they were receiving an exciting gift, and not something that had been planned all along. But writer Neil Gaiman remembers how he almost spoiled the secret on more than one occasion.

Neil Gaiman struggled to keep The Sandman's 11th episode under wraps

While speaking with Variety about the two-part 11th episode of "The Sandman" Season 1, Neil Gaiman revealed that he almost spoiled the surprise on multiple occasions. Gaiman said that in addition to tweeting out the cover of a fictional book that features prominently in the "Calliope" portion of Episode 11, he also nearly spoiled the existence of the "A Dream of a Thousand Cats" segment, as well. "I replied to somebody about 'A Dream of a Thousand Cats,' and I said we started casting the cats already," the author said. Luckily, Gaiman quickly realized that he was beginning to say too much, and the conversation ended there. But on another occasion, when Gaiman and Allan Heinberg were being interviewed about the series, Gaiman almost gave away the surprise again.

"[D]uring one of the interviews where people were saying, 'How did you get this amazing cast?,' I started just listing the cast, so on and so forth and I said Derek Jacobi," Gaiman told Variety. That would have been quite the spoiler for anyone paying close attention, as Jacobi does not appear on the series until Episode 11.

Fans should pay close attention to Episode 11, especially the ending, when Calliope (Melissanthu Mahut) tells Dream (Tom Sturridge) she'll visit him soon so they can talk about their son "and grieve him properly." While it's not clear yet exactly what the story arc will be for Season 2 of "The Sandman," their son plays a major role in the graphic novels.