'The Sandman' Is Coming ... but Which Comics Is the Netflix Series Based On?


Jun. 8 2022, Published 6:31 p.m. ET

'The Sandman' TV show
Source: Netflix

Neil Gaiman's iconic DC comics series The Sandman is now coming to life for Netflix. During Netflix Geeked Week in 2022, the show revealed new character posters and a new trailer to spark excitement. The comics series ran for 75 issues from 1989 to 1996, but which comics will be the basis for the new Netflix show?

Here's everything we know about the Sandman show's premise, including any potential changes they made from the comics.

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'The Sandman' Morpheus speaks to Matthew the Raven.
Source: Netflix

'The Sandman': Morpheus speaks to Matthew the Raven in the Netflix series.

Netflix's 'The Sandman' is based on which comics, exactly?

Neil Gaiman's The Sandman started when Neil proposed to revive the original Sandman series, which lasted from 1974 to 1976. The original series was written for DC Comics by Joe Simon and Michael Fleisher and illustrated by Jack Kirby and Ernie Chua.

Neil initially wanted to include characters from the original in his DC series Black Orchid, but then he pitched creating a new version of the series entirely.

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His debut Sandman issue launched on Nov. 29, 1988, and was marketed as "a horror-edged fantasy set in the DC Universe." The successful comic ran under DC's Vertigo label beginning in 1993, but reprints were transferred to DC's Black Label imprint in 2020.

Neil's story focuses on a character known as Dream or Morpheus, who finds himself imprisoned on Earth by a group of foolhardy magicians in the 1800s who attempted to capture Death, his sister.

Dream/Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) and Rose Walker (Kyo Ra)
Source: Netflix

Dream/Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) and Rose Walker (Kyo Ra) in 'The Sandman' on Netflix.

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After it spent decades in development hell as a film, DC decided The Sandman would be a television series in 2010, but due to creative differences, no solid plans were made until 2019. Now, finally, The Sandman is soon to be released on Netflix!

As for the comics that inspired the 10-episode season, according to Rotten Tomatoes, Neil plans to faithfully adapt his series, which means starting with the arcs "Preludes & Nocturnes" and "The Doll's House." The series has been updated for modern times, which means that the "present-day" parts of the show are all taking place in 2021, not 1989 like the comics. Morpheus has now been imprisoned for 105 years instead of 75 years to keep his capture date consistent.

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What changes were made from 'The Sandman' comics to the TV series?

Although fans will discover in full just which changes were approved for the TV adaptation, they've already noticed the biggest differences between the comics and the show. First, the timing has been adjusted so that The Sandman takes place in the 2020s, but several characters have been updated for modern times as well.

Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne in 'The Sandman.'
Source: Netflix

Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne in Netflix's 'The Sandman.'

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In an interview with Digital Spy in 2020, Neil hinted at the changes he made and why. He said the production team discussed, "if we were creating this character now, what gender would the character be? If we were creating the character now, who would they be? What would they be doing? And going on from there."

Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman) and Dream/Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) in 'The Sandman.'
Source: Netflix

Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman) and Dream/Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) in Netflix's 'The Sandman.'

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The character of Lucien, the librarian of the Dreaming, has been made a female character known as Lucienne. Additionally, due to a reported rights dispute over the character of John Constantine, actress Jenna Coleman plays Johanna Constantine, John's ancestor who also appears in the Sandman comics. She will also reportedly serve as a modern-day John counterpart, per Entertainment Weekly.

The characters have also been updated to include more characters of color and actors of all genders. It's safe to say that with Neil steering the helm of the show, it's in good hands!

The Sandman premieres on Aug. 5, 2022, only on Netflix.

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