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I recently watched The Sandman. So far, Lucifer has been portrayed as female. I am confused as to how this is possible. Lucifer is male in the original comics and in WB's previous adaptations of them, so why are they now being portrayed as female?

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  • If you want to ask why Lucifer wants revenge against Morpheus, that needs to be a separate question, not an addendum to this one. Questions on Stack Exchange should only ask one things at a time.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 10, 2023 at 8:21
  • Which Lucifer are you asking about the gender of? Clearly Lucifer in The Sandman is either female or androgynous. What’s the other Lucifer you want to compare to? Jul 10, 2023 at 8:37
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    Lucifer is not human. Lucifer is an angel. What basis is there for assuming that angels have a specific or fixed gender? What essential part of Lucifer the character is male?
    – matt_black
    Jul 10, 2023 at 11:05
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    Maybe the studio is not portraying Lucifer with gender at all. Gender of an actor is not necessarily the same as the gender of the character. Jul 10, 2023 at 14:18
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    Lot of 'answers as comments' appearing here. We already have answers, no good saying the same thing up here & avoiding the votes. If you want to answer, do so. Don't just say the same thing up here as others took the time to flesh out.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 10, 2023 at 17:10

2 Answers 2

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Lucifer was originally quite androgynous; but choosing male pronouns. Often portrayed in the graphical novels as having no genitalia at all. The inspiration for the character's look was David Bowie, himself a rather androgynous character in the way he presented his stage personas to the public.
Many of the angels are portrayed as being able to present any appearance to humans.

To answer your banner headline directly, Lucifer was never portrayed as male or female, except in the out of canon Tom Ellis version. In The Sandman Lucifer is still not portrayed as male or female, merely played by a female actor.

The spin-off show Lucifer was the one that actually broke this canon by having Lucifer be clearly male [Ellis's only real concession to the canon character was that he sang quite a few Bowie songs in the early series], not the later Sandman show. Lucifer went on to change so much from canon that it was decided very early that Tom Ellis could not be the one to play Lucifer back in canon.

Neil Gaiman had this to say…

From ScreenRant - The Sandman's Lucifer Explained: How Accurate Gwendoline Christie's Is

Author Neil Gaiman made this point quite clear on Twitter, when one self-described "Sandman purist" confronted him regarding Christie's casting, saying he was annoyed by the "constant recasting of male characters to female actresses." Gaiman replied that he suspected he was a far greater purist when it came to The Sandman than anyone else, and that he had no complaints about "a genderless androgynous character without a penis being played by a fabulous actor who fortunately also doesn’t have a penis."

And from DigitalSpy - How Sandman proved the Lucifer trolls wrong

Back when Gwendoline Christie was first cast in the role, small-minded bigots with too much time on their hands lashed out at this and other casting decisions which gender-flipped or race-swapped various characters from the comics.

The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman has since responded to many of these online trolls using both facts and sarcasm to point out how absurd it all is:

"How exactly has the character changed?" he asked one who challenged changes from the source material. "Is it the penis? It’s okay. Lucifer in the comics didn’t have a penis, and I don’t believe Gwendoline Christie has one either. The dialogue’s the same… it’s that Gwendoline’s taller than the Lucifer in the Sandman comics, isn’t it?"

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  • I'd almost say that outside the 'broad' concept of Lucifier leaving hell and running a club, there's very little that Lucifer (which admittedly excellent) had to do with the source material Jul 10, 2023 at 10:29
  • Yeah. They really just took one idea & ran with it, getting further from canon with every episode. I liked it too, but it really never was much to do with Sandman. I think people were just hoping for Tom Ellis to be back on screen in the new show, & were disappointed when he wasn't.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 10, 2023 at 10:32
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Well, the person lucifer was based on in the comics - David Bowie, was dead

enter image description here

Original tweet here

In the sandman universe - Lucifer's an angel and didn't have a gender. The depiction was meant to be androgenous - from this interview on the inverse, from Neal Gaiman himself

So the people that were getting all upset that this, when you talked to them, they weren’t Sandman fans. The people that were getting all upset about Lucifer’s casting (Gwendoline Christie) and were up in arms about the ‘gender swap,’ again, weren’t Sandman fans because then they’d know that Lucifer looked kind of like an androgynous David Bowie and doesn’t have any genitalia because they’re an angel.

And from the same interview

I wouldn’t have cast David Bowie as he was before he died, because the whole idea was that Lucifer is meant to look like a beautiful angel.

enter image description here

This is what a accurate to the 'art' lucifer might have looked like, had it been years ago. And well, you couldn't quite tell their gender can you, just off the art.

However with both Sandman, and the other ongoing Neil Gaiman Series - Good Omens - I think to an extent, especially after the bit of a mess that was American Gods, I think Gaiman went with the spirit of the stories and the 'right' casting over slavishly following the source material he wlrked on.

Basically as with the 'other' swaps, like death not being a young white goth, and Constantine being Joanna Constantine, not John Constantine, and Lucien/Lucienne it was because the actor was right for the role.

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  • When you look at DB albums, you see how androgenous he could be: 1 - 2 - 3
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 10, 2023 at 10:30
  • @OldPadawan - You missed the famous dress cover, which was later changed to the black & white Ziggy 'high kick' photo - recordmecca.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/mwstw1bowie.jpg
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 10, 2023 at 10:36
  • didn't miss it... didn't know it :)
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 10, 2023 at 10:38
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    @SnackExchange - Gaiman elsewhere was reported as saying he wouldn't have cast an older Bowie, even if he were still alive. The character is based on Bowie circa 1970, not 2010. His tweet is quite obvious sarcasm.
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 10, 2023 at 10:47
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    That's the interview I cited. Also @SnackExchange, it wasn't recast by someone else, it was recast by the creator of the series, as showrunner, and who better to understand his own vision? Also. Lucifer isn't a man. Lucifer is a fallen angel and those are a little hard to find these days. Jul 10, 2023 at 11:07

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