Everything You Need to Know about Netflix’s Series The SandmanWritten by Sabera Surovy
If you are a comic nerd, you are probably familiar with Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. It is the comic that helped Neil Gaiman reach where he is right now. Though published in 1988 and being a huge success, this comic series was left alone for almost 30 years despite being an epic fantasy thriller. Simply because it was said that this comic series is considered unadaptable. But days have changed and Netflix mustered enough courage to take this project to their hands. So fantasy lovers and comic nerds, fasten your seat belts because the TV series Sandman will not be staying just a dream for long.
The Official First Trailer
Though it has been almost a year since the product of The Sandman has been announced, the trailer came out just a month ago. The first trailer came out on Sep 25, 2021, which currently has more than 3 million views.
What Does Sandman Mean?
“...Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream, make him the cutest that I've ever seen….”
This is a very old song performed by The Chordettes from the album US Number Ones - January 1956 to December 1959, Vol. 1. I like the slow and sad version sung by SYML though.
So who is this Sandman? Is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman similar to the one we see in Spiderman? Is he just an evil body of sand?
No, in this case, Sandman is a mythical entity in European folklore. He is a guardian (kind of like Santa Claus) who visits people at night, sprinkles sands over people’s closed eyes which makes them dream. It is also said that the rheum that forms in the corner of our eyes during our sleep is the leftover of that sand.
There is an animated movie named Rise of the Guardians (IMDb Rating 7.3). You can see Sandman in that movie too.
Sandman — The Comic: A little bit of Preview
Death has a family. And this family is called The Endless. It consists of 7 siblings but death is not the eldest one.
The universe of The Sandman is so unique, you may never see another one like it. The series Sandman is based on the first-ever volume of this comic series The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes.
It all started when a group of mortal magicians tried to summon Death and imprison her. Instead, they summoned her younger brother, Dream. Dream goes by many names. Sandman, Morpheus, Onires, Lord Lazoral are just a few most known ones. The leader of that magician group Roderick Burgess feared punishment from Dream. So Roderick locked him anyway. He imprisoned him in such a way that only he could let Dream go. So after 72 years, when Roderick finally dies, the duty to keep Dream in his cells goes to his son Alex. But Dream successfully escapes and punishes Alex with eternal sleeplessness. (That is something I won’t wish even for my worst enemy.)
When Dream returns to his kingdom, he finds that everything is out of order. First, his strength is very much weakened due to his imprisonment of almost 7 decades. Secondly, the three totems that represent him and are the very sources of his power are either lost, stolen, or taken. And thirdly, due to his absence, the dreamland for the mortals has become absolute chaos. Now, with the help of his two faithful companions Cain and Abel*, Dream must go on another mission to retrieve his totems and regain his position in the realm of dream.
It is like Warner Brother never gets enough of Batman movies and yet leaves The Endless universe totally untouched. The Endless in my opinion is the most powerful group of entities in the DC comics.
According to Neil Gaiman’s comic, when there was nothing, there was an absolute endless night and time. This gave birth to 7 entities that are granted great powers. These 7 entities are called the family of endless. Now keep in mind, the Endless are not God. Because Gods are Gods, they will cease to exist when mortals do not believe in them. But the Endless does feasts on the faith of the mortals. They are the embodiment and the concept itself of what they represent.
Now, let’s look at the members of the Endless family and learn about their powers and capabilities.
Destiny was the first among the 7 to be born. He appears to be a blind man with a book chained to his right hand. Each of the seven Endless members has a sigil. The book happens to be Destiny’s. He smells like dust and old books. He has no shadow or footprints. Despite being blind, he is fully capable of the book of destiny that he is chained to. The book of destiny contains every event that has ever happened in the past and will happen in the future, from the beginning to the end of everything. Destiny’s realm is in the form of a labyrinth which he hardly leaves.
In Neil Gaiman’s version, Death is a woman (which is pretty cool in my opinion). Teleute is her other name. She was born shortly after Destiny. Despite representing such a grim concept, Death is a very joyous girl who likes to dress up like a Goth She alone represents both life and death. Her sigil is an ankh.** She wears it like a locket.
Death’s home realm is just a comfy white room that has a couch, a plushy, and her pet goldfish. She once stated that when all the living things will eventually die, she will guide destiny to the unknown, lock the universe, and will be the last one to leave.
Now comes the main lead of our show. As we have said, Lord Dream goes by many names but Morpheus among them is a pretty popular one. In Greek mythology, Morpheus is the god of dreams, by the way.
Dream was born after the birth of the first-ever sentient being. Considering the other siblings of the Endless, Dream may seem weak but his realm is very vast and he is one of the most important entities in the Endless family. Dream has three sigils— a pouch of an infinite amount of sand, a ruby, and a helm. He is not allowed to kill a mortal unless it is to save his realm The Dreaming. In his lifetime, Dream has taken several lovers and among them, he has fathered only one child called Orpheus, with Calliope, the youngest muse of Homer.
Own the entire Sandman comic book series, in these beautiful collectible omnibus or paperback sets.
Destruction is a man who represents the elimination of all things. His sigil is a sword and he goes by the name Olethros as well. There is nothing much said about Destruction in the comics. Only that it has been long since destruction has retired from his job willingly because he was clear that all living beings create and destroy things even without his influence. So in his free time, he likes to be involved in painting and some other forms of art.
Desire and Despair
Desire and Despair are twins, Desire the elder one.
Desire is a non-binary entity whose sigil is a heart. They have amber eyes that can bring out your deepest desires. Desire smells like peaches and they have two shadows— one is black and sharp, the other looks like a mirage, ever-changing and illusional. The realm of desire looks like a mausoleum called the Threshold. Unlike their brother Destiny, they love to meddle with their subjects.
Despair is the absolute opposite of her twin. She is an ugly fat woman who is naked all the time. Her sigil is a hook that she uses to mutilate her lips so very often. Despair has no smell but her shadow oozes a very bad odor (like snakeskin). She has a very odd-looking realm. Her room is full of mirrors that show the lowest point of a person’s life. It is mentioned somewhere that Despair even had something to do with the destruction of Krypton.
The youngest sibling in the endless family is Delirium. She is a young girl who daydreams most of the time. Delirium wasn’t always Delirium though. In her previous life, she was Delight. She was somehow killed off by someone and thus she reincarnated as Delirium. Her sigil is chaotic swirls (it kind of resembles Naruto). Delirium goes by the name Mania as well and her shadow never defines her shape.
Dream, Despair, and Delirium— all have been killed and reincarnated. In the world of The Endless, there are two rules that all of them must abide by no matter what.
- Don’t fall in love with a mortal or something bad will happen to that mortal
- Don’t kill any of your siblings.
*Abel is the first victim of a murder. Cain, his brother, is the one who killed him making him the first-ever murderer. After Abel’s death, Dream requested his sister Death not to let him pass to the afterlife. Instead, Dream took Abel and placed him in a house called secrets as a storyteller. Abel felt very lonely. So later, Dream also brought his murderer brother Cain to the Dreaming and placed him in a house called Mysteries.
**Ankh is an Egyptian symbol that looks like a key. This symbol represents life.
The cast of Sandman contains two stars from Game of Thrones— Charles Dance and Gwendoline Christie.
We have previously seen Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. This time we will see him as Roderick Burgess, the leader of Order of the Ancient Mysteries who will imprison Dream for more than seven decades.
And Gwendoline Christie played the role of Brienne of Tarth by which she was very much successful to portray a strong female character in a man’s world. In Sandman, she plays the ultimate Lady Devil AKA Lucifer Morningstar.
Now, the lead role of this series, Dream, will be played by Tom Sturridge. There are not many notable works in Tom’s career till now. We hope Sandman will be a major career move for him.
David Thewlis will be playing John Dee. He is mostly known as Professor Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Some other actors/actresses and their roles—
Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Mason Alexander Park as Desire, Donna Preston as Despair, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Cain, and Asim Chaudhry as Abel.
The Sandman Audio Book
Audible released a Sandman audiobook in 2020 which has an IMDb rating of 9.4. Many famous Hollywood celebrities have given voice to the characters such as— Riz Ahmed, Kat Dennings, Taron Egerton, James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, and many more. Neil Gaiman himself voiced the narrator. Dirk Maggs directed this audiobook.
Some Other Works of Neil Gaiman
It has been long since Neil Gaiman has become the master of fantasy in the modern era. Several of his works have been adapted into movies and TV Shows. Stardust (2007), Coraline (2009), Good Omens (2019), American Gods (2017–2021), Lucifer (2016–2021) are some of the most notable adaptations of his writings.
I think it is worth mentioning that the whole Sandman Franchisee is so popular and successful that one of its standalone comics (A Midsummer Night's Dream) even won the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction in 1991. It is the only time to this day, a comic has won such an award.
Additional Information about the Series
The production of The Sandman was first announced in 2013. Warner Brothers was the production company back then and Joseph Gordon-Levitt was selected as the director. But after repetitive screen test failures, Warner Brothers dropped the project in 2016. HBO passed it as well because they are so busy with the upcoming prequel of Game of Thrones— House of Dragons. Netflix took this opportunity to make Sandman theirs without any delay with Neil Gaiman himself as one of the executive producers.
The first episode will be aired in 2022 though the exact date is yet to be announced. The first season will have approximately 11 episodes.
How is Sandman Related to Lucifer?
Remember how Dream’s sigil the helm was lost since his imprisonment. Yes, the helm was taken to hell (I don’t know how), and Lucifer Morningstar, the ruler of hell, possessed it for some time until Dream fought it back.
Netflix’s super-hit TV show Lucifer with the super-hot Tom Ellis in the lead is more or less based on Sandman’s version of Lucifer.
The Sandman is still considered to be unadaptable because the visualization and writing a script on it is considered almost impossible. So we have to wait for the series to air with our fingers crossed to finally see if it meets our expectations or not.
The Sandman is a mixture of dark fantasy, thriller, drama, a combination of various mythology with dark humor as the cherry on top. Let’s all hope the adaptation would be a great one. Because if it happens so, it will be an ultimate genre-defining TV show.
About The Author
Khulna University of Engineering and Technology
Bachelor of Engineering (BEng),
Industrial Engineering 2017-2021
"Psycho-trillers and paradoxes are my jam. I spend my free time watching true crime documentaries."
Read More Articles by Sabera
- 10 Upcoming TV Shows to Look Forward to in 2022
- Understanding the Matrix
- Hollywood Celebrities That Appeared on Friends as Guest Stars
- 15 Great Comic Book Movies or Visual Novels That Are Not Marvel or DC
- The 10 Best Manga One-shots You Can Read in a Few Minutes
- Top 10 Oscar-Winning Animated Short Films
- 5 Mind-Boggling Paradoxes You Should Know About